A biopic about Finnish artist Touko Laaksonen, better known as Tom of Finland, has been kicking around for a while. Dome Karukoski was announced as Tom of Finland's director back in 2013, and in that time, a second, unauthorized biopic, TOM the Movie, came and apparently went.
Karukoski's, however, is the first film about the artist to be officially sanctioned by the Tom of Finland Foundation. Written by Aleksi Bardy, Tom of Finland recently got a worldwide distributor and is set to (finally) begin production this spring in Gothenberg, Sweden. The cast of the film will be announced in Berlin.
Laaksonen's erotically charged images of hypermuscular hypermasculine archetypes—often sailors, bikers and cowboys—came to define a sexuality and the idea of masculinity among gay men in the 20th century. Laaksonen died in 1991, but the Tom of Finland Foundation continues to preserve his legacy.
According to Deadline:
Laaksonen returns from home to Helsinki a hero after a harrowing and eventful military service in World War II, only to find himself persecuted in peace time for his homosexuality. He gets himself trapped in secret affairs and pressured to get married to a woman. He discovers refuge and liberation in his art, specialising in homoerotic drawings of muscular men in sexually uninhibited situations. Over the years, his work develops a worldwide following and helps fan the flames of a gay revolution in the USA.
As he told Out back in 2013, Karukoski doesn't want to tell the typical cradle-to-the-grave story, but instead focus on "certain sequences that we feel are important for the character."
“This is the story of a man ahead of his time, bravely standing up against a world virulently against his right to be who he was—a homosexual man with homosexual fantasies,” Karukoski told Deadline. “The story shows how literally one person can create change in the world, even with something as simple as an artist’s tools.”