“I think in its own way, it’s quite revolutionary in its portrayal of queer love and also in its presenting of a relationship where the sexuality of the characters is obviously there, but never spoken about directly… it’s been embraced with open arms,” writer and director Harry Macqueen say of his debut film.
Starring Colin Firth as Sam and Stanley Tucci as Tusker, Supernova tackles themes of mortality, love and ageing in what is a beautiful, albeit unflinching, portrayal of two men deeply in love. After Tusker was diagnosed with young-onset dementia two years ago their lives have had to change, these two men, now find themselves travelling across England in their old campervan visiting friends, family and places from their past.
“It started with a personal experience, I was working with someone who had young-onset dementia all though she didn’t know that at the time. So I watched someone change quite a lot over the course of a period, that experience made me realise how much I didn’t know about dementia in general. It is a really personal film, and it’s inspired by people who were kind enough to let me into their lives.”
With the casting of Firth and Tucci as lovers, it provides the perfect opportunity to ask what Macqueen’s thoughts were on issues of casting and representation in film.
“I think firstly, it’s a nuanced and important conversation that needs to be had, and no one is sure what the answer is. But you have to focus on the integrity of each project, that’s the key thing. You have to ask, is the project being intelligent and compassionate about how it is telling the story, and are the performers telling it with all their heart and soul? There aren’t many actors that could pull if off as beautifully as Colin and Stanley do, in part because they are brilliant actors and in part, because they’ve known each for 20 years and love each other.”
Irrespective, of if you agree or disagree with these sentiments, Supernova is a beautifully tender and loving portrayal, which is both captivating and haunting.
Concluding our interview, Macqueen reflects on the film and the year that was 2020, by saying, “It’s interesting to also think about Supernova, after what we all went through last year. We’ve all globally learnt to focus on what’s important in our lives, the people you love the most, the communities you love the most. This film is about exactly that, binding yourself to the people you care most for.”