After captivating audiences with his swoonworthy roles on “Looking” and “American Horror Story,” Russell Tovey is about to delve into the legacy of one of his lifelong heroes.
The British actor is the host of “Life Is Excellent,” a forthcoming documentary about London artist and poet David Robilliard. A trailer was unveiled Monday ahead of the film’s anticipated release this summer.
Describing Robilliard in the trailer as “one of the greatest artists you’ve probably never heard of,” Tovey says he’s on a personal mission “to make sure that David’s words, his art and his story are never forgotten.”
“As a 40-year-old queer man I feel the responsibility to make sure that this stuff that matters to me and my kind, actually matters to everyone,” he added in an email.
Raised in Guernsey, United Kingdom, Robilliard rose to prominence in the early 1980s and is best remembered for pairing tender and sometimes tragic verses with spare, line-drawn portraits on large canvases.
Watch the trailer for “Life Is Excellent” below.
Sadly, Robilliard did not get to see his work celebrated on a global scale during his lifetime. He died in 1988 at age 36, about a year after he was diagnosed as HIV-positive.
“Life Is Excellent” is the first in a series of three LGBTQ-inclusive projects set for release this year that will be guest-curated by Tovey on behalf of WePresent, the arts platform of WeTransfer. WePresent also commissioned Riz Ahmed’s short film “The Long Goodbye,” which won an Oscar last year.
Tovey’s appointment follows that of Solange Knowles and Marina Abramović, who partnered with WePresent on similar campaigns in the past. Though he’s best known for his work in film and on stage, the actor is also a visual arts aficionado and co-host of “Talk Art,” a global culture podcast.
“I really care about stuff. To others, this stuff may just be stuff, but to me this stuff is everything,” Tovey wrote Monday in an editor’s letter that appeared on WePresent’s website. “For me, this is art. Be it filmed, photographed, molded or hand-built, drawn or painted, recorded or reappropriated, art in all of its forms and guises, is my world.”