Exclusive Interview: as Paul Bettany takes on a gay role in his latest film Uncle Frank he shares a touching story about his father coming out late in life

Paul Bettany, the British born BAFTA and BIFA nominated star of acclaimed films such as Gangster No. 1, A Beautiful Mind, and Master &
Commander: The Far Side of the World
, made his stage debut in 1993 in London’s West End in the Stephen Daldry directed production of An Inspector Calls. His first big screen role was in Sean Mathias’ award-winning adaptation of Martin Sherman’s powerful holocaust set gay play Bent. He went on to star alongside Heath Ledger in A Knight’s Tale, opposite Nicole Kidman in Lars von Trier’s Dogville, and became part of the Star Wars universe playing the villainous Dryden Vos in Solo: A Star Wars Story. Bettany plays Vision in the blockbuster movies The Avengers: Age Of Ultron and Avengers: Infinity War, as well as the upcoming Disney+ series Wandavision. He made his feature film debut as writer and director with the drama Shelter starring his Oscar-winning wife Jennifer Connelly.

Paul Bettany and Sophia Lillis star in UNCLE FRANK. Photograph by Brownie Harris. Courtesy of Amazon Studios.

His latest film, the 1973 set Uncle Frank written and directed by Oscar-winner Alan Ball (Six Feet Under, True Blood), sees him star as Frank Bledsoe, an admired NYU literature professor who returns to his rural southern hometown following the death of his estranged father. Embarking on a roadtrip across the country to the funeral with his longterm partner Wally (Peter Macdissi) and his niece Beth (Sophia Lillis)—the only person in Frank’s family who knows that he’s gay—he is finally forced to face a long-buried trauma.

Ahead of Amazon Studios releasing Uncle Frank this Wednesday November 25th on Prime Video, The Queer Review’s editor James Kleinmann spoke with Paul Bettany about whether his own father coming out late in life was part of the reason he wanted to take on the role.

“It was really why I decided I had something to offer,” Paul Bettany told The Queer Review. “Alan and I talked about why me playing the part and whether I had anything to give. My father came out at 63, but then went back into the closet after a 20 year relationship with a man, Andy, whom he loved. But very soon after Andy died, my father went back in the closet and embraced his Catholicism and didn’t get the opportunity to mourn his partner in the way that he should have. Then when my father died I was with him and I found in his pocket a little vial of Andy’s ashes that he had always kept with him. So for me, it was a question of being able to imagine what if my father had got right with himself and could have had the happy ending that Frank and Wally get in this story? So that’s why I did it and that’s why it was important to me.”

Watch The Queer Review’s full exclusive interview with Alan Ball and Paul Bettany below.

Exclusive Interview: Uncle Frank writer-director Alan Ball and star Paul Bettany.

Amazon Studios will release Uncle Frank on Prime Video on Wednesday November 25th 2020. Watch the official trailer below.

Uncle Frank – Official Trailer | Prime Video

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