Saturday, 25 July 2009

.002 percent

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