Essential Film Stars, Steve Buscemi

One of the most important films in early gay cinema, Parting Glances offers a realistic view of the height of the AIDS crisis in mid-1980’s America.  Director Bill Sherwood directed the film before he died of complications due to AIDS, leaving this film as his only completed project.  The story revolves around a couple named Robert and Michael, who are attending a going away party for Robert before he leaves for a two-year work assignment in Africa.  Told over a 24-hour period, the story deals honestly with the gay lifestyle, presenting very real, genuine dialogue in many scenes.  Steve Buscemi plays the role of Nick, Micheal’s ex-boyfriend.  Nick is suffering from AIDS, so Michael cares for him and looks after him.  In a few heartfelt moments, Nick looks fondly on the years prior to the AIDS outbreak, remembering how free and joyful life used to be.

Steve Buscemi

A native New Yorker, Steve Buscemi was born to a Sicilian father and Irish mother and raised with his three brothers as a Roman Catholic in Brooklyn.  In high school, Buscemi participated on the wrestling team and in the school’s drama troupe, getting his first taste of acting as a young teenager.  Upon graduating, he attended Nassau Community College briefly, before dropping out to enroll in the Lee Strasberg Institute.

By the early 1980’s Buscemi was living in Manhattan and working as a firefighter in New York’s Little Italy.  A staunch supporter of the FDNY, Buscemi returned to his old firehouse the day after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, volunteering for 12-hour shifts and helping to dig through rubble to find the bodies of lost firefighters.

As an actor, Buscemi got his start in the mid-1980’s.  An instant success, Buscemi was quickly cast as a character actor, often taking on roles that are neurotic, paranoid, or sometimes sadistic.  The actor has worked with many famous directors, including Quentin Tarantino, Tim Burton, Jerry Bruckheimer, and Robert Rodriguez.
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Steve Buscemi experienced early success as an actor when he took on the role of Nick in the gay cinema piece, Parting Glances.  The film received much critical acclaim, and positioned Buscemi to land roles in other projects throughout the 1980’s, including Kiss daddy Goodnight, Heart, Call Me, and Bloodhounds of Broadway. 

In 1992, Quentin Tarantino cast Buscemi in what would become one of his most popular roles, that of Mr. Pink in Reservoir Dogs.  The decade saw Buscemi’s fame begin to grow, with films such as Rising Sun, The Hudsucker Proxy, Airheads, Fargo, Con Air, and the cult classic, The Big Lebowski.  The actor went on to star in Monsters, Inc, Big Fish, The Island, Youth in Revolt, Grown Ups, and Hotel Transylvania.

In television, Buscemi has had equal success, directed and acting in popular series such as The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire.

Alexander Ryll
Launched in June 2014, Gay Essential is the world’s largest gay themed film blog promoting new and rare features. I am helped by some amazing writers and we also cover film festivals in the UK and USA. We are 100% independent, without advertising or funding by film distributors. Help to keep Gay Essential independent by purchasing our merchandise GET (Gay Essential Tees)
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Alexander Ryll
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