Written by Joy Silman, Staff Writer.
Tom Hooper–whose major recent film projects have included powerful biopics, such as a the stuttering heir to Britain’s thrown and his journey to unconstrained speech (The King’s Speech, 2010), and the equally impressive journey of transgender pioneer Lili Elbe (The Danish Girl, 2015)–insists that his two most recent films have been “building towards” his next project, a biopic about Winston Churchill.
Hooper, who recently came into fire over historical accuracy for his recent film The Danish Girl, considers his next film, “Winston Churchill in Drag,” a “work of creative nonfiction.”
“Authors do it all the time,” Hooper impatiently said defending his project. “Why can’t I take liberty with the truth?” The film, which will “generally record the events of Churchill’s life truthfully,” re-imagines new events in Churchill’s life, as a drag queen. “I always saw Churchill as a drag queen, an incredibly attractive historical figure,” Hooper added.
Though the film is only in the preliminary stages of pre-production, its principal actor has already been cast: Danny DeVito. DeVito, whose most recent work has been of the comedic flavor as the obscene Frank Reynolds in FX’s It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, seems already to many film critics as an odd choice. But Hooper admits it was DeVito’s work in Batman Returns (1992) that sparked his fancy.
“DeVito’s early work as Penguin was striking to me,” Hooper noted. “There was something primal to the performance, erotic.”
The upcoming, loosely biographical film about Winston Churchill combines narrative techniques employed by Hooper in previous films in a new narrative about a powerful British leader whom he has long been physically attracted to. “Imagining the powerful mind of Winston in the body of a powerful woman has been, I imagine, a therapeutic experience for Tom,” said Oscar-nominated actor Bryan Cranston, who had once been considered and recommended for the role by Hooper’s advisers, who had considered Cranston’s transformative roles in Trumbo and on the stage as LBJ in All the Way as evidence of his potential success in the role. However, Cranston was almost immediately past over by Hooper, who insisted that Cranston was not his “type.”
Joy Silman has been an eager and illustrious staff writer for TTT since its founding. As a makeup, tattoo, piercing, and body-art aficionado, much of her work surrounds the art scene and the influences its major figures have on the development of new and crucial cultural trends. Silman earned her B.A. from Emerson College in Boston, where she was also first exposed to the power and influence of journalism. She has contributed to major newspapers including the Boston Globe, the Times, and many local venues, as well as wrote periodically for arts journals including Zeroland.