The countdown has begun to Brokeback Mountain, the movie that will test the outer man-on-man tolerance limits of even the most admiring of Ang Lee's straight, male cineaste fanbase. Much is made in the current Newsweek of the, for lack of a better term, balls-out content of the Jake Gyllenhaal-Heath Ledger gay cowboy love story, and how that will play in Gay Pride Parade-free Peoria. But nothing would divert the filmmakers from the message this story set out to tell, not even in its marketing:
When it came time to design the poster for the film, [co-president of Focus Features and frequent Lee collaborator James] Schamus didn't research posters of famous Westerns for ideas. He looked at the posters of the 50 most romantic movies ever made. "If you look at our poster," he says, "you can see traces of our inspiration, 'Titanic'."
The posters, pictured above, reveal more than just "traces" of similarity; they are nearly matching sets of pretty young matinee idols in love, all long lashes pointing meaningfully to the ground and chins nuzzled longingly onto shoulders. Indeed, even the bough of the Titanic is echoed in size and shape to Heath's denim-clad, sturdy left arm.
As to whether the much reported-about Brokeback consummation scene can live up to the Leo-Kate steamy car window rendezvous, the jury is out, to be decided upon the film's wide release December 9th by the audiences of gay men, women, and the hugely uncomfortable but open-minded boyfriends who begrudgingly agree to come along.