Gay actors who play straight roles
At a recent TV critic’s meeting, Tony award winning actor Nathan Lane shared his opinion regarding gay actors who play straight roles. He’s of the belief that casting directors should choose “who’s right for the part and most talented.” In the same interview, Lane also stated that “gay actors shouldn’t have a monopoly on gay roles.”
Considering that we are no longer living in the 1950’s, shouldn’t this go without saying? It certainly seems like it. However, this is still not always the case. Part of the problem seems to be with the fact that a substantial number of viewers have a very difficult time “believing in” a straight character who isn’t straight away from the camera.
It’s this same unforgiving attitude that causes many actors, regardless of sexual orientation, to keep their private lives as private as humanly possible.
That being said, more and more gay actors are taking on straight roles without a second thought. It’s just part of their job, the way they make a living and put bread on the table.
Matt Bomer, probably best known for the straight character he plays on the TV show “White Collar” and the movie “Magic Mike,” has a huge following. It is rumored that hoards of women shed a silent tear when Matt came out, but that didn’t alter their opinions or admiration of him, as the heterosexual character he played. At the time of this writing, they’re still drooling over him.
You may remember the controversy over the fact that Bomer was originally considered for the role of Christian Grey in the movie “50 Shades of Grey.” The part was ultimately given to someone else, supposedly because Matt wasn’t “straight” enough.
The general consensus, at the time, was that it was the movie’s loss. Thousands of the actor’s fans whole-heartedly agreed. They even started a petition to give him the role they thought he’d be perfect for. Fortunately, he has since moved on to better things.
Jodie Foster came out in 2013. Whether or not Hollywood was aware of her sexual orientation, prior to that, will most likely remain a mystery. But, that didn’t stop Foster from taking on more straight roles that anyone can easily count.
The popular 2007 movie “Juno” starred actress Ellen Page, who won a number of awards for playing pregnant teenager Juno MacGuff. Page; she came out in 2014 at an event for Human Rights, has several other straight roles to credit.
Who can forget Rock Hudson? He played many heterosexual characters throughout his successful career. He was often paired with Doris Day, in blockbuster movies that included “Send Me No Flowers” and “Pillow Talk.” Countless women swooned over him, for decades, even though it was well-known throughout Hollywood that Hudson preferred men.
Let’s face it, great actors achieve fame because they can convincingly portrait the lives of others. The moral of the story goes back to Lane’s sentiment: Roles should be given to those who are right for the part and most talented. Period.