Posted on Thursday, February 12th, 2009 by Brendon Connelly
Demetri Martin‘s Important Things debuted last night on Comedy Central and was, by most credible accounts, a really rather funny piece of work. Doing the publicity rounds to hawk the show, Martin gave several interviews and perhaps the most interesting of these was with After Elton‘s Michael Jensen.
The focus of their discussion was Martin’s lead role in Taking Woodstock, the upcoming Ang Lee movie about Elliot Tiber. Tiber unwittingly became a pivotal part in the chain of events that carried the Woodstock music festival from the realms of hippie pipe dreaming and into reality.
Martin’s account of his first meeting with Lee and screenwriter-producer James Schamus gives a good idea of how the film is being pitched:
“I went into the Ang Lee meeting and I had read the book and they’re like, ‘I don’t know how much you know, but we want to do this movie. We’re kind of interested in you as a character. We’re not going into as much of the like underground New York gay scene and that stuff. We’re focusing more on the family relationship and this guy’s personal journey, as a gay person who is in the closet in 1969 as that relates to making Woodstock happen and finding yourself as a generation is finding itself.”
As this is essentially a biopic of Tiber, Martin has apparently been required to appear in every single scene – easily trumping his previous, relatively meagre, cameo appearances in The Rocker and Analyse That. I hope he’s up to the job.
Only one scene is given a fully detailed description, but it’s a key one:
“There’s a scene where I kiss a guy – the only scene where I have a real kiss – and I’m on a dance floor and these girls pull me in to dance with them in my family’s bar in the motel, and they pull me onto the dance and a girl plants a kiss on me and then I push away from her. And then a guy grabs me and swings me around and kisses me, and at first I pull back, like who’s kissing me? And then I see him and I’m like, ‘Oh my god – it’s you!’ and then I go back in for the kiss and it’s more passionate and it’s real and there’s a catharsis and everybody cheers.”
This is where Tiber effectively comes at as gay in front of his Father (played, I believe, by Henry Goodman) and I’d imagine a lot of the drama to follow is ignited at this moment.
There’s an undeniable Oscarability to this picture, so I think we’ll be hearing a lot more about it as the year draws to an end and the ten-pins are re-framed for the next awards season.
As a footnote, I should alert you that this Sunday, the 15th of February, the new episode of Flight of the Conchords (a show on which Martin has appeared, and was co-created by sometime collaborator of his, James Bobin) has been directed by none other than Michel Gondry. Should be truly excellent, not least because we’ll be getting two new de facto Gondry music videos in the mix – so set your reminders now.