Deadline‘s Nellie Andreeva ran a piece today about Matt Bomer (The Normal Heart, Magic Mike) playing Montgomery Clift in an HBO Films biopic down the road. Bomer is nearly a dead ringer for the late actor, but his plan to star in Monty Clift was announced over two months ago during the Savannah Film Festival, which Bomer attended. (I was there also and tried to speak to Bomer about the Clift project, but festival publicists stiffed me.) The HBO film will be “centered around the acclaimed actor’s tumultuous personal life,” Deadline says. That alludes to Clift having been psychologically screwed up (to some extent due to his being deeply closeted) with a major drinking problem going back to the early ’50s, and the fact that he all but destroyed his looks and his matinee-idol career when he piled a car into a telephone pole in ’56, after which he added prescription drugs and pain pills to the boozing.
(l.) Matt Bomer; (r.) the late Montgomery Clift.
In my mind Clift, the first method-y actor to punch through the studio system and become a major star, peaked from Red River through From Here To Eternity — a seven-year run. But after the accident he went from being one of the best-looking actors who’d ever lived to a twitchy geek with big ears and a crackly, spazzy voice. It took Clift ten years to kill himself. Upon his death in July 1966 the final decade of his life was called “the slowest suicide in show-business history” or words to that effect.
I hope the HBO film ignites awareness of Clift among the under-30s, as many of them don’t seem to know who he is. As I noted four months ago, Clift certainly doesn’t have the 21st Century fame that Marlon Brando and James Dean do, even though Clift was easily considered their equal in the early to mid ’50s.
From Andreeva’s story: “Monty Clift will be executive produced by Tony Lipp and Alix Madigan of Anonymous Content, along with Michael Din of Pier 3 Pictures and Larry Moss. A director has yet to be announced. Ira Sachs and Mauricio Zacharias have been brought on to rework Christopher Lovick’s script.” In other words, the film won’t roll until later this year or possibly early 2016.