Academy Award winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black is telling his incredibly moving life story in an all-new documentary film Mama’s Boy. Directed by Laurent Bouzereau, the HBO film explores Black’s early life, his journey to self-acceptance, and his relationship with his mother who went on to become the inspiration behind his work as an activist for the LGBTQ community.
GLAAD’s Anthony Allen Ramos was joined by Black and Bouzereau to talk about Mama’s Boy.
Black explains that he’s finally starting to get back to his old self after suffering from a “debilitating” head injury. “It’s a slow process, I’m feeling a little better every week.” The premiere of Mama’s Boy at New Fest on October 13th, marked Black’s first public appearance since revealing what had happened to him publicly on Instagram.
10 years after winning an Oscar for Milk, Black published a memoir called Mama’s Boy: A Story from our Americas. After resonating so deeply with the book Bouzereau reached out to Black about bringing his story to the screen. “I had a completely different background, a different decade, a different upbringing all together, but I immediately related to it. It spoke to me in such a deep, profound way,” Bouzereau says about the memoir. “I wanted to tell a story that spoke to me as a gay man and could make a difference.”
Black reveals that he was “incredibly touched and flattered” when Bouzereau reached out. He says that he gave Bouzereau full creative control over the film and told him that “I trust you and I think it needs your objectivity in that way.” Looking back, he says, “I feel like that trust was incredibly well placed.”
Black discusses how his mom was an inspiration to him and hopefully now to the world. His mother, who suffered from Polio, was “paralyzed from the chest down, abandoned by her husband with a 2-year-old, a 6-year-old, and a 10-year-old, never had a job, had never driven a car, had been told she could never have kids, but she conquered all of that.” He goes on to say that “I grew up with everything in the perspective of, you gotta not let the tough stuff get you down.”
Bouzereau explains that “I think Lance’s story is so inspiring and so relatable on so many levels and it’s fascinating to me that there is a little piece of Lance that is a straight mirror into everyone… there is at least one piece of him that speaks for you.”
He knows that his mother would be proud to have her message live on; “to share space with people you disagree with.” Black says, “We’re not doing that in the world right now. Share space with people you disagree with. Start with your family because you can’t let it fall apart. Maybe that will help rebuild community and country because you’re going to figure out that you actually do have more in common than your political disagreements.”
“It’s very hard, it takes tremendous courage and I challenge our queer family to start doing that, reach back out to people you know disagree with you and just share space, share story.” Black states. “Share the stories, that’s how hearts are shifted, that’s how minds are changed. I think my mom would be so proud that she instilled that in me and how Laurent’s helping me share that with the world.”
Also featured in the film is Black’s husband, Olympic diver Tom Daley. The two have been married since 2017 and have a son together named Robert Ray.
Watch the film to find out more about Dustin Lance Black’s story of resilience. Mama’s Boy is available now on HBO and HBO Max.