The Butch Factor

I just recently worked with Dean Fronk, a Casting Director for many blockbuster films that include Rob Zombie’s House of 1,000 Corpses & Children of the Corn. His workshop has allowed me to jump into these thriller villain type roles that allow my acting to showcase for upcoming projects. Since then, it’s really got me thinking about gay actors and Hollywood. I mean, we can look back at history and see evidence of Hollywood ‘closeting’ actors such as Brock Hudson & Richard Chamberlain. Do openly gay actors have a reason to be scared these days? Nah… I don’t think so. But then again… we are judged on everything, so it just seems like naturally there will be people out there who will judge you… especially if you are a naturally flamboyant person. It just seems ridiculous in this day and age especially when we have people like Portia De Rossi and Neil Patrick Harris. They are at the top of the A list and are openly gay. Sometimes, it just seems like the straight actor playing the gay man is more accepted then when a gay actor portrays a straight man….thank you, Jake Gyllenhaal. I can’t help but think about all the negative media and social talk about Sean Hayes in Promises Promises. It really didn’t help that he “came out” right before it. I think playing “Jack” in Will & Grace answered everyone’s question. That being said, Sean Hayes is a fantastic actor and is “believable.” In Dean’s workshops I’ve been played a frat boy who date rapes, a college breakup with my first girlfriend, and a killer. As an actor, you have to be in the moment and connect with the other person. Let all the walls down. I think that’s when real emotions can easily be read through dialogue and body language and then it’s believable. You almost have to be a blank canvas, ready to go to different levels to portray different types of people. There is also the campy cheesey type of acting that has hit mainstream media with shows like Glee and characters like Kurt! We have either come along way or we are just shoving and pushing our way to the front of Hollywood. I don’t think openly gay actors should be afraid to be who they are. If you are comfortable in yourself and confident in your craft.. it can happen. We have to know what we want and go after it. What I’m really trying to say is put your work out there, not your personal life. Is that taking a step backwards? I don’t think so…being gay is just a part of who you are, but it doesn’t define you. It should be about the work… in my opinion. If the direction is reality television or if your personal life is your career like Kim Kardashian and her family empire then it’s different. If i said… gay actors should stay in the closet, like Rupert Everett did…. then Lady Gaga would be really disappointed in me. He actually said… ” a 25 year old homosexual cannot make it in the film business.” Well, Rupert….guess what, I’m just here to just be a 25 year-old in the Film Business. That’s all.

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5 thoughts on “The Butch Factor

  1. I think there’s definitely an evolution in show business right now.
    Whatever’s happening is already taking effect.
    I TOTALLY agree that it is irritating that straight actors play gay.
    There are people that are paving the way in Hollywood, but it’s still such an old institution.
    I’m still hoping Latinos will actually be able to play Latinos one day:)

  2. “Do openly gay actors have a reason to be scared these days?” – It depends, I think. If you are an A – List Hollywood actor who is expected to carry a movie, than yes. This is especially true if you have made your living starring in romantic comedies or blockbuster action films. It seems like character actors, on the other hand, are less likely to have their careers harmed by being out.

    Rupert Everett’s statement advising young actors to stay in the closet is misguided, but his belief can no doubt be attributed to what happened to his own career after he came out. The late 1980s were a very different time and the consequences of being openly gay for an actor were steep.

    Re: Gay actors playing straight: I am not sure if you have seen much of the tv show “Frasier” but I was always amazed by David Hyde-Pierce. He played a straight character, but what I loved about the character is that it almost seemed as if through the entire run of the series, he portrayed the character as if he was gay, in terms of mannerisms, body language, etc.

    In general, I think television is more accepting than film of a gay actor portraying a straight character. There are numerous examples of this currently. The big screen is different from the small screen though, and as I alluded to earlier, I do not think Hollywood studios are ready to risk putting an openly gay leading man in a starring role. (by leading man, I mean Tom Hanks, Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Cruise, Denzel Washington, Harrison Ford types…)

    Pop culture, especially television, deserves a lot of the credit for the progress gays and lesbians have made in the last decade. Television has helped to shape a more favorable opinion of gays and lesbians in our society and as people continue to evolve on gay equality, the sexual orientation of gay actors and actresses will be less and less of an issue.

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