Russell Tovey: New Film Celebrates Artist

Paul Wright August 11, 2020

Baby Lies Truthfully is a new short film featuring Russell Tovey about the life of the artist David Robillard. Robillard was a provocative painter, poet and writer whose work was championed by Gilbert and George. A fresh talent, his life was cut short at 36 by HIV and AIDS in 1987, a time before effective medication. Speaking to Loverboy magazine, director Joe Ingham said “Baby Lies Truthfully was a collection of poems which was published posthumously in 1990. David only had a couple of volumes published whilst he was alive, much more of his work was published after his death in 1988.

Gilbert and George were instrumental in getting his work out and they have been so kind and generous with this project, the photo used in the film’s artwork is by them. Baby Lies Truthfully contains poems which were written just before and after his diagnosis in 1987. The poems still deal with earlier subjects including going out, drinking, sex but, increasingly, the poems took on additional dimensions. They began to exhibit an existential quality with universal topics such as purpose, loneliness and, inevitably, death being explored.”

Russell Tovey uses his boy-next-door vocal talent to narrate the film`s` journey from swagger to reflection. Tonally the film has been likened to the works of Derek Jarman and Andy Warhol. Some of the expressive film is NSFW.


Russell Tovey first came to prominence in Alan Bennett`s History Boys, both the stage and film versions. In 2017 he performed at the National Theatre in London in Angels in America with Andrew Garfield and Nathan Lane. He had a significant role in Russell T Davies Years and Years for the BBC. Most recently he was on screen as a very personal trainer in the ITV drama Flesh and Blood. He is next due on screen in The Sister, a psychological drama for ITV, in which Russell plays Nathan.