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‘Love, Simon’ director Greg Berlanti making Rock Hudson biopic

Nick Duffy November 9, 2018
L - Love, Simon, R - Rock Hudson (Hulton Archive/Getty)

(Love, Simon)

Love, Simon director Greg Berlanti is working on a new biopic about gay Hollywood actor Rock Hudson.

Berlanti, the mastermind behind gay teen rom-com Love, Simon and the Arrow superhero TV universe, is signed on to direct and produce a new film based on the life of Hudson, who was one of the highest-profile victims of the AIDS crisis.

Deadline reports that Universal Pictures has snapped up the rights for Mark Griffin’s upcoming book, All That Heaven Allows: A Biography of Rock Hudson, which the film will be based on.

The legendary Hollywood actor, the star of Pillow Talk and Dynasty, made international headlines when he publicly revealed he had AIDS in July 1985, three months before his death.

American film star Rock Hudson
American film star Rock Hudson (Hulton Archive/Getty)

The actor was a close personal friend of President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan, who have been strongly criticised for their refusal to acknowledge the AIDS crisis while it  was ravaging the gay community.

Uncovered documents in 2015 revealed that Hudson had begged the Reagans to help him secure a pioneering treatment, pleading with the First Lady to help cut through red tape and secure him a space in a French hospital.

A telegram from Rock Hudson was received by the White House on July 24, 1985, and eventually logged in the Reagan Presidential Library without a response. Hudson died on October 2, 1985, from AIDS-related complications.

Hudson, who starred in over 70 films before his death from AIDS-related illness, reportedly once seduced James Dean to win a bet against Elizabeth Taylor.

US actor Rock Hudson in 1984
US actor Rock Hudson (MYCHELE DANIAU/AFP/Getty)

The actor was married to Phyllis Gates from 1955 to 1958, when the pair divorced. Recordings of Gates and Hudson later revealed that she knew she was gay.

In the recordings, made public in 2013, Gates suggested that being gay is “an emotional state” and “it’s up to the individual to grow out of it.”

She said: “Everyone knows that you were picking up boys off the street shortly after we were married and have continued to do so, thinking that being married would cover up for you.”

American actor Rock Hudson pictured in the 1960s
American actor Rock Hudson (Keystone/Getty)

It is unclear who is in line to play Hudson in the project, but Deadline reports that a search for a writer on the project is underway.

Rock Hudson biopic comes after Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody

News of the Rock Hudson biopic comes hot on the heels of Bohemian Rhapsody, a critically-panned film based on the life of Queen singer Freddie Mercury.

Mercury was also a famous victim of the AIDS crisis, passing away from AIDS-related complications six years later, in 1991.

However, the film focuses largely on Mercury’s music and the legacy of Queen. Behind-the-scenes disagreements saw multiple departures from the project over the film’s tone and approach to Mercury’s personal life, while its eventual star Rami Malek also acknowledged issues.

More: actor, AIDS, Gay, HIV, rock hudson, US

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