Friday, 8 February 2008

Gay in Hollywood

"Strangely enough, some gay actors say that while America's comfort level has improved considerably, the entertainment industry hasn't caught up. It may be 2007, they say, but the vibe inside studio casting offices can feel surprisingly like 1957.

These actors say being outed remains a huge threat to a performer's career, particularly for men. An announcement, even a rumor, can eliminate them from the running for straight roles – the roles that make up the vast majority of available work.
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"From an actor's point of view, I understand why they are scared to death of saying anything for fear of being pigeonholed," casting director Matt Messinger says. "Gay people are cast as straight all the time. But if you're asking if things have improved for openly gay actors, I can't say it's any easier now."

Source: article Two sides to gay in Hollywood

6 comments:

Jackie said...

Two sides to gay in Hollywood

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Strangely enough, some gay actors say that while America's comfort level has improved considerably, the entertainment industry hasn't caught up. It may be 2007, they say, but the vibe inside studio casting offices can feel surprisingly like 1957.

These actors say being outed remains a huge threat to a performer's career, particularly for men. An announcement, even a rumor, can eliminate them from the running for straight roles – the roles that make up the vast majority of available work.

“I have friends in the industry – casting directors, for an example – who are gay, who will not cast another person, and the reason given is, 'Oh, he's too gay,' ” says veteran performer Andre de Shields, an openly gay actor who's earned two Tony award nominations. “A lot of this has to do with self-loathing.”

Despite its reputation for leading the world down a hedonistic path, “Hollywood is one of the most homophobic places on the planet,” de Shields says. “And these are the folks who could make the biggest difference in artists' lives.”

Established gay male stars like Rupert Everett face this kind of bias (as Everett laments in his recent autobiography), as do those still making their mark.

“I was told I was 'too light' for 'Judging Amy,' ” says Kevin Fabian, an openly gay actor who has appeared on episodes of “The West Wing,” “Will & Grace” and other prime-time shows. “I looked at the casting director and said, 'Have you watched your show?'”

That sort of experience leaves gay actors questioning how much progress has really been made.

“From an actor's point of view, I understand why they are scared to death of saying anything for fear of being pigeonholed,” casting director Matt Messinger says. “Gay people are cast as straight all the time. But if you're asking if things have improved for openly gay actors, I can't say it's any easier now.”
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Two sides to gay in Hollywood

Anonymous said...

It is so backward. I wish Jake would jump to the future from 1957, maybe a few years past our unenlightened times.

Anonymous said...

“I have friends in the industry – casting directors, for an example – who are gay, who will not cast another person, and the reason given is, 'Oh, he's too gay,'”

Unbelievable.

Anonymous said...

“I have friends in the industry – casting directors, for an example – who are gay, who will not cast another person, and the reason given is, 'Oh, he's too gay,'”

Exactly. The gay men in Hollywood eat their own (literally and figuratively) all the time. The common wisdom is that it's easier to come out when you're relatively well-known, but famous people also have a cushion to fall back on. I don't know which logic holds for Jake.

Do we have absolute photographic confirmation of the attendees at Heath's funeral yet?

Anonymous said...

"The common wisdom is that it's easier to come out when you're relatively well-known,"

Oops, edit. The above should say "The common wisdom is that it's easier to come out when you aren't well-known, but famous people also have a cushion to fall back on."

perth said...

Do we have absolute photographic confirmation of the attendees at Heath's funeral yet?

Getty Images