Tom Cullen: Love at First One-Night Stand
By William Van Meter
Don't get too excited, though -- this was only a bromance. Cullen is straight and New is gay. (New was prevented by visa issues from making it to Out's shoot.) Still, the two have convincingly passionate gay sex onscreen. "Gay for pay!" Cullen says, amused at hearing the term for the first time, "Oh God, I absolutely would not consider myself that." Well, gay for art's sake, then?
Weekend's depiction of sex is frank and mature (and as non-judgmental as its representation of drug use). "He's a normal bloke who has sexual urges," says Cullen of his character, who originally tries to pick Glen up at a urinal in a tacky gay club. The sex is neither whitewashed nor neutered, which is part of Haigh's hyperrealist approach.
"A lot of people aren't honest about being gay," Haigh says. "I wanted to show it as it is." Another memorable exchange: when Glen tosses Russell a towel to wipe off post-coitus. 'I see the sex as sweet,' Haigh says. 'They have gone through the passion of having it, and now there is an awkwardness between them. I never wanted to have these things with music. You have sex and don't make a massive deal about it.' It's also an excuse to have the characters spend a good portion of the film in their briefs. "The film is a document of guys over the weekend," Cullen says. "Guys always spend the weekend in their underwear."
Weekend was the breakout hit at SXSW and virtually every festival where it played. Odds are it could crossover to mainstream audiences when released in the U.S. this September (it will simultaneously air on Sundance Selects). Cullen is more than prepared for broader exposure. He takes a last sip of his drink and enthuses, "I would love to be a gay icon!"