The Closet

Background Information

Non-Hero Pignon

This is what the director of the movie, Francis Verber, had to say about non-heros like Pignon:

“It’s the kind of character that touches me because I like people lost in the crowd. I like people who have nothing special about them. It seems that they started life in a totally grey crib and that everything in their life continued to be grey.  They have no loudspeaker to carry their voice. There seems to be nothing attractive about them, but still they manage to survive. They are touching precisely because their fight is an obscure fight. I like those little people because, when the light falls upon them, when they switch to the “sunny side of the street”,  then they become great.”

Interview with indieWire (June 27, 2001)

Why did you choose to write and direct a film about a man pretending to be gay?

Veber: I'm not using "gay" to try to be either funnier or to be more commercial. It's not a choice. Sometimes you have a premise that arrives in your mind, and you say, "Oh, my God! This is interesting." Actually in 'The Closet," I was thinking that being politically correct has started to change a little bit. But not as much as I say in the film.

I discovered here that it's a very serious issue. I didn't know that in 38 states in America you can be fired if you are gay or lesbian. “

Straight people who might be bigoted can be transformed by your work. Your films have the bigots laughing with the gays as opposed to at the gays.

Veber: I love to hear that. I'll tell you something. "La cage aux folles" gave me a very big lesson. It was 20 years ago, and I discovered that the secret of the success of "La cage aux folles" was that it was a story coming from the heart. Okay, you have this old gay couple with a son. But the fact they decided to look "straight" for one evening just for their son's girlfriend's family was out of love. This was the lesson I learned: you can use gays or straights clowning if you want, but there has to be emotion somewhere, otherwise you don't reach the audience. “


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