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Ralph Fiennes: Coriolanus Dripping With Locker-Room Homoeroticism

Oh, I think there is an unconscious attraction between two extreme warriors. I don’t think it’s a conscious homosexual attraction, but I think it’s so close to that locker-room rivalry that you can’t help but see it…and I think it’s definitely in the text…He greets Coriolanus and says, [paraphrasing] ‘Let me twine my arms about that body, now that I see thee here thy noble thing, more dances my rapt heart than when I first my wedded mistress saw bestride my threshold.’ And he goes on and on…

Actually, [Ovidius] uses—it’s misleading, because it is full of romantic language—he uses the fisting word, and not meaning it in the gay sense. [Paraphrasing] ‘Bound together in my sleep, unbuckling helms, fisting each other’s throats…’ That’s misleading, but he’s been dreaming about Coriolanus, and fighting him. And he’s obsessed with it. It’s been unquestioningly there.”

Director/star Ralph Fiennes, discussing the inherient homoeroticism in Coriolanus been his character and Gerald Butler’s Ovidius in the Shakespearan drama, to BoyCulture.com

Coriolanus opens in theaters on December 2. Check out the official trailer below:

By:           Dan Avery
On:           Nov 12, 2011
Tagged: , , , ,

  • 29 Comments
    • Cam
      Cam

      “”Oh, I think there is an unconscious attraction between two extreme warriors.””
      _______________________

      The pathetic way that Hollywood tries to get gays to go see movies that have zero gay content.

      Nov 12, 2011 at 8:24 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • blatherer
      blatherer

      “Fisting” is not a gay term, it is also practiced by heterosexuals. Ralph Fiennes is hot though.

      Nov 12, 2011 at 8:48 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jason
      jason

      I think there is a lot of sensuality between men who identify as straight. This sensuality results from the trade-off between not wanting to be thought of as gay and the sexual competitiveness/camaraderie that exists between men who are conquering women. The sensuality manifests as an attraction between men that is powerful. It’s actually a more powerful force than exists between men who are sexually attracted to each other – ie as in wanting to have sex with each other.

      A lot of gay men envy the sensuality that exists between straight-identifying men. There is a bitterness in many gay men which results from the knowledge that such a powerful sensuality can never be realized in a paradigm where the object of having a relationship with a man is to fuck him.

      That’s why the gay male scene is riddled with bitter queens with dysfunctionality issues. They’ve missed out on the type of spiritual development that many straight guys experience as a result of their relationships with each other.

      Nov 12, 2011 at 9:39 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • tallskin2
      tallskin2

      Famous warrior couples? Hmmm, well the Iliad has Achilles and Patroclus – although technically speaking they were lovers before the war against Troy

      Then there’s Alexander the great and his lover Hephastion, but again these two were lovers from teenage years and before Alexander started his wars of conquest

      I guess to understand the homoeroticism of warriors we have to go back to The Legend of Gilgamesh.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epic_of_Gilgamesh

      Basically a bored teenage warrior, Gilgamesh, is causing problems in his town so the townsfolk pray to the gods for someone to act as companion to Gilgamesh and the gods create the Wild Man. The two meet and fight and Gilgamesh overcomes the Wild Man, fucks him in defeat, and they become lovers.

      “The story revolves around a relationship between Gilgamesh and his close male companion, Enkidu. Enkidu is a wild man created by the gods as Gilgamesh’s equal to distract him from oppressing the citizens of Uruk. Together they undertake dangerous quests that incur the displeasure of the gods. Firstly, they journey to the Cedar Mountain to defeat Humbaba, its monstrous guardian. Later they kill the Bull of Heaven that the goddess Ishtar has sent to punish Gilgamesh for spurning her advances.
      The latter part of the epic focuses on Gilgamesh’s distressed reaction to Enkidu’s death, which takes the form of a quest for immortality. “

      Nov 12, 2011 at 10:07 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • tallskin2
      tallskin2

      Jason says: “There is a bitterness in many gay men which results from the knowledge that such a powerful sensuality can never be realized in a paradigm where the object of having a relationship with a man is to fuck him.
      That’s why the gay male scene is riddled with bitter queens with dysfunctionality issues”

      Jason you’re full of shit. Because you are putting the result as the cause. The cause is the homophobia of a bitter twisted christian (or post christian) society which has a twisted, buckled warped view of human sexuality and which is toxic for the mental and emotional health of gays and lesbians. That’s what causes the result you mention.

      And anyway I’d say that straight men are fucked up precisely in a fucked up christian society they cannot fuck each other, which in the ancient and pagan world they undoubtably would have been able to do.

      Nov 12, 2011 at 10:19 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mr. Enemabag Jones
      Mr. Enemabag Jones

      @blatherer:

      Exactly. First time I saw fisting, was in a straight porn vid.

      Nov 12, 2011 at 11:13 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • MikeE
      MikeE

      hey, any film with the word “anus” anywhere in the title can’t be ALL bad!

      and I didn’t know that Shakespeare scripted Gladiator and The Last Samurai????

      Nov 12, 2011 at 12:33 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Robin
      Robin

      I only have a few words to comment on Ralph Fiennes’ observations – pretension, pretension, pretension, pretension, pretension, pretension,…..yaaawn.

      Nov 12, 2011 at 12:46 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • MikeE
      MikeE

      @Robin: just because you don’t understand what he’s saying doesn’t make it pretentious.

      Nov 12, 2011 at 1:47 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ray
      Ray

      Is that Screech from Saved by the Bell with the beard?

      Nov 12, 2011 at 3:05 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Daev
      Daev

      “And anyway I’d say that straight men are fucked up precisely in a fucked up christian society they cannot fuck each other, which in the ancient and pagan world they undoubtably would have been able to do.”

      Yeah, as a straight guy I can’t stop thinking about fucking other guys. That makes sense.

      Nov 12, 2011 at 5:16 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cinesnatch
      Cinesnatch

      I don’t normally like the Shakespeare + film equation, but the trailer suggests Fiennes has introduced an exciting way (simliar to Baz Luhrman’s Romeo + Juliet) to bring relevancy to a Shakespeare work few are familiar with.

      @Cam: I guess Hollywood missed the boat by not putting any of what Fiennes spoke of into the trailer.

      @jason: You give a lot of food for thought, which, unfortunately, will defiantly be ignored by most.

      Nov 12, 2011 at 5:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Marie Cohn
      Marie Cohn

      Ralph puts the ANUS in “Coriolanus”!

      Nov 12, 2011 at 6:01 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Billy
      Billy

      @jason~~~ HUH?
      @Cinesnatch~~~ I didn’t defiantly ignore it. After I read your post regarding it(the first time I stopped about halfway through the 2nd sentence). I decided to go back and see what food for thought you found. I read it several times. Slowly deliberately, and painfully tried to process it. Each and every time I found no food for thought. Only observations that to me seemed a bit pompous and condescending. But that’s just my humble opinion.

      Nov 12, 2011 at 6:48 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Robin
      Robin

      @MikeE – I do understand what he’s saying. And it’s still pretentious. I’m a Brit, I know all about pretension.

      Nov 12, 2011 at 7:03 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Phil
      Phil

      “Lol it’s not gay he just wants to fight this guy really badly.” + “Latent homophobia (in it’s truest sense of the word: a fear of same-gendered sexuality)” = “Whatever Ralph Fiennes said”

      Take my opinion with a grain of salt. I have not read the entire manuscript, and I’m sure that the director has. But it seems as if the writer, from what I can read of direct quotes, is using decidedly sexual language in a passionate situation that -isn’t- sex as a literary conceit.

      The guy supposed to be a heterosexual, right? And the man likes to fight. He is more excited by fighting (with men) than he is by sexing (with women), but he is still very heterosexual. The situation looks very gay on the outside though. The sexual language used underscores that fact. It’s witty writing, and it looks like the writer intended for there to be overtones of homosexual romanticism. I mean, who the hell uses such obfuscated euphemisms for sex when they didn’t intend to? It’s very hard to do it accidentally.

      Probably out of obstinacy, and latent homophobia!, does Mr. Fiennes argue that, “It wasn’t intended to look gay guys!”

      I mean, if that’s what he’s even saying, because he says “Oh, I think there is this hinterland of unconscious attraction between these two men who profess initially to hate each other,” and then he says “I don’t think it’s a conscious homosexual attraction,” but then he says “and I think it’s definitely in the text”. What the hell is this “it” he’s referring to? It looks like the director can’t decide between admitting or not whether there’s gleeful referencing to how gay the situation looks. (It’s sorta meta.)

      Well, the language is very sexual and very gay. The character is probably not gay, even though he prefers to engage in the company of men. The writing is probably being used to tell us where his passions lie, and that those passions lie in a weird direction, a direction that is contrary to our expectations. It is an almost ironic situation, the writer knows this, and he is capitulating to it. He is sharing a joke with the audience and Ralph Fiennes is not in on it.

      (Also, fisting throats? Who the hell considers that “romantic language”?)

      Nov 12, 2011 at 7:59 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Michael
      Michael

      Wow, it sounds pretty gay to me. It’s almost like two men going down on each other and then trying to argue what’s going on isn’t gay at all. If you have to give a 10 minute explanation on how something isn’t gay then it’s most definitely gay, gay, gay.

      Nov 12, 2011 at 8:12 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jason
      jason

      A lot of gay guys simply don’t understand male sexuality. Their views on male sexuality are based on the narrow gay male social scene. This is the worst possible place from which to learn about male sexuality. Face it, guys, the gay male scene is a sad, tragic test-tube of fetishistic, promiscuous men with bad skin. They smoke a lot, they drink a lot, and they are generally unhealthy.

      A lot of gay men also attempt to validate themselves by calling everything gay. If a man is attracted by the sight of a man’s body, he’s called gay. If a man demonstrates sensuality towards a man, he’s called gay. Gay men are basically trying to justify their own existences by attempting to appropriate all forms of male-male interaction.

      It truly is sad. I feel sorry and sad for these gay men. They are dreadfully inadequate individuals. They are missing out on a lot of fun and enjoyment by neglecting the importance of male-male sensuality that is free of sex.

      Nov 12, 2011 at 8:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Lance
      Lance

      “A lot of gay men also attempt to validate themselves by calling everything gay. If a man is attracted by the sight of a man’s body, he’s called gay. If a man demonstrates sensuality towards a man, he’s called gay. Gay men are basically trying to justify their own existences by attempting to appropriate all forms of male-male interaction.”

      You can’t blame gay men for those things. That is a product of the “heterosexual male society where anything remotely associated with female behavior is frowned upon”. There is a reason why heterosexual men balk at any possible “thought” of the male body.

      I also laugh at you for saying that somehow homosexual relationships between homosexual men is apparently less powerful? Because it’s not as angry, violent or carries no rape overtones maybe? Give me a break. There are raunchy one-night stands from both sides of the fence.

      Nov 13, 2011 at 7:59 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jason
      jason

      Lance,

      I have 22 years of experience on the gay, mixed and straight scenes. Unlike many gay men, I haven’t confined my life’s experiences to the gay scene.

      Nov 13, 2011 at 8:43 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Robert in NYC
      Robert in NYC

      Jason you completely ignore the fact that there are as many and probably more straight men and women who are just as obsessed with sex as some gay people. Seems there are a lot of straight men out there obsessed with gay sex, you know, those right wing radical religious nutjobs in the republican party. What gives you the right or the authority to paint all gay people with the same brush? Look at the divorce rate (mostly all heterosexual) for starters, more than 50% of marriages failing and mostly as a result of adultery, often multiple times, with multiple partners on the side, ditto for single straight males. Look at the incidence of rape, almost all committed by heterosexual males, compared to male rape.

      Nov 13, 2011 at 9:45 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David Ehrenstein
      David Ehrenstein

      “The girls today in society
      Go for classical poetry,
      So to win their hearts one must quote with ease
      Aeschylus and Euripides.
      But the poet of them all
      Who will start ‘em simply ravin’
      Is the poet people call
      The bard of Stratford-on-Avon.

      Brush up your Shakespeare,
      Start quoting him now.
      Brush up your Shakespeare
      And the women you will wow.
      Just declaim a few lines from “Othella”
      And they think you’re a heckuva fella.
      If your blonde won’t respond when you flatter ‘er
      Tell her what Tony told Cleopaterer,
      And if still, to be shocked, she pretends well,
      Just remind her that “All’s Well That Ends Well.”
      Brush up your Shakespeare
      And they’ll all kowtow.

      Brush up your Shakespeare,
      Start quoting him now.
      Brush up your Shakespeare
      And the women you will wow.
      If your goil is a Washington Heights dream
      Treat the kid to “A Midsummer Night Dream.”
      If she fights when her clothes you are mussing,
      What are clothes? “Much Ado About Nussing.”
      If she says your behavior is heinous
      Kick her right in the “Coriolanus.”
      Brush up your Shakespeare
      And they’ll all kowtow,
      And they’ll all kowtow,
      And they’ll all kowtow.

      Brush up your Shakespeare,
      Start quoting him now.
      Brush up your Shakespeare
      And the women you will wow.

      Brush up your Shakespeare
      And they’ll all kowtow”

      — Cole Porter

      Nov 13, 2011 at 10:52 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • JoeyB
      JoeyB

      Vanessa Redgrave beats them all…

      Nov 13, 2011 at 12:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jason
      jason

      Robert in NYC,

      Two wrongs don’t make a right.

      Nov 13, 2011 at 4:54 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Billy
      Billy

      @jason HUH?~~~~ still can’t find any food for thought in it. Seems a bit condescending to make those general assumptive statements about a very large group of people. Somehow your statements infer to me that you may have some latent homophobia. Anyone who would describe a large group of people, whose only thing in common is sexuality(gay men are an extremely diverse group), in such a derogatroy way must have some internalized negative issues with that group.

      But then, this is just my humble opinion. I certainly don’t presume to think of myself as a philosopher or student of human behavior. Because I’m not.

      Nov 13, 2011 at 8:39 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Carl
      Carl

      @ Jason: “…the gay male scene is a sad, tragic test-tube of fetishistic, promiscuous men with bad skin. They smoke a lot, they drink a lot, and they are generally unhealthy.”
      I thought you were describing straight men. You’re a joke Jason.

      Nov 13, 2011 at 8:41 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • arbiter
      arbiter

      If you’ve studied Shakespeare in its historical context, the homoeroticism is a given. And is more freely addressed in Britain (where Fienes comes from) than in the states. Remember, this was written before the IDEA of homosexuality was conceived. Sex was sex, with men, with women (or with teenage boys in drag, as on the stage), with whomever. It wasn’t an issue. The homophobia and shame we experience mostly comes from Victorian moralizing. Just read Gross Indecency by Moises Kaufman. The trials of Oscar Wilde give great insight into that.

      Nov 17, 2011 at 3:45 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Henry
      Henry

      @arbiter: I think you put it a little too strongly. There WAS an issue in Britain, and throughout Europe, since the evil Bible says men who have sex with men should be put to death, and the Bible will always determine Christian attitudes toward those men. Still, you’re absolutely right that there was no IDEA of homosexuality.

      Nov 17, 2011 at 3:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • dana
      dana

      @jason: good thoughts on this jason. I agree.

      Aug 7, 2012 at 1:55 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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