Tom of Finland artwork was ‘the emblem of a generation of gay men and fanned the flames of a revolution in the USA’
Directed by Dome Karukoski, the film tells the story of Touko Laaksonen, the man behind the world famous pseudonym, Tom of Finland.
Unknown to many, Laaksonen was actually a decorated army officer who fought for his country during the second world war.
The biopic focuses on his life after the harrowing wartime experience. Laaksonen returns to Helsinki as a war hero, but faces persecution for his sexuality, as well as the pressure to get married to a woman.
He then finds refuge and new freedom in his drawings that are mostly homoerotic depiction of muscular men.
After his first drawings get published, the artist soon finds himself gathering a huge following from all corners of the world.
‘This is the story of a man ahead of his time, bravely standing up against a world virulently against his right to be who he was – a homosexual man with homosexual fantasies,’ described Karukoski, according to Variety. ‘The story shows how literally one person can create change in the world, even with something as simple as an artist’s tools.’
Producers of the film aim to show how the Tom of Finland artwork became ‘the emblem of a generation of gay men and fanned the flames of a revolution in the USA.’
‘It’s impossible to overstate the impact Tom’s work has had on the image and self-image of gay men all over the world,’ producer Aleksi Bardy said in a statement. ‘He created the archetypes that now form an integral part of the iconography of popular culture, both gay and straight.’
Laaksonen passed away in 1991 at age 71. In the film, he’s played by 39-year-old Finnish actor Pekka Strang, who calls it ‘the role of a lifetime.’
‘I thought it was an important story to tell, and important for the people of Finland,’ Strang said.
Tom of Finland is expected to hit theaters in February 2017.
Watch the teaser here: