WATCH: Joshua Tree, 1951 Doesn’t Whitewash James Dean’s Sexuality

Matthew Mishory’s Joshua Tree, 1951: A Portrait of James Dean presents the actor before he became the toast of Hollywood with films like Rebel Without a Cause and Giant. Focusing on Dean’s experiences as a rising star in Los Angeles, the film’s dreamlike vignettes blend real and fictional elements to get at the core of this brief but indelible icon. And it doesn’t shy away from Dean’s alleged bisexuality. Heck the thing looks like a mash-up between a Gus Van Sant movie and a Bruce Weber commercial!

Though a distribution deal hasn’t been announced, Joshua Tree has some good pedigree: James Preston (ABC’s The Gates) plays Dean, with The L Word‘s Erin Daniels and out Queer as Folk actor Robert Gant in supporting roles, costumes by Emmy nominee Rob Saduski and a musical score by Steven Severin (of Siouxsie and the Banshees fame).

Look for it in theaters later this year.

Photo: Danny Madden

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  • EveryDayJoe89

    I think I just came. Get this on the big screen!

  • shannon


  • Lou Scunt

    He was a terrible actor. I never understood the fascination with this guy. He was only in like 2 movies!

  • Joseph

    3 movies (East of Eden; Rebel without a Cause; Giant). And a phenomenal actor, who, along with fellow bi actor Marlon Brando and Montgomery Clift, influenced a generation of actors. And continue to do so.

  • CBRad

    @Lou Scunt: I actually think he was really cool-looking and had a real intensity there. I especially like “Rebel..” But, you’re not alone. I remember Truman Capote basically saying Dean was an overrated thing and that there wasn’t much to see in his performances. (Capote said the same about Tony Perkins). I had to disagree with Capote on that one. Now, mumbling Marlon Brando- he’s the one I think is one of the most overrated actors ever.

  • CBGB

    I second EveryDayJoe89’s cumshot — this looks spectacular. Loving the fab actress telling our boy Jimmy about the facts o’ life. Have also had a (not-so-) secret crush on Robert Gant for years. Interestingly, the film itself doesn’t look THAT gay, just full of all things gay men love. Amen.

  • CBRad

    @CBGB: Do you think so? I don’t find it that interesting. I know you can’t judge the film by the trailer, though. But it almost looks like a DeBeers Diamonds or Levi’s ad to me, a lot of style and not much story or character.

  • Tommy Shepherd

    James Dean was the reason I had a quiff between 1988 and 1994. That’s all I’m sayin.

  • RonAThon

    This looks so fantastic I can’t even stand it! Of course, the breeders will go crazy seeing their icon “taken from them,” but isn’t it time we gays started reclaiming our rightful history? Well-done!

  • Drew

    Actually Ron, James Dean was bisexual he wasn’t “gay”. This is not new information at all since everyone has known this-including straight people-for decades. Way to be heterophobic, not all straight people are breeders.

  • Esculapio Mitiríades Torquemada de la Cueva

    @Drew: “Way to be heterophobic, not all straight people are breeders.”

    Thank you. God, I hate that word.

  • trevor bartlet

    Can you believe how bad that music is?

  • Drew Temple

    @Trevor: actually, I love the music. You really can’t argue with Chet Baker and Frankie. I also love the word “breeder” — use it with pride! I can’t wait to see this. I don’t think we can say it takes any side whatsoever on Dean being gay, bisexual, or gay-for-pay straight. We don’t know enough about the film yet. But I for one can’t wait to see it. Bring it on, bitches.

  • Zandus

    @Joseph: Who exactly did Jimmy influence?

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