News - April 1996

GLAAD applauds "The Birdcage"

LOS ANGELES, CA -- The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) commends United Artists for its film "The Birdcage." The film, based on the French play "La Cage Aux Folles," is directed by Mike Nichols and stars Robin Williams, Nathan Lane, Gene Hackman and Dianne Wiest. The story revolves around Armand (Williams) and Albert (Lane) a gay couple from South Beach, Florida, who have to drastically alter their lives to impress the ultra-conservative family of their son's fiancee.

The flamboyant Albert, though attempting to disguise himself throughout the film, finds altering his demeanor difficult. "There is a fine line between having an offensive stereotypical character and one that is represented fairly," says Tamra King, GLAAD's Entertainment Media Director, "We have seen so many films with very one-dimensional stereotypical characters. Their purpose has been to play the 'straight man' to rounds of jokes. In 'The Birdcage' we go beyond the stereotypes to see the characters' depth and humanity."

As the story progresses, an evening with the two families quickly becomes a nightmare as Armand, Albert and their son, Val, begin to realize how difficult it is to masquerade their lives. "The film celebrates differences," continues King, "and points out the outrageousness of hiding those differences."

"Armand and Albert don't live in a separate world," comments "The Birdcage" star Robin Williams, "They're a couple and they have the same dynamics as any couple. It may not go with what was initially thought of as a nuclear family, but there are a lot of families like this, and they all share the same kinds of problems trying to get through life."

GLAAD is a national organization that promotes fair, accurate and inclusive representation of individuals and events in the media as a means of challenging discrimination based on sexual orientation or identity.

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