Bruce LaBruce’s next film will be Gerontophilia, a love story of sorts — the director describes it as a “reverse Lolita” — between an eighty-one year old man and an eighteen-year-old boy. The old man, Mr. Peabody, lost the love of his life, Smitty, when they were both in their twenties in a swimming accident. Alone for most of his life, and finally abandoned in an assisted living facility, the old man succumbs to the cruelty of the institution where he is confined, overmedicated with psychotropic drugs and sometimes even tied down with restraints. Enter Lake, the eighteen-year-old, who has started a new job as an orderly at the facility, and who nurses a chronic case of gerontophilia — a sexual attraction to very old people.
So far, so Harold and Maude, except that in Gerontophilia, Mr. Peabody’s age is anything but an accidental presence in the movie’s unexpected love affair. Bruce LaBruce says that “this is the challenge of the movie: to make Lake’s sexual “affliction” seem, if not normal, then at least understandable and sympathetic”.
Bruce LaBruce chatted further about gerontophilia and Gerontophilia via email this morning, and sent over some lovely new images of the cast, Pier-Gabriel Lajoie as Lake and Walter Borden as Mr. Peabody.
MARK ADNUM: I’ve never really thought about the sexuality of the very elderly. I guess I’ve gone along with the sense that after a certain age, everything sexual just stops. But does it?
BRUCE LABRUCE: I think a lot of people believe or want to believe that sexual desire just disappears after a certain age, but when I was doing research while writing the script for Gerontophilia I discovered that this is definitely not always the case. I read accounts of aassisted living facilities for the elderlies putting locks on the doors of the women to discourage sexual activity, for example! And other disturbing stories, like administering certain drugs to the elderly in these facilities to diminish the sex drive. There has also been an increase in rates of HIV transmission in these places. So it’s really a hot topic! In my film, some of the elders are pretty horny.
MA: And what about the younger character – does he struggle with his fetish? What does his girlfriend think?
BLAB: The younger lead character, Lake, does struggle a bit with his fetish. He’s in a bit of denial about it at first, and then when he confesses about it to his girlfriend, Desiree, it throws his life into turmoil. Desiree ends up having a very interesting reaction to it, however! For me it’s interesting that Lake’s fetish takes precedence over even gender – because he gets a job in an all-male assisted living facility, that’s where he’s able to explore the fetish even though he has a girlfriend and isn’t otherwise gay-identified.
MA: Will there be explicit young-old sex in Gerontophilia?
BLAB: There is no explicit sex in Gerontophilia. It’s really more of a pervy rom-com!
Bruce LaBruce reclining:
Publicity Stills by Bruce LaBruce. Pier-Gabriel Lajoie as Lake and Walter Borden as Mr. Peabody in
Further reading: Bruce LaBruce reflects on the death of Erik Rhodes