Universal Pictures has now given the green light to a Rock Hudson biopic, tentatively titled All That Heaven Allows, named after the biography of the late actor released in December 2018 as well as the 1955 film starring Hudson and Jane Wyman, Variety reports.
Academy award-nominated screenwriter Richard LaGravenese, who wrote Behind the Candelabra, Beautiful Creatures, and Water for Elephants is in talks to write the film while gay Love, Simon director Greg Berlanti will direct.
Hudson was one of the top movie stars of the 1950s and 1960s and was also a closeted gay man, though many of his closest friends and co-stars like Doris Day and Elizabeth Taylor knew about his sexuality. Not only would it be near-impossible for Hudson to come out as gay at the time, studios also had a vested interest in keeping an image of Hudson as a macho straight man.
Four years into the epidemic, Hudson announced via a 1985 press release that he was living with AIDS and that he had gone to Paris to seek treatment. Hudson died a few months after his announcement, in Beverly Hills, California. Hudson’s announcement was the first time a major Hollywood star had come out as HIV positive and his death was many people’s first time knowing someone who had died of AIDS-related complications.
Hudson was also a good friend of president Ronald Reagan, a former Hollywood actor, who did not publically say the word “AIDS” until September 1985, and even then it was to say that it was reasonable for parents to keep children away from people with HIV.
Hudson’s biopic comes only a few weeks after the Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody earned four Academy Awards, including for Rami Malek’s portrayal of Mercury. Rhapsody’s portrayal of Mercury was highly criticized in the media. Many lambasted the film for downplaying Mercury’s bisexuality, or portraying it negatively, as well as making his HIV diagnosis seem like a consequence of his bisexuality. The film also completely changed the date of Mercury’s HIV diagnosis to construct a scene where he asks forgiveness from his bandmates — that never happened.
Given Berlanti’s involvement in the process, there is hope that the picture will show the tough realities of living in the closet in 1950s Hollywood rather than making Hudson look like a shady guy who is deceiving those around him. But hey, you never know with Hollywood!