"Brokeback Mountain" and "Milk" may have captivated audiences and swept award shows in recent years, but it seems Hollywood still has some reservations when it comes to portraying gay content on the big screen.
Oscar-winning director Steven Soderbergh has revealed that many studios weren't exactly keen on "Behind the Candelabra," his much-anticipated Liberace biopic which is now set to air on HBO.
“Nobody would make it,” Soderbergh told The New York Post of his new movie, which stars Michael Douglas and Matt Damon. “We went to everybody in town. They all said it was too gay.”
Soderbergh, whose credits include "Ocean's Eleven" and "Traffic," as well as last summer's smash "Magic Mike," said he was "stunned" by the response.
"This is after ‘Brokeback Mountain,’ by the way, which is not as funny as this movie," he recalled. "The studios didn’t know how to sell it. They were scared.”
Damon, who plays the long-term lover of Liberace (Douglas), has previously said of the film, "These two men were deeply in love and in a real relationship -- a marriage -- long before there was gay marriage...The script is beautiful and relatable. Their conversations when they’re dressing or undressing or having a spat or getting ready for bed? That’s every marriage."
Soderbergh's revelation comes just days after HBO announced plans to air "The Normal Heart," Ryan Murphy's film adaptation of Larry Kramer's award-winning play about the HIV-AIDS crisis in New York.
"Heart," which will debut in 2014, will reportedly star Julia Roberts, Mark Ruffalo and "White Collar" hunk Matt Bomer.
Also on HuffPost:
'Paris Is Burning'
Shot in the mid-to-late 1980s, this <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0100332" target="_hplink">1990 documentary chronicles</a> the "Golden Age" of ball culture of New York City, and the black, Latino, gay and transgender communities involved in it.
'The Adventures Of Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert'
This <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0109045" target="_hplink">1994 comedy-drama</a> follows three drag queens (Hugo Weaving, Guy Pearce, and Terence Stamp) as they travel across the Australian Outback in a tour bus that they have dubbed "Priscilla."
Set against the tumultuous 1970s, this <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1013753" target="_hplink">2008 American biographical film</a> follows the story of Harvey Milk (Sean Penn) and his struggles as a gay American activist who became California's first openly gay elected official. Required watching for anyone celebrating Pride this year.
A secret romance that develops between Zach--an art student who has returned home to tend to his family--and his friend's older brother forces Zach to get his priorities in order in <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0942384" target="_hplink">this 2007 drama</a>.
Part of a wave of LGBT-themed films that appeared in the mid-1990s, this <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0109913" target="_hplink">1994 American lesbian-themed</a> independent drama tells the story of an intimate group of lesbian friends in Chicago.
'Ma Vie En Rose'
This <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0119590" target="_hplink">1997 Belgian film</a> tells the story of Ludovic, a child who, though born male, believes she is a girl on the inside, and acts as such. The family initially humors her identity, believing it's a phase, but increasingly struggles with Lodovic's gender-nonconformity in an unaccepting society.
'The Wizard Of Oz'
If you're traveling over the rainbow and attending Pride events, you'll likely encounter a few witches, hordes of people breaking into song and lions who recently got the courage to don a rainbow flag. Prepare with <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0032138" target="_hplink">the gorgeous 1939 classic</a>, and be glad that you're no longer in Kansas.
In a British a suburb of London, Jamie's introversion makes him the target of his peers, while Ste, his neighbor, is the target of an abusive father. One night, Ste sleeps over to avoid his father and the two boys develop an intimate relationship that they both eventually come to accept in this <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0115640" target="_hplink">1996 British drama</a>.
'The Celluloid Closet'
This <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0112651" target="_hplink">1995 documentary</a> is an insightful examination of the history of the portrayal of LGBT characters in Hollywood films.
'Noah's Arc: Jumping The Broom'
Based on the LOGO television series 'Noah's Arc,' <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1640484" target="_hplink">this 2011 Canadian-American romantic comedy-drama</a> traces the trials and tribulations Noah and Wade face before their wedding, as they work through last-minute anxieties.
'The Rocky Horror Picture Show'
The eccentric <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0073629/" target="_hplink">1975 rock musical</a> stars Tim Curry as Dr. Frank-N-Furter, the self-proclaimed "Sweet Transvestite" from Transsexual, Transylvania. "Rocky Horror" is the longest-running theatrical release in film history, so, if you haven't seen it, you must prepare to do the Time Warp. If you have seen it, prepare to do the Time Warp again.
'To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar'
Starring Wesley Snypes, Patrick Swayze, and John Leguizamo as three New York drag queens stranded in a small conservative town, <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0114682" target="_hplink">this campy 1995 comedy</a> is a lesson in how to spread fabulousness.
This <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0401085" target="_hplink">French-language film</a> tells the story of Zac, tracing his life in the angsty closet from adolescence through adulthood, in 1960s and 1970s Quebec. Although the need for subtitles might be off-putting for some, it's worth it -- the film has a <a href="http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/crazy/" target="_hplink">100% on Rotten Tomatoes</a>.
'But I'm A Cheerleader!'
In <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0179116" target="_hplink">this 1999 comedy</a>, Natasha Lyonne stars as Megan Bloomfield, an average high school cheerleader. However, her friends and family think that she is a lesbian and send her to a reparative therapy camp to cure her gayness. There, Megan soon realizes that she is indeed a lesbian and, despite the therapy, gradually comes to embrace her sexual orientation. The film satirizes the ridiculous practice of <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/31/11-conversion-therapy-methods-curing-homosexuality_n_1068103.html" target="_hplink">gay conversion therapy,</a> and acts as a (often hilarious) reminder to the ignorance that Pride events work to challenge.
No list of Pride movies would be complete without an entry from transgressive cult director, John Waters. The 1972 theatrical trailer for <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0069089" target="_hplink">'Pink Flamingos,'</a> perhaps his best-known film, didn't feature any content from the actual film -- with the wide range of perverse acts performed in explicit detail, the theater-friendly footage wouldn't capture Flamingo's raunchy charm. The film features <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divine_(actor)" target="_hplink">Divine</a>, who became an LGBT icon after its original release. <em>People</em> magazine described her as the "Drag Queen of the Century," and her eccentricity is a force to be reckoned with, even for the most outlandish Pride celebrators.
A transgender woman (played by Felicity Huffman) takes her long-lost son on a road-trip across America in this portrayal of a personal journey toward self-acceptance.
'I Love You, Phillip Morris'
This <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1045772" target="_hplink">2009 romantic comedy-drama</a> film is based on the life story of a con artist, Steven Jay Russell, as played by Jim Carrey. While incarcerated, Russell falls in love with his fellow inmate, Phillip Morris, and uses his deceptive cunning to make sure that nothing--not even prison nor the police--can tear apart their relationship.
This <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0384504" target="_hplink">2004 American romantic comedy-drama</a> explores the concept of 'face,' meaning pride/dignity, in a New York Chinese-American community. The film focuses on Wilhelmina, a young surgeon, her unwed, pregnant mother and her dancer girlfriend.
'Hedwig And the Angry Inch'
This <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0248845" target="_hplink">2001 American musical comedy-drama</a> film paints a portrait of a transgender punk rock girl from East Berlin who tours the U.S. with her rock band as she tells her life story.
This <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0162710" target="_hplink">1999 comedy,</a> which features an appearance by Tori Spelling, follows two young gay men as they try to find a place for a one-night stand in New York City.
This <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0367027" target="_hplink">2006 American comedy-drama</a> revolves around a sexually diverse cast of characters trying to form relationships in New York City. The characters meet-up in a weekly Brooklyn salon, inspired by under-the-radar NYC gatherings that took place in the early 2000s.
'Were The World Mine'
This <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0476991" target="_hplink">2008 film</a> tells the story of a small conservative town that's turned on its head when a Shakespearian love potion makes citizens fall for their same-sex friends, bosses, and co-workers.
In <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0330602" target="_hplink">this 2003 dramedy</a>, Angelo Barberini, the son of Italian immigrants, surprises his family when he reveals that he's gay. Sadly, his boyfriend, policeman Nino Paventi, isn't as ready to come out of the closet -- especially not to his Sicilian mother, Lina.
'My Beautiful Laundrette'
Set in Margaret Thatcher's London, this <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0091578" target="_hplink">1985 British comedy-drama</a> focuses on Omar (Gordon Warnecke), a young Pakistani man living in London, and his romance with a punk named Johnny (Daniel Day-Lewis). The two take control of a laundromat originally owned by Omar's parents. The film examines many controversial issues, such as homosexuality, racism, during 1980s Britain.
'The Bird Cage'
This <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0115685" target="_hplink">1996 comedy</a> features Robin Williams and Nathan Lane as a gay couple who agree to pretend to be straight so that their son can introduce them to his fiancé's conservative parents.
"Farewell, My Queen"
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/FarewellMyQueen"></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/FarewellMyQueen">FarewellMyQueen</a>:<br />Was the Queen of France in love with a woman? In "Farwell, My Queen" Marie Antoinette (Diane Kruger) and her royal lover (Virginie Ledoyen) embrace in the Versailles Hall of Mirrors. Léa Seydoux plays the Queen's adoring servant who secretly desires her love and affection.
(user submission) THE BUBBLE opens in select US cities Sept. 7th, 2007! Directed by Eytan Fox (Walk on Water, Yossi & Jagger). Three young Israelis share an apartment inTel Aviv's hippest neighborhood. When Noam, who spends his weekends serving at checkpoints in the National Guard, falls in love with a Palestinian man named Ashraf, he and his friends conspire to help Ashraf stay on in Tel Aviv illegally. But will their utopian dream be shattered by the political and social realities of the Middle East? www.strandreleasing.com www.myspace.com/thebubblemovie
(User Submission) <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Scott_Tinsley-Hall"></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Scott_Tinsley-Hall">Scott Tinsley-Hall</a>:<br />In a break from his usual he-man roles, Ving Rhames takes on the persona of "Holiday Heart," a church choir-directing female impersonator who is openly gay, religious, and alone. His loneliness ebbs when he rescues Wanda (Alfre Woodard) and her daughter from her drug-abusing boyfriend. He invites the pair to live free of charge in the duplex across the hall from his own and they form a family of sorts. But Wanda hooks up with a well-heeled drug dealer (Mykelti Williamson) and soon falls back into drug addiction, leaving Holiday to give up his own dreams and take care of the girl. Robert Townsend (Hollywood Shuffle) directed this R-rated cable movie that earned Woodard a Golden Globe nomination for her stark performance as a woman whose intelligence and love for her daughter are no match for the demons of her addiction. Screenwriter Cheryl L. West, who adapted her stage play, gets credit for combining the sentiment of a family story with the harshness of street life. The film's noble desire not to pretty things up does make for some tough scenes and a less-than-happy ending--thus the restricted rating. But the film has its fun moments, too, many of them thanks to Holiday's mincing fellow impersonator Jambalaya Blue, played with relish by Jonathan Wallace. --Kimberly Heinrichs
(user submission) View the trailer <a href="http://www.imdb.com/video/screenplay/vi3616080153/" target="_hplink">here</a>. Sordid Lives was a 2000 independent film, written and directed by Del Shores. The film met with mixed reviews from mainstream audiences but became a cult classic with LGBT fans, particularly in the South. The movie tells the story of a Texas family coming together in the aftermath of the matriarch's death.
(user submission): Watch the whole film: www.youtube.com One of the most romantic gay movies ever!
The Adventures of Sebastian Cole
(user submission) The Adventure of Sebastian Cole was one of the best and most realistic films about a transgender person I have come across.
Big Eden - Trailer
From out gay writer-director Thomas Bezucha (The Family Stone) comes this funny, heart-warming romantic drama that picked up audience awards at nearly a dozen gay film festival! Big Eden tells a truly original tale of a thirty-something gay guy, Henry Hart (Arye Gross, Ellen, Six Feet Under) who returns to his childhood Montana home to confront his unrequited passion for his high school best friend. Favorite Stars you'll enjoy seeing include: Arye Gross (Ellen, Citizen Baines), Louise Fletcher (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest), Eric Schweig (Skins). Dir. Thomas Bezucha 2001 117 min. USA Now Available for Purchase from Frameline (public performance rights included): cart.frameline.org
La Cage aux Folles
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Eric_Murga"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/100001242090736/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Eric_Murga">Eric Murga</a>:<br />This classic film-of which The Birdcage is a remake of- is still as hilarious and fun as ever
Get Your Stuff
(user submission) Phil, a gay couples counselor, and Eric, a lawyer, are a gay couple anxiously awaiting the opportunity to adopt a baby, but in the meantime they decide to do a favor for their caseworker and take in two very mischievous foster kids "just for one night". One night turns into many and the couple struggles to keep their home and relationship in one piece. When the boys' alcoholic mother turns up to reclaim them, things get even more complicated.
Rebellious Catholic schoolgirls, hidden secrets and a controversial romance all unfold in the newest addition to the lesbian cult classic canon, joining films like The Children's Hour and Mädchen in Uniform. Annabelle (Erin Kelly), the defiant daughter of a senator, arrives at a prestigious Catholic boarding school after being expelled from many others. It's up to the school's poetry teacher Simone (Diane Gaidry) to ensure the rebellious teen does not stir up trouble. Brazen and beautiful, the new student quickly turns heads with her striking beauty and clever charm and set her sights on seducing her alluring teacher. Annabelle aggressively makes her move in class as the teacher desperately tries to conceal her lust not only because of her position but also because she is trying to suppress her lesbian past. Talented writer/director Katherine Brooks brilliantly captures the conflicting emotions of romantic attraction and apprehension in this thought-provoking and compelling drama.
MIA (Ruth Vega Fernandez) and FRIDA (Liv Mjönes), both in their thirties, meet each other for the first time at their parents' engagement party. Mia's father, Lasse (Krister Henriksson), is about to get married to Frida's mother, Elizabeth (Lena Endre), which will make Mia and Frida stepsisters. Lasse's daughter, Mia, has not visited her father in years and arrives with her boyfriend, Tim (Joakim Nätterqvist), with whom she is about to get married. As Mia and Frida get to know one another, strong emotions begin to stir between them. Their relationship will turn everything upside down for everyone close to them with dramatic consequences.
Christopher and His Kind
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/SteveDenver"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://i.huffpost.com/profiles/324124-tiny.png?20110821233759" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/SteveDenver">SteveDenver</a>:<br />Christopher Isherwood is perhaps best known for penning the books that inspired the musical CABARET. This film details his Berlin days just preceding the Nazi takeover. It's beautiful, very sexy, and Matt Smith (Dr. Who) turns in a no-holds barred performance that is transformative.
Aimée and Jaguar
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/SteveDenver"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://i.huffpost.com/profiles/324124-tiny.png?20110821233759" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/SteveDenver">SteveDenver</a>:<br />A gorgeously mounted and masterfully told story of two women in love during WWII... one of them a Nazi officer's wife. This film had as much draw for gay men because of its superior aesthetics and storytelling, as for lesbians because of its well crafted tale and stunning performances.
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/SteveDenver"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://i.huffpost.com/profiles/324124-tiny.png?20110821233759" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/SteveDenver">SteveDenver</a>:<br />This French wonder is a sensitively told story about 10-year-old Laure, whose family moves to a new suburb of Paris at the beginning of summer. When she meets the neighborhood kids, she tells them her name is Michaël. It's the perfect ruse: Laure/Michaël is athletic, flat as a board, and all goes well... until school begins. Some of the best child performances and the politics of kids at play ever seen on film.
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/SteveDenver"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://i.huffpost.com/profiles/324124-tiny.png?20110821233759" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/SteveDenver">SteveDenver</a>:<br />This film was hailed as a "mainstream gay romance" for its joyously real depiction of two men who meet, converse, connect and couple for a weekend. One of them is leaving for school and it's clear there is no future to the relationship, but that doesn't stop an intense weekend bonding. Favorite line: "When I came out to my parents, I told them 'nurture' OR 'nature,' it's your fault I'm gay."
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/SteveDenver"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://i.huffpost.com/profiles/324124-tiny.png?20110821233759" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/SteveDenver">SteveDenver</a>:<br />A Brooklyn teenager juggles conflicting identities and risks friendship, heartbreak, and family in a desperate search for sexual expression. This rare look into contemporary Black family, lesbian scene, and social attitudes is honest, jolting and triumphant. A beautifully envisioned film that earned critical raves and mainstream award nods.
Prayers for Bobby
(user submission) Academy Award nominee and Golden Globe winner Sigourney Weaver stars in this emotional true story about a 1970s religious suburban housewife and mother who struggles to accept her young son Bobby being gay. What happens to Bobby is tragic and causes Mary to question her faith; ultimately this mom changes her views in ways that she never could have imagined. Also starring Ryan Kelly ("Mean Creek"), Susan Ruttan ("LA Law"), Dan Butler ("Frasier") and Henry Czerny ("The Tudors"). Based on the book Prayers for Bobby by Leroy Aarons.
Just A Question of Love
(user submission) Just a Question of Love (French: Juste une question d'amour) is a 2000 French-Belgian drama television film by Christian Faure that premiered on France 2. It follows the romance of two young gay men, Laurent (Cyrille Thouvenin) and Cédric (Stéphan Guérin-Tillié), who conflict over whether Laurent should come out to his parents.
The Curiosity of Chance
(user submission) A favorite on the festival circuit, this quirky film co-stars Brett Chukerman, Aldevina Da Silva, Pieter Van Nieuwenhuyze and Chris Mulkey.
Imagine Me And You
(user submission) A film by Javier Fuentes-Léon. One of the best gay films so far. Noticed worldwide, except for the U.S.
Sum of Us
(user submission) A beautifully made and acted Australian film starring Russell Crowe and Jack Thompson.
The Wedding Banquet
It's In The Water
(user submission) The story of Alex, east Texas Junior League society wife, when she starts to realize she is a lesbian. It is filled with the humor of the small town locals being afraid that people are becoming gay because of the water. Also, it follows the course of several different gay men and lesbians in the town. Made in 1997, this film also shows the hostility with which AIDS outreach was still attacked with in the mid 90s in the south.
(user submission): I enjoyed this article and can now add some new films to my NetFlix Que. But I was disappointed not to see Kinky Boots included.