Cutting Colin: As A Home at the End of the World Hits the Screen, the Filmmakers Talk about Slimming Down the Novel-And Axing Colin Farrell's Nude Scene

By Giltz, Michael | The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine), August 17, 2004 | Go to article overview

Cutting Colin: As A Home at the End of the World Hits the Screen, the Filmmakers Talk about Slimming Down the Novel-And Axing Colin Farrell's Nude Scene


Giltz, Michael, The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)


Michael Mayer knew he wanted to make Pulitzer Prizewinner Michael Cunningham's 1990 novel A Home at the End of the World his film-directing debut. So he turned to an old acquaintance he knew would be perfect to adapt it: Michael Cunningham.

"We'd never really spent any time together, just the two of us; it had always been a dinner party or a group," says Mayer, an out theater director who won the Tony for Thoroughly Modern. Millie and is now working on a Broadway revival of Arthur Miller's After the Fall. After months of working together on Home, the two were so well-matched that they were finishing each other's sentences, Mayer adds. Not that that made it any easier to adapt Cunningham's decades-spanning novel about Jonathan, a lonely gay man; his eager-to-please but sexually ambiguous pal, Bobby; and Clare, their wacky New York friend.

"How do you get five dozen eggs into a shoebox?" says Cunningham about the challenges they faced. "What can be cut away? Once I understood how much was going to be cut, I was fine. If anything, I started to get into an ecstasy of cutting and cut too much." Among the deletions: The boyfriend Jonathan winds up with in the book.

The cast certainly helped Cunningham and Mayer focus. Dallas Roberts, who plays Jonathan, just "got better and better and better [during auditions]," says Mayer, "and by the time of his last audition, I literally couldn't imagine anyone else doing his role." And as Clare, Robin Wright Penn "has a kind of amazing sobriety," he says. "When you're dealing with her as a person, she can be absolutely delightful, but you always feel she's a straight shooter. You get the real thing. Despite her remarkable beauty, you can see a life lived on her face."

Then there's Colin Farrell, as Bobby. "Colin has a depth of soul--if that's something he's acting, it's an extraordinary bit of acting," says Cunningham, speaking from the tower in Italy's Tuscany region, where he's finishing his next novel. …

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