'Tis the season for tear-jerking movies. While the biggest hits of the holiday (and Oscar) season go for broke when it comes to grabbing the audience's emotions, there are very few that manage to pull at the heartstrings of the average moviegoer with subtlety and nuance. Director Travis Fine and actor Alan Cumming fully admit that their new film Any Day Now (which opens today) reads, at least on paper, as the kind of emotionally manipulative film that only serves to induce sobs. The film, based on a true story, focuses on a gay couple, Rudy and Paul (played by Cumming and Garret Dillahunt, respectively), who attempt to retain custody of their foster child, a young boy with Down syndrome who has been neglected by his drug addicted mother. It’s heavy stuff, for sure, but it’s hardly sensational.
Inspired by gritty character-driven dramas of the ’70s, Any Day Now invests the majority of its running time on its two leads, not only examining the familiar rushed nature of their courtship, but also their mutual desire to protect and love the son they have come to know. Working from a script originally written decades ago, Fine not only examines the social conditions of the ’70s but brings light to an issue that is still politically relevant today. Cumming, who delivers the performance of his career, plays Rudy in a refreshing manner not typically seen on film: at times he is a flamboyant drag queen, at others a tough, streetwise man with a gruff exterior.
I sat down with Fine and Cumming to discuss their film, how they managed to keep the emotional content in balance, and what they hope the audience will see in the coupling of its two leading men.