‘A Single Man’ director Tom Ford swaps fashion for film

  • By Jill Lawless Associated Press
  • Friday, December 25, 2009 12:01am
  • Life

LONDON — Fashion designer Tom Ford has made a seamless transition to filmmaker with “A Single Man,” the soulful, immaculately styled story of a grieving college professor in 1960s California.

Ford never doubted his abilities — though he admits plenty of other people did.

“It’s funny, because everyone was so supportive,” Ford said. “And now that I’ve made the film, quite a few people have said to me, ‘Isn’t it nice you did that when everyone was laughing at you?”’

They’re not laughing now.

“A Single Man” has earned strong reviews and last week received Golden Globe nominations for its score and the performances of Julianne Moore and Colin Firth.

Firth won the best-actor prize at the Venice Film Festival for his performance as George Falconer, a gay Englishman in Los Angeles mourning the death of his longtime lover in a car accident.

Ford — who directed, co-wrote and co-produced the film — has been praised for his subtle adaptation of Christopher Isherwood’s novel, which recounts a day in George’s life through seemingly unfilmable interior monologue.

Unable to see a future without his partner, Jim (Matthew Goode), George resolves to end it all. He gets a gun and starts to set his affairs in order.

Along the way he encounters his best friend, Charley (Julianne Moore, sporting a wardrobe to die for), and Kenny (Nicholas Hoult, all grown up since he played the boy in “About a Boy”), a young student who takes a slightly stalkerish interest in George.

It’s all remarkably assured, but then the Texas-born Ford has never lacked ambition. Now 48, he transformed luxury brand Gucci in the 1990s before founding his own Tom Ford label. Filmmaking seemed like a small step.

“I’ve just never let the thought of failure stop me when there was something I felt that I wanted to do,” he said.

“A Single Man” is the work of a film fanatic, a love letter to cinema. George’s monochrome life bursts into Technicolor when he makes contact with other people.

Ford includes visual salutes to directors from Alfred Hitchcock to Pedro Almodovar to Wong Kar-wai. Even “The Wizard of Oz” gets a reference. These are not the acts of a director afraid to be compared to his idols.

The movie’s stylish surface offers all you would expect from a fashionista’s film: precise period detail, handsome actors and gorgeous outfits that capture the early 1960s in all their sartorial glory, from pin-sharp suits to pink mohair sweaters.

“I don’t know how to help myself,” Ford said with a laugh.

Many reviewers have been surprised by the film’s restraint, the unflashy way it depicts an intelligent, ironic, emotionally reserved man consumed by grief. It’s a tribute to Firth, who gives the performance of his career, but also to Ford.

Ford says that, when he chose the project, “believe it or not, I didn’t care about the style. It’s layered on to support the characters. But when looking for the right project, it was the story, something worth telling. That’s what attracted me.”

Talk to us

More in Life

Artist Michelle Downes prepares to work on a few canvases in her garage workspace on Thursday, July 6, 2023, at her family’s home in Stanwood, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Stanwood artist Michelle Downes creates layered dreamscapes in resin

Resin is one part chemistry and one part artistry. Downes combines the two to make art that captures the imagination.

The 2023 Infiniti QX80 has standard rear-wheel drive and optional four-wheel drive available on all models. (Infiniti)
2023 Infiniti QX80 is powerful and posh

A mighty V8 engine does the work while a luxurious interior provides the pleasure.

Ash was rescued along with Dexter, just before his euthanasia date. (Luisa Loi / Whidbey News-Times)
Whidbey Island woman rescues 300 German shepherds

“Can I save them all? No,” Renee Carr, of Oak Harbor said. “But I’m gonna try my hardest.”

Kotor's zigzagging town wall rewards climbers with a spectacular view. (Cameron Hewitt / Rick Steves' Europe)
Rick Steves: Just south of Dubrovnik lies unpolished Montenegro

One of Europe’s youngest nations offers dramatic scenery, locals eager to show off their unique land, and a refreshing rough-around-the-edges appeal.

Dark gray wheels and black exterior accents provide extra visual appeal for the 2024 Subaru Impreza’s RS trim. (Subaru)
2024 Subaru Impreza loses a little, gains a lot

The brand’s compact car is fully redesigned. A couple of things are gone, but many more have arrived.

TSR image for calendar
Music, theater and more: What’s happening in Snohomish County

This weekend in Snohomish: The Snohomish Blues Invasion and the Snohomish Studio Tour 2023.

Made by Bruce Hutchison, the poster for “A Momentary Diversion on the Road to the Grave” is an homage to 1985 classic “The Goonies.” (Photo provided)
Indie film premiering on Whidbey Island

Filmed almost entirely on Whidbey Island, “A Momentary Diversion on the Road to the Grave” is set to premiere in Langley.

TSR image only
Does your elementary school child have ADHD?

It’s important to identify children with this condition so we can help them succeed in school.

This photo provided by OceanGate Expeditions shows a submersible vessel named Titan used to visit the wreckage site of the Titanic. In a race against the clock on the high seas, an expanding international armada of ships and airplanes searched Tuesday, June 20, 2023, for the submersible that vanished in the North Atlantic while taking five people down to the wreck of the Titanic. (OceanGate Expeditions via AP)
A new movie based on OceanGate’s Titan submersible tragedy is in the works: ‘Salvaged’

MindRiot announced the film, a fictional project titled “Salvaged,” on Friday.

Most Read