Udo Kier’s role of a lifetime in new gay drama Swan Song

Udo Kier Swan Song
Udo Kier in Swan Song (2021)

The comedic and poignant gay drama Swan Song starring Udo Kier opens in Brisbane this month.

After a 50-year film career, Udo Kier has taken the lead in the role of a lifetime. For the 76-year-old, the buzz around Swan Song follows lead and support roles in over 220 movies.

Udo Kier plays Mr Pat, formerly an iconic hairdresser in a small midwestern American town.

A request to style a former client’s hair for her funeral prompts his escape from the grim retirement home where he now lives.

Director Todd Stephens based the lead character on a real-life person from his childhood.

“The real Mr Pat was this really flamboyant, loud and proud man. I would see [him] walking around downtown,” he said.

“He would walk around in like, a, velvet fedora, smoking a long brown cigarette in these fabulous, like, pantsuits. And he was kind of genderfluid, long before that was a term.”

Stephens described Swan Song as a love letter to the rapidly disappearing gay culture of America.

He dedicated the film “to all the forgotten flaming florists and hairdressers who built the community and blazed the trail for the rights many of us cling to today.”

Udo Kier’s incredible 50-year film career

Known for his brooding character roles, Udo Kier lived his entire life as an openly gay man.

He enjoyed a teenage fling with legendary German filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder after meeting him in a bar as a 16-year-old. Fassbinder was 15.

Udo Kier later acted in Fassbinders’ Lili Marlene and Berlin Alexanderplatz.

However, his earliest success came from the films Flesh for Frankenstein and Blood for Dracula. He got the roles after meeting director Paul Morrissey during a plane flight.

With Warhol’s name tacked onto the films, tons of gore, splatterings of nudity, not to mention the hotness of Joe Dallesandro, the films became cult favourites.

Kier went on to star in numerous other cult favourites including Suspiria and My Own Private Idaho.

Swan Song opens in Australian cinemas on December 26.

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