Director Todd Holland on gay actors coming out.
"I’m an out gay director and producer.
Coming out is the single most important event in my life. I came out in 1992 while directing and producing on "The Larry Sanders Show." I was scared, sure. But I did it -- because I needed to live authentically.
My parents were slow to come around. Being Republicans and big-time Christians, they love me, I know. But I think they still have a hard time accepting the gay me. That hurts but, hey, that’s the real world.
And for me, living authentically means living in the real world. And maybe that’s how I came to be the anti-queer poster child of the week.
See, I work in this factory called Hollywood. It’s a strange place. (But remember, we make dreams here -- so it’s bound to have a few quirks.) And here are a few of the things I’ve learned.
One: No one cares that I’m gay. Like ... no one.
Two: there are still prominent creative people living in the closet.
No one cares that they’re gay, either. They care -- mostly because they feel incapable of enduring the perceived rejection of their families.
Three: As far as actors go, if you’re a character actor or a woman, no one cares.
Four: If you’re a guy, no one cares ... unless you're in that fractional .002 percent of the young male actor population, and you really have the goods to become a true leading man. Then there may be obstacles to both living authentically and achieving that Holy Grail of dreams: real, tent-pole-sized Hollywood Stardom.
Gatekeepers abound at every level. Studios are like feisty Chihuahuas -- they are inherently fearful, and if their bottom lines are at risk, they’ll bite. Agents and managers do not push rocks up hill -- they’ll push level (but prefer downhill).
And their bottom lines are also at risk. Casting directors (sometimes gay ones especially) are often very reluctant to promote openly gay actors fearing, I imagine, some “what the f--- are you thinking?” response from straight employers.
My damning words were: "If you are that .002 percent ... I can't tell you to come out."
I never said stay in the closet. And that matters. My meaning in "I can't tell you to come out" is inherently parental.
Translation: “If you take the path of coming out, you will be living authentically -- and that is a great achievement in anyone’s life. But I can't promise you're going to skirt the gatekeepers or scale the hurdles the system has in place.”
To me, that is a real and honest answer. Yes, it is neither activist nor idealistic -- but it is the real world I work in every day. It is the world in which I live authentically."
Source: The Gatekeepers at Hollywood's Closet Door, The Wrap
Wednesday, 15 July 2009
July 13, 2009
At Outfest on Sunday afternoon, three-time Emmy winning and openly gay director Todd Holland told a small audience that he advises young, gay male actors to "stay in the closet." The remark came during a panel at the Directors Guild of America titled, "Taking It to the Streets: LGBT Directors Get Political." Outfest, which pushes the slogan "protecting our past, showcasing our present, nurturing our future," is one of the premiere gay and lesbian film festivals in the United States.
Holland, who was talking as one of the featured panelists, and who once worked as a director on the critically acclaimed HBO sit-com The Larry Sanders Show, explained that it's a necessary career choice if a gay actor wants to succeed in Hollywood.
Fellow panelist and filmmaker Kirby Dick, director of Outrage, a 2009 documentary about gay politicians who stay in the closet to further their political careers, told Holland: "I know where you're coming from, but it's a regressive argument."
Holland, who was legally married before Proposition 8 was passed by California voters in November, responded that he was just being realistic, but Dick, who is heterosexual, believed that if "an A-list actor came out, it would have more impact on the culture than an A-list politician."
No one talked about the personal repercussions of a gay actor succeeding in Hollywood by lying about his sexual orientation to the general public.
Holland's comments underscore a decades old problem in Hollywood, where gay and straight studio executives, agents, and other major players often advise up-and-coming gay, male actors to live in the closet. Rarely, though, has someone like Holland been so public with that advice.
Besides Holland and Dick, "Taking It to the Streets" featured filmmakers Jamie Babbit, Katherine Brooks, Frieda Lee Mock and Charles Herman-Wurmfield, and was billed as a discussion about how gay and lesbian filmmakers "are taking a more active role in creating social and political change."
One audience member, openly gay filmmaker Matthew Mishory, later told Queer Town that Holland's mind set is pervasive throughout the entertainment business.
"This stuff doesn't just extend to actors," says Mishory. "We've been told, as gay filmmakers, not tell queer stories or else we'll get pigeonholed."
Mishory has just finished a film about legendary gay director Derek Jarman called Delphinium. Through that work, Mishory has come to believe that "the promise of the New Queer Cinema of the 1980s and 1990s has not necessarily been delivered."
Before the panelists started their discussion, blogger and lesbian filmmaker J.D. Disalvatore warned Outfest crowds on her blog, The Smoking Cocktail, that several of the filmmakers "were not particularly political, so looking forward to seeing what they pull out of their asses for this one."
A few hours later, the 47-year-old Todd Holland publicly shared his "advice," with young, gay and lesbian filmmakers sitting in the audience. One person who heard the remark, and didn't want to be identified, told Queer Town, "What kind of message is that for an older gay filmmaker to send to young gay filmmakers? It's the kind of thing that will keep people in the closet."
Source: Queer Town: Emmy-winning Director Todd Holland to Young, Gay Actors: 'Stay in the Closet', LA Weekly
Posted by Jackie at 18:27