Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 14, No. 46, Ed. 1 Friday, March 13, 1998 Page: 31 of 72
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Uncommon co-stars John Hurt (I.) and Jason Priestley in
Love and Death on Long Island.
was tricky. A lot of people in London
asked me, 'What do you mean you're
going to try and get Jason Priestly and
John Hurt in the same film?' What they
saw was a negative element I always
saw as a positive," explained
Although labeled as a comedy, Love
and Death on Long Island is also filled
with heartache about a repressed and
pampered man coming to grips with
his homosexuality. The director said he
used humor as a way to seduce the
audience into the moving and inspiring
elements of the film.
"People really want to have a peg to
hang it on, and it was agonizing for us.
Should we just say it's a drama, or do
we say it's a comedy? It's got death in
the title, so will people think it's a real
downer? I hope people see that it is
funny, but in an unusual way. I hope
that humor warms up an audience and
allows an audience to be drawn in,"
Some of the comedy comes from
clips of movies like Hotpants College 2
which have been created to represent
the career of Priestley's teensplotation
character Ronnie Bostock.
"I had to do a crazy amount of
research for this. I had to look at every
Porky's film in existence. I had to listen
to the way American teenagers speak to
script the B-movies," said
Kwietniowski. "This was considered a
very un-English project because
English films very rarely look beyond
their own culture. So I found a lot peo-
ple who thought it couldn't work
because it was really about the parts of
two different cultures. But that's one of
the things I loved about the story."
One element about Love and Death...
that seems critical in a post Cunanan
era is the protagonist's obsession to
track down a famous actor and lurk
about his house, somehow hoping to
share his life with the celebrity.
"I never thought I was making a
stalker movie. For me a stalker is some-
body who actually wants to harm or
destroy their object of attraction,"
Kwietniowski said. "I was more inter-
ested in creating a sense of romance but
there obviously had to be a certain edge
there, that Giles might be discovered
when trying to persuade Ronnie's girl-
friend that all he wants to do is talk to
him about his career. But I did try to
build in safeguards so it never looked
like it was a stalker movie," stated
Kwietniowski sees Giles' obsessive
journey as a path of self-discovery.
"If you live the way that Giles does
in London, it's like being dead. He
doesn't come into contact with any-
thing he doesn't already fully under-
stand. He doesn't even have a televi-
sion," the director said. "That is not
about being alive. Being alive is about
living with differences and being stim-
ulated by differences. There are an
awful lot of British people who still
think of Britain as this country where
everybody is white, and middle class,
where it's still the most important coun-
try in the world. That's the type of per-
son I wanted to make fun of a bit. But I
do want the audience to cherish Giles.
And I wanted the film to actually vali-
date the fact that he does travel because
of his obsession."
Love and Death... doesn't present a
glimpse of gay culture or utter the word
"gay" at all. At the end of the film,
viewers get a sense of what Ronnie
Bostock's career will be like, but they
don't see what Giles' life will become.
Kwietniowski muses about Giles
"Well, he's going to write much bet-
ter novels. I think Giles is now in a situ-
ation where he could relate emotionally
to another human being, and that's
more likely to be a man than a woman,"
the director explained. "But I think the
most important thing is that he's gone
on a journey which has ended with him
being able to say with complete sinceri-
ty and passion to another human being
'I love you.' I think that's what it's
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MARCH 13, 1998
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Vercher, Dennis. Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 14, No. 46, Ed. 1 Friday, March 13, 1998, newspaper, March 13, 1998; Dallas, Texas. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth616063/m1/31/: accessed April 26, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.