VIDEO EXCLUSIVE: Robert Clift & Hilary Demmon On ‘The Making Of Montgomery Clift,’ Actor’s Secret Gay Life
Hilary Demmon and Robert Clift released a new documentary movie on one of the most influential actors in the history of cinema, Montgomery Clift.
Montgomery was an American actor and is best known for his roles in Red River, The Heiress, A Place in the Sun and From Here to Eternity, among many more. Throughout his acting career, Montgomery received four Academy Award nominations, three for Best Actor and one for Best Supporting Actor. Since Montgomery’s death in July 1966, many biographies have been made about the legend which focused on his “struggle” with being gay. Through their new film, Making Montgomery Clift, Demmon and Clift, who is Montgomery’s nephew, set out to put a stop to the negative stigma surrounding Montgomery, by telling his story in the way that it deserved.
In a uInterview exclusive, Demmon and Clift gave us a scoop on the making of the 88-minute film which was screened at the 2018 Los Angeles Film Festival and NewFest in New York City.
Robert revealed he had noticed a difference between how the public saw Montgomery and what he heard at home. “Growing up I was always very aware of what I heard about Montgomery Clift as a person kind of the public, it was very different than what I heard at home,” Clift told uInterview. “I couldn’t quite put my finger on what that difference was or why it was so different, I just knew it was different and there was also a lot of pain involved. People felt like the way that Monty was represented was something that they disagreed with but also created a persona that they didn’t recognize.”
“So the film is very much about trying to figure out exactly what the difference is about and what exactly about that persona caused people pain. And then in terms of how he was represented I think what we came to find out was that oftentimes there’s this persona of Montgomery Clift prior to this film is that he was someone that was closeted and had inner demons. Oftentimes people use the expression ‘inner demons’ when talking about sexuality, that he frequented dangerous gay bars,” he continued. “As a 12 or 13-year-old I didn’t necessarily understand it, but after a number of years and talking to family members and putting all the archival materials and the conversations with each other and with Hillary, and with family, a better understanding came to view.”
Demmon also mentioned that the most surprising thing that she discovered about Montgomery while making the film was looking at the breakdowns and the archives in chronological order and seeing that Montgomery had a “full range of human experience.”
When asked about what they wanted people to get from the film, both Demmon and Clift said they wanted people to be able to look at him with a different lens and see the real him. “I think that really if you remove that central narrative of the stereotype that is often mentioned in relation to him you can see so much more of his work and you can feel so much more of his personality. I myself didn’t appreciate some of his later films because of the mythology around everything he did after his car accident was all a downward spiral. He did some wonderful work after his car accident and so what I hope is that people are able to see who he was and to watch his performances with a different lens, they’ll be able to appreciate them,” Clift said.
What do they want audiences to get from the film? “I hope one, that people go and look at his films again, rewatch them, watch for the first time and appreciate like what his contribution was to American cinema, to acting, to world cinema actually as well,” Demmon added. “But then you know on another level too, I mean here’s a person who’s an important person in queer history and to be able to see that’s here’s a person who was not sad all the time, somebody who had joy, I mean that’s an important thing. I mean we talk so much now about representation and how much it matters for people to be able to see different experiences on screen, like here is somebody who is super important and I think we get to have him back in that spot,” she concluded.