Stanley Tucci has spoken of the importance of challenging the notion that films about same-sex romances must have the fact a couple is gay at their centre.
The actor, 60, stars opposite Colin Firth in Supernova, in which they play a couple visiting friends, family and places from their past in an old camper van as they struggle with a diagnosis of early-onset dementia.
The film was inspired by writer/director Harry Macqueen’s experience with people facing dementia at a relatively young age and Tucci told the PA news agency: “I think Harry did a very good thing in embracing they are just two people who love each other and that’s it.
“And the sooner we get there, in cinema, and in real life, the better off we’ll all be.
“It doesn’t matter. Could it be a heterosexual couple? Yeah, it could be. Could it be it two women? Yeah, it could be. And could it be two men? Yeah, it could be. It happens.
“And I think it’s a great equaliser. That disease and all disease is an equaliser, and that’s partly what Harry was showing.”
Macqueen added: “It occurred to me very early on that this would be a perfect project in which to challenge that narrative and make something original, because what I was talking about in the film are ultimately, very universal things.
“It felt immediately that it wouldn’t impact anything for the characters to be a same-sex couple. It would impact them hugely, obviously, in their lived experience as characters, but I think there’s something revolutionary about the film in its own little way, in the way that it deals with same sex experience.
“I don’t think cinema talks about mature romantic love enough anyway, but it certainly doesn’t do it in on same sex terms. And I think that seemed like a really interesting and original thing to look at.
“The LGBTQ+ sub genre – if you can call it that – of cinema, tends to understandably be about people finding themselves, transitioning early on in life, going through that challenging and difficult process of coming out, or finding your true self and all that stuff, which is great, obviously, and very worthy.
“But I was very interested in making a film where the sexuality of the characters didn’t impact the narrative or the plot in any way. It’s accepted and embraced as a natural, beautiful thing. And I think that is inspirational for some people. And that means a lot.”
Tucci said playing a character who is increasingly aware that he is losing control made him consider his own fears about the illness.
He said: “The condition alone is moving and disturbing and saddening and tragic and Harry’s representation of it was all of those things, but done with such subtlety and poeticism.
“I think about it all the time. I never really did before. But now I do.
“It seems that it is genetic, so I think, luckily, I don’t seem to have that. But I know people who do have that in their families and it’s scary.
“And we have a friend of ours, whose mother isn’t much older than than I am. And she has it. It’s really hard.”