(LONDON) — There’s a real and emotional reason why Paul Bettany felt such a deep and personal connection to the character he plays in Uncle Frank, which is streaming now on Amazon Prime Video.
The movie, which takes place in the 1970s, follows Bettany’s character, a gay man who lives two lives. He is out and proud in New York where he lives and works, but when it comes to his family in South Carolina — he is still very much in the closet.
That balancing act is challenged when Frank has to return to his hometown to attend his father’s funeral.
Marvel movie star Bettany, who is married to actress Jennifer Connelly, revealed to ABC Audio why this role meant so much to him.
“I was raised by a closeted gay father who came out at 63…much to the relief of everybody in the family,” the BAFTA winner said. “He then had a 20 year relationship with a man called Andy.”
When Andy died, Bettany said his father “went back into the closet” and “was unable to mourn the person who, I think, was the love of his life.”
Playing Frank, a beloved professor at NYU struggling to decide whether or not to come out to his family, made him think about how different his father’s life would have been had he stayed out and “shed the shame that he was holding onto regarding his sexuality.”
Moreover, Uncle Frank not only made him reflect on his father, but what purpose his movie serves.
Bettany says this film should be seen by “anybody who feels that there’s somehow unable to live their life authentically because it’s sort of exterior pressures.”
“It a film about acceptance,” the A Beautiful Mind star added. “[It’s about] his acceptance for who he is, and also his family’s acceptance.”
By Megan Stone & Jason Nathanson
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