Bookworms and brainy bisexuals everywhere were saddened yesterday when it was announced writer Gore Vidal had passed away at age 86.
His third novel, The City and the Pillar, was published in 1948 and outraged conservatives due to its depiction of a same-sex relationship.
Vidal eventually branched out to screenwriting, penning Suddenly Last Summer and Is Paris Burning?
His uncredited work on the script for Ben Hur would later generate controversy when Vidal analyzed the homoerotic subtext of his writing in the documentary The Celluloid Closet.
Another Vidal project that will live on in infamy is the semi-pornographic 1979 film Caligula. Co-financed by Penthouse founder Bob Guccione, Caligula detailed the fall of the Roman emperor and featured A-list actors along with unsimulated sex. After the film was rewritten numerous times and more sex scenes were added, Vidal and director Tinto Brass publicly disowned the final product.
In 2005, Vidal was approached by artist Francesco Vezzoli to take part in a faux trailer for a non-existent remake of Caligula. Vidal agreed and delivers the introduction to the fake film. The trailer stars Courtney Love as Caligula, Milla Jovovich, Benicio Del Toro and the star of the original, Helen Mirren. Trailer for a Remake of Gore Vidal’s Caligula is engagingly absurd, but it was a hit and had a screening at New York City’s Whitney Museum in 2006. The trailer serves as a teaser for what could have been had Vidal’s original script been produced unedited.
For more on this trailblazer, Read Matthew Hays’ obituary and his 2011 interview with Vidal.