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Hollywood studios accused of ‘shutting out’ gay actors

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  1. Why is this being reported as news?

    Ramin Setoodeh was loudly condemned for his poisonously homophobic article in April where he basically said that gay actors should stay closeted as they are not capable of playing straight roles.

    This latest article by him is nothing more than a pathetic attempt to backtrack (I can’t imagine he enjoyed the sheer revulsion and contempt he experienced as a result of his bigotry). This latest article is nothing more than a self-serving attempt to blame Hollywood for lack of opportunity for gay actors.

    However he still believes that gay actors are not capable of playing straiight roles.

    He’s a self-hating, discriminatory idiot.

  2. In the words of Aaron Sorkin: ‘An actor, no matter which sex they’re attracted to, can’t “play” gay or “play” straight.’
    The term ‘playing gay’ is a ridiculous one and, like Sorkin says, is like saying an actor is playing Catholic. It’s not something you can act.

    I wouldn’t say straight actors are taking the work away from gay actors when they play a character who is gay, rather, unfortunately gay actors are not given the same opportunity to play characters who are straight, particularly romantic leads. Gay actors have real difficulty landing roles like that which is a shame and beyond a joke, really.

    But my most pressing question is this: do people really still listen to Rupert Everett? Yes, homophobia is a problem but it’s difficult not to think that he’s just bitter about not really having the potential to make it as a great actor. Just my opinion, obviously, but I’m sick of him.

  3. Of course, the playing field is uneven when it comes to gay actors playing a gay role or straight role. The bottom line in Hollywood is box office revenues. It seems to think that having an openly gay actor play a straight role would diminish revenues since its mostly women who go to see films, movies where the leading man is hot and handsome. Superficial yes, but that’s the reality.

    I don’t think Rupert Everett is bitter at all, he’s merely having the courage and the guts to call out homophobia in the industry. How many of us would risk our careers as he has done? If more people had his courage, it will make it better for the younger up and coming gay actors to come out.

  4. A commentator who observes that gay actors can’t convincingly take on straight roles sounds like part of the problem he’s now complaining of.

  5. Straight actors can play straight roles. Straight actors can play (usually stereotypical gay roles). Gay actors can play straight roles. Gay actors cannot play gay roles. But gay actors playing straight in real life can.
    Look at the media.
    The spine of all stories is: white, middle class American males trying to meet the American dream.
    Everything stems from that. If you have two guys, or women, falling in love with each other in a story, studio bosses will always say, ‘What’s the point?’
    Otherwise make one male one female and tell the same story. If you don’t then the story of their sexuality must be the story. If not hen all snaps back to white middle class American…
    And that’s the problem. Even if two guys, or women, and their sexuality isn’t the pivot of the story it’s seen as a dead duck.
    Even Brokeback Mountain was seen as a great love story, if only one could be a female. It was a very hard sell. It almost never got made.
    And yes, the whole story was about the characters’ sexuality.
    So, what can be done.
    Nothing, basically, unless we make our own, and speak of ourselves instead. Why should the straight audience care otherwise? And if anyone thinks of producing something that entails a storyline that revolves around sexuality I won’t be watching either.
    Get beyond that.Leave it to documentaries and politics. Not everyone goes around under a a dark cloud thinking how much the world is against us, how much we are seen as the worst thing since Hitler. Most of us worry about the gas bill, or how that slob of the other half leaves his drawers on the floor for you to pick up, or how the washing machine doesn’t work today, the holiday that cost a fortune and the credit card bills. Never mind facing the ‘in-laws.’
    That’s what counts.
    I don’t care if he works as a spy, on the rigs, is the bingo caller, or on the bloody dole.
    But that’s not the kind of ordinary that Hollywood wants. Homosexuality has to be the premiss of the story or it doesn’t get made.
    No one is interested in gay anything being just like anyone else.
    We have to talk to ourselves, make programmes about ourselves, invest in media that doesn’t go on about politics and how bloody awful it is to be gay.
    Anyone any idea how much it would cost to launch a channel on cable?
    I’m all ears.
    Let’s stop fighting against everyone and giving the opposition its reason for being, ignore them and start producing what we want to see for ourselves.
    That’s the way forward.
    The only way.


  6. Mike has a point. Problem is that so many people in showbiz are sellouts to the other side.

  7. Independent film studios have been making gay films for the last 30-40 years…and I don’t mean porn…

    …and Rupert Everett did an excellent job of narrating Paragraph 175.

  8. I don’t think the issue here is the depiction of gay characters – Hollywood is an entertainment industry and will of course go for the lowest common denominator if it generates the most revenue.

    Rather, I think it’s about the curious double standard that praises a straight actor for the ‘courage’ of playing a gay role, but refuses to believe an actor known to be gay can play a straight role (in the world of film though not theatre). Stupidity like this may well change in time, but it needs to be challenged over and over again.

  9. Good points there, Mike. I also think that many actots starting out initially don’t mention their sexuality just to be safe and by the time they feel that they might be able to, then they have huge numbers of fans of the opposite sex so they/their agents/the studio throw up their hands in horror at the mention of being gay.

    That’s why so many gay leading man type actors are involved in playing games to show how straight they are. The longer this goes on, the more difficult it is to say “No, wait a minute, that was all crap – I’m actually gay”.

    The reason they don’t just come out in the first place? They’re convinced they won’t make it if they do, and even if they question that, then there are people all around them to warn them of the ‘dreadful price’ they’ll pay career-wise if they say they’re gay.

    (and I had a number of particular actors in mind when I wrote that :D)

  10. Tom, John and Ricard disagree.

  11. I don’t think this is totally fair on the studios. Art imitates life and all that. TV and film are products that have to be sold, like anything else. The TV companies won’t use gay actors, because their sponsors and advertisers won’t support them, and the sponsors won’t do it because the people will not buy their product.

    This all trickles down to the simple fact that the majority of Americans still will not accept homosexuality. They grudgingly finally tolerated them in the forces, but they sure as hell don’t want us in their living rooms, unless they are stereotypical faffy queens like Will & Grace etc.

  12. I second David’s sentiments.
    Rabid Ramin’s latest attempt to put a pretty spin on his internalized homophobia is rather pathetic – and Roops still still not getting work because he’s a pain in the ass on set. Narration really is his forte – it requires only him, a microphone, and minimal sound and tech crew.

  13. Clark Downes 21 Jun 2011, 3:07pm

    Strange the first 50 years of Hollywood were made of gays playing straights…. If its true Hollywood needs to take a step back and remember its key founders – because it wasn’t straight men!

  14. I wholeheartedly agree, Marlow. You’re playing a person, not a sexuality. Perhaps the real question is whether gay roles in Hollywood (with a few exceptions) are playing to type too much- not every gay man is a borderline drag queen and not every gay woman is a freakin lumberjack. Maybe we just need a little more diverse representation.
    And Setoodeh’s article literally does not make sense to me. Just like the last one. This guy has no idea what he’s on about.

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