Till recent years, Tom of Finland's iconoclastic sketches of masculine, uniformed men in erotic poses were hardly known outsidemore
Till recent years, Tom of Finland's iconoclastic sketches of masculine, uniformed men in erotic poses were hardly known outside of leather gay circles. Even less was known about the Finnish artist behind the made-up moniker, Touko Laaksonen. But 26 years after Laaksonen died from emphysema, he's finally getting his due as an artist, fashion icon, and freedom fighter, with award-winning filmmaker Dome Karukoski's biopic "Tom of Finland." Playing Laaksonen in Finland's nomination for Best Foreign Language Film at the 90th Academy Awards, in 2018, should raise Finnish actor Pekka Strang's profile too.
But Strang, who acted in the Finnish feature "Kites Over Helsinki" opposite Emmy-winning actor Alexander Skarsgård, back in 2001, says Hollywood stardom is not what he's after. He'd rather that "Tom of Finland" -- already out in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco and soon to be released in Chicago, Boston, and Washington, D.C. -- educate audiences about Laaksonen, instead.
"I'm waiting for the call, that some studio boss one day has a 'Hangover Sunday' and watches three movies and the second will be "Tom of Finland," and then he's gonna realize that this guy, I really need him for my next movie," Strang joked in a recent interview with Download.com. "No, doing a movie about this icon, who grew up in a small village and changed the world, was an honor. But there's a big difference between becoming aware of "Tom of Finland" and becoming aware of the artist and his life. I feel that it's really important that he's getting the recognition now that he didn't get when he lived. I hope there will be one day that I get two hours with him and can say, 'Look, the world really knows who you are.'"
Getting the word out to the widest audience is important to Strang, so it's no surprise that the actor prefers to broadcast messages over Twitter rather than Facebook, and names it one of his top three apps. Read on for the rest of his favorites.
I use Twitter, because I have many great thoughts that I think the world should know about. Also, the day of the [2011 Norway Attacks, when right-wing terrorist Anders Behring Breivik killed 85 people on the tiny Utoeya island], it was one day before my birthday, on the 22nd of July, and on Twitter there were these messages, asking "Do you have a boat? Can you come and save me? We're young people trying to get away from the island." My wife and I had a summer cottage there, and I was reading that 15-, 16-, and 17-year-old people were trying to get help and they didn't. That's when I felt that being part of the Twitter world is a good thing.
If you remember, the [Arab Spring] was also on Twitter. So I'm an old-school Twitter guy, and I can sometimes get answers, even from my president [Sauli Niinistö]. I can ask anybody in the world anything, because we don't have to be friends first. I had a few questions out there to people in power and got a few answers. And some of my best friends today I met through Twitter.
It's the most common messaging app. It's a good way to keep in touch with the family. My kids are on WhatsApp, so I think it's fair enough that I am, too.