A new Icelandic film, Snow and Salóme, premiers tonight. The film includes a story of gay male couple that falls in love with an Australian tourist.
Snjór og Salóme – Snow and Salóme – a brand new Icelandic feature film written and directed by Sigurður Anton, will premier tonight, Friday April 7th. The film´s story follows Salóme, a
young woman in Reykjavík, who lives with her best friend and on/off-boyfriend, Hrafn. Everything changes when Hrafn gets another girl pregnant and she moves in with them.
“Me and Júlí are good friends and it was no big deal kissing him.”
But their’s is not the only complicated relationship in the film; Salóme’s gay brother and his live in boyfriend take in an Australian tourist, played by our own Jonathan Duffy, and both fall in love with him.
The brother is played by Ævar Már Ágústsson and the well-known musician Júlí Heiðar plays his boyfriend. Ævar is known as a stand up comedian and has participated in two of Sigurður Anton’s films, Isabella and Webcam. He is not an educated actor, says it’s more of a hobby, but those who have seen the afore-mentioned films know that he makes memorable characters on the screen. From day-to-day he works as a driver-guide for tourists and is as straight as they come. How did he feel about playing a gay guy?
“I have played a gay character once before, in a film school final project for my friend, I don’t feel it is any different from playing a straight character. We are all people. People in love, I don’t see the difference. There are no actual love scenes between the two guys in the film, just a bit of kissing nothing too intimate, and I didn’t feel it was uncomfortable at all. Me and Júlí are good friends and it was no big deal kissing him.”
Things get complicated when the Australian tourist comes into the guys home, and they both develop an interest in him. Are we talking about an open relationship here, or are they cheating?
“Well, I don’t really know. I have not even thought about it. He becomes the third-party of the relationship while he stays in Iceland, but the other guys still love each other when he has left. So, yes, I guess you could say that they have an open relationship.”
Is the gay relationship central to the film?
“No, I would not say that the relationship as such is central, but both mine and Júlí’s characters play crucial roles in how things develop. Being gay is actually not really an issue in the story.”
Ævar is clearly flabbergasted by my line of questioning. He honestly has not even thought about the film as having a gay theme. Did he not even consult any gay people on how to convey the character?
“No, I didn’t. The director wrote the role of this gay bear and I just thought: That’s me – apart from the gay part. And I just played my self. Being queer has never been anything I consider a character trait of other people. When I was younger many people thought that I was gay, but that never bothered me. Why should who we love change who we are?”
“The director wrote the role of this gay bear and I just thought: That’s me – apart from the gay part.”
Premier tonight. How do you feel?
“I’m terrified! Being the only non-educated actor in the cast I always feel that if something goes wrong it will be my fault. So the premier is always scary. But as soon as people start laughing I relax. And I’m abxolutely certain that Snow and Salóme is a great film that people of all ages will enjoy to watch. So apart from the premier jitters I’m pretty confident and looking forward to see and hear peoples reaction.”
It shouldn’t matter weather I’m gay or not
As soon as Ævar leaves to get ready for the big night I contact Júlí Heiðar and start by asking him if he agrees with his co actor that it’s no big deal playing a gay character.
“Yes, more or less. This character is not far from myself. Both me and Ævar have loved and to transfer that love to a dear friend for a while is no big deal. Besides I already love Ævar as a friend. So I think we both agree that we did hardly think about it.”
In these overtly PC times there has been a lot of discussion and criticism of straight guys playing gay guys in movies as some stereotype of ´THE´gay guy, are you not afraid of the reaction?
“No, far from it. Neither one of us was trying to create some stereotype. These characters came straight from the heart and are not that different from ourselves. I didn’t have to wander far from myself to create this character. But of course there are a few things I picked up from my gay friends to enhance the character of Gústi.”
Even though the characters are in a committed relationship both guys see nothing wrong with pursuing a third-party. What do you think about that?
“ I just think the characters are very sexual and open-minded. I made my character be driven by constand hornyness. That’s something I saw in the attitude of a straight friend once and I thought was wonderful. The guys in the film are in many ways in a kind of open relationship, especially regarding sex. But I think the love between them burns the strongest. I think straying is something that happens a lot in all kinds of relationships, maybe more often than one thinks.”
“I think straying is something that happens a lot in all kinds of relationships, maybe more often than one thinks.”
You are a well kown musician and a “girl magnet”. Did you ever think that playing a gay guy might affect that image?
“Unfortunately there are still some people out there who have a hard time swallowing the fact that love is just love whether it happens between a man and a woman, two men or two women or whatever. But I would find it very weird if this role would affect my career as a musician, well or my image as ”girl magnet” for that matter.” Here Júlí Heiðar laughs, embarrassed.
“I’m educating myself as an actor which entails playing all kinds of roles and this one is no different. It should not matter at all weather I’m gay or not, I should be able to make my music and publish it without that being an issue.”
And now the film‘s premier is just around the corner. How is the feeling?
“This film is made by a group of friends that function like a semi family. I’m positive that we are all very proud of it and excited to show people our masterpiece and I can hardly wait!”