'Frank' Discussion

Sophia Lillis and Peter Macdissi on the beauty of working with your boyfriend in ‘Uncle Frank’


An old saying holds that politics makes strange bedfellows. We’d like to offer up a variation: good bedfellows make good movies.

In this case, the couple would be Oscar-winner Alan Ball (American Beauty, True Blood) and his longtime boyfriend, actor Peter Macdissi. Ball now directs Macdissi in one of his best roles–and best performances–to date in the historical drama Uncle Frank, opposite Paul Bettany and Sophia Lillis.

Lillis, of course, has exploded on to the scene in the past few years, nabbing roles in the hit IT film series, and on the Netflix show, I Am Not Ok With This. Macdissi has proven himself a reliable actor in the shows Six Feet Under, True Blood (both created by Ball) and in the film Towelhead.

Related: WATCH: Paul Bettany plays gay in bittersweet trailer for Uncle Frank

Set in the 1970s, Uncle Frank tells the story of college professor Frank Bladsoe (Paul Bettany), a gay man who escaped his small-town South Carolina upbringing for a life in the big city with his boyfriend Wally (Macdissi). When Frank’s niece Beth (Lillis) enrolls in the university, Wally & Frank take her under their collective wing. But when word arrives that Frank’s father has died, the three return to South Carolina as dark memories from Frank’s past surface, along with his alcoholism. Judy Greer, Steve Zahn, Lois Smith and Margo Martindale also star.

We snagged time to chat with Lillis about her star on the rise, Macdissi’s anxieties in working with his partner, and the film as a whole. Uncle Frank arrives on Netflix November 25.



Video Editor: David Beerman