Panel to discuss 'The Kinsey Legacy: Sex, Science and Film' for 10th anniversary of 'Kinsey' movie

  • Nov. 10, 2014


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University and The Kinsey Institute will present two public events Nov. 13 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the film "Kinsey." A special screening of the film and a discussion will take place at IU Cinema.

"The Kinsey Legacy: Sex, Science and Film" will begin at 3 p.m. Nov. 13 with a short documentary clip on the making of "Kinsey." Afterward, a panel will address the film and the larger significance of The Kinsey Institute, past, present and future. The panel will consist of Julia Heiman, professor of psychological and brain sciences and former director of The Kinsey Institute; Judith Allen, professor of history and Kinsey Institute senior research fellow; and Jennifer Bass, director of communications at The Kinsey Institute.

"Kinsey," which stars Liam Neeson as Alfred Kinsey, will be shown at 7 p.m. Nov. 13 in IU Cinema. A brief question-and-answer session will follow. The screening is free but tickets are required, with a limit of four per person.

In 2003, writer and director Bill Condon, Neeson and several others involved with the film project came to Bloomington. They walked around the campus, met people who knew Kinsey in the 1950s and spent a day with The Kinsey Institute's archival collections. The filming, however, was done at Fordham University in New York and other locations in the area.

"We had a few magical days when Bill Condon, Liam Neeson, the set designer Richard Sherman and the producer Gail Mutrux came to visit," Bass said.

Bass recalled Neeson's generosity in meeting the staff of The Kinsey Institute, taking pictures and greeting everyone with genuine interest.

"Liam was so warm and respectful," she said. "He really understood our concerns about the film, how it would be received and how Dr. Kinsey would be portrayed. I don’t think it was just his acting skills, but he was quite reassuring."

The Kinsey Institute did not receive any profits from the film, but Bass said the filmmakers stated a deep respect for the institute's work and were very supportive in helping call attention to its mission. Condon received the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Film Prize in Science and Technology, and he donated the award to the institute at the film premiere in Bloomington.

Actors and acclaim

In the film, Kinsey's research colleagues are played by Chris O'Donnell as Wardell Pomeroy, Peter Sarsgaard as Clyde Martin and Timothy Hutton as Paul Gebhard. Laura Linney plays Kinsey's wife, Clara McMillen, and Oliver Platt fills the role of IU President Herman B Wells.

On Nov. 13, 2004, Linney introduced "Kinsey" at its Midwest premiere in Bloomington. Gebhard attended the film gala and was pleased with Hutton's portrayal. ("He even got the blue shirt right!") Members of Kinsey’s family also attended the opening.

"Kinsey" went on to receive a Golden Globe nomination for best motion picture drama, with Neeson and Linney nominated for their performances. Linney also was nominated for an Academy Award.

At the time of the film's release, New York Times reviewer A.O. Scott said, "I can't think of another movie that has dealt with sex so knowledgeably and, at the same time, made the pursuit of knowledge seem so sexy."

Scott also praised Neeson's "flawless" performance and writer-director Condon's ability to turn Kinsey's "complicated and controversial career into a grand intellectual drama."

Further details

The "Kinsey" screening and discussion will be presented free of charge, thanks to a 2014-15 Science on Screen grant awarded to IU Cinema. The Science on Screen program pairs feature films with appearances by science experts, thanks to a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and Coolidge Corner Theatre.

Both the panel discussion and the question-and-answer session will be taped. Highlights will be made available through The Kinsey Institute and IU Cinema websites.

Tickets for IU Cinema films can be obtained at the IU Auditorium box office from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday; at the cinema one hour before any screening; or by phone at 812-855-1103 for a $10 service fee per order

Related Links

Alfred Kinsey

Alfred Kinsey | Photo by The Kinsey Institute

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Liam Neeson

Liam Neeson stars as Alfred Kinsey in the film "Kinsey." | Photo by 20th Century Fox/Zoetrope/The Kobal Collection

Print-Quality Photo

Liam Neeson

Liam Neeson stars as professor and researcher Alfred Kinsey in the film "Kinsey." | Photo by 20th Century Fox/Zoetrope/The Kobal Collection

Print-Quality Photo

Media Contacts

Jennifer  Bass

Communications Director, The Kinsey Institute

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