Sunday, 19 December 2010

Happy Birthday Jake Gyllenhaal!

Honesty has a beautiful and refreshing simplicity about it. No ulterior motives. No hidden meanings. An absence of hypocrisy, duplicity, political games, and verbal superficiality. As honesty and real integrity characterize our lives, there will be no need to manipulate others.

- Chuck Swindoll

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

New Showmance - It’s Official

December 1, 2010

With movie Love and Other Drugs and new album promotion still on, Jake Gyllenhaal and Taylor Swift officially started showmance promotion by posing for Us Weekly.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Feels So Good That It Can’t Be Wrong

Ricky Martin Ricky Martin, "Me" book signing, November 2010

There is something beautiful in witnessing a major celebrity in the throes of profound and real transformation. A week before we meet, Ricky Martin had made a surprise appearance at the annual Human Rights Campaign national dinner to pledge his support. “Something as simple as standing at that dinner and saying, ‘I’m gay,’ creates so may emotions I’ve never felt before,” he admits. “I didn’t do it earlier because of fear, and, bottom line, it was all in my head. I was seduced by fear, and I was sabotaging most of my life -- my music, my relationships with my friends, with my family, with everybody. That’s something I need to share because I know that a lot of people are going through what I went through, no matter what their age, and fear cannot control us.”

Ricky Martin is about to share big time -- with his new memoir, Me, a remarkably heartfelt account of his journey from teen group Menudo to fatherhood, delivered in a frank, conversational style that doesn’t economize on the truth. It includes accounts of his first passionate affairs -- with men and with women -- as well as his struggle to reconcile his conflicted yearnings with his rapid ascent in America. The pivotal year is 1999, at which Martin performed his World Cup anthem, “La Copa de la Vida,” at the Grammys. Largely unknown in the United States beyond Hispanic audiences, he left the stage as a breathless Rosie O’Donnell (the evening’s host) exclaimed, “Who was that cutie patootie?”

It was connecting the dots that led directly to Martin’s tweet last March. In his memoir, he recounts how friends and colleagues remonstrated with him to hold off: “I ignored all their recommendations, and by the end, when they came to me with the argument that I shouldn’t do it during Easter because it might offend my Christian fans, I said: ‘What part of ‘I can’t take it any more’ do you not understand? What about me?’”

Above all, he says he worried about Matteo and Valentino having to answer for their father’s untruths. How would they respond as they grew older? Would they have to lie on his behalf? “How could I teach my kids to lie?” he asks. “How could I teach them not to be themselves?” And, as simple as that, he realized he couldn’t and wouldn’t. “My children will grow up with no prejudice,” he says. “As parents, we need to create a new way of thinking for our kids, in which we accept, and we love, and we can vibe with everybody.”

Source: Out Magazine, Out 100: Ricky Martin

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Love and Obstacles

Cynthia Nixon and family

October 4, 2010

This past weekend, the New Yorker held its annual festival, which -- as always -- includes a multitude of speakers and panels discussing a variety of topics. Top players in all professions were represented, including Stephen King, Malcolm Gladwell, Jake Gyllenhaal and Regina Spektor -- all chatting about themselves and their areas of expertise. Our favorite, though, would have to have been Cynthia Nixon on the panel discussion "Love and Obstacles: The Case for Gay Marriage."

Ms. Nixon, who is most known for her role has Miranda Hobbes in Sex and the City, and now is engaged to education activist Christine Marinoni, stole our hearts with her rather calm, well made argument. Not only does she make a good case, she makes an example of how to make said point.

“Gay people who want to marry have no desire to redefine marriage in any way. When women got the vote, they did not redefine voting. When African-Americans got the right to sit at a lunch counter alongside white people, they did not redefine eating out. They were simply invited to the table. And that is all we want to do. We have no desire to change marriage. We want to be entitled to not only the same privileges, but the same responsibilities as straight people.”

Source: Out Hero: The Cynthia Nixon Edition

Sunday, 12 September 2010

A Place in the Sun

Montgomery Clift
Montgomery Clift rolling cigarette
during shooting of 'Red River', circa 1948

The Advocate: There are so many biographies of Montgomery Clift and numerous websites devoted to him. What was the biggest surprise you learned about him while researching your book?
Amy Lawrence: I was most impressed by Clift’s canny understanding of his own image. Many biographers depict him as refusing to participate in the Hollywood star system, but that didn’t mean he was ignorant of it. He understood how an actor’s image was built and maintained. In giving interviews or choosing roles, he knew exactly how to shape a performance to achieve the effect he wanted — and to resist the efforts of others to simplify a character. For instance, he was aware that screenwriters and directors often wanted to make the hero perfect; Clift wanted to make the character human, complicated, and not always admirable.

Q: Clift is often spoken of in context as a “gay actor” or in conjunction with Marlon Brando and James Dean. What do you see as Clift’s singular legacy?
A: Brando and Dean both thought of Clift as singular. Brando saw Clift as his only major competition, and Dean saw him as a model, an ideal to emulate. Unlike those performers, Clift’s best work has not become dated. In Red River, From Here to Eternity, A Place in the Sun, I Confess, and half a dozen others, his performances are impeccable. At his best he is never mannered or predictable. His performances are subtle, intelligent, graceful, and deeply empathetic regardless of the character’s flaws.

Q: How did Clift’s being gay — or bisexual, as some suggest — when it was still taboo affect his drinking, drug taking, and ultimate downward spiral?
A: The homophobia of the time, which intensified nationally just as Clift’s career was beginning in the late 1940s and early ’50s, certainly exerted pressure on Clift. A serious relationship with choreographer Jerome Robbins in the ’40s threatened both their careers when Robbins was blackmailed into testifying before the House Un-American Activities Committee hearings regarding communists and other “subversives” in Washington and the entertainment community. I would be hesitant, though, to cast Clift as a “sad young man,” “self-loathing homosexual,” or fit him into any other category into which gay men were sorted from the 1950s to ’70s. Alcoholism affects everyone, and in the postwar period heavy drinking was routine across the board. By the time Clift’s drinking became full-blown alcoholism, it was impossible to disentangle from his devastating car accident, the prescription painkillers he needed at the time, and his professional fear regarding the damage done to his face. In the latter part of his career, his drinking and drug taking were so dominant in his life that he couldn’t function without them. Paradoxically, at the point when he worked with unsupportive or openly hostile homophobic producers and directors, the drugs and drinking sustained him as much as they destroyed him.

Q: You write about the fan magazines of the 1950s that frequently used sexually suggestive headlines such as “Who Is Monty Kidding?” How well known was the truth about Clift’s sexuality during that era?
A: Clift worked in a period when fan magazines were challenged by scandal magazines, each promising “the truth” about stars’ private lives. Ironically, even the scandal rags did not want any “truth” firmly established because that would rob them of the chance to repeatedly tantalize readers with the next promised exposé. Biographical information suggests that people who worked with Clift always “knew” in exact proportion to what they wanted to know. Fans likewise. Everyone minimized the complexity of Clift’s emotional relationships — with men, older women, young women — in order to maintain the image of the actor that appealed to them most.

Q: A recent article in Newsweek suggests audiences can’t accept gay actors as romantic leading men when we know the truth about their real-life sexuality and uses Rock Hudson as an example. How do you think this applies to Clift, who had such intense chemistry on-screen with Elizabeth Taylor and other actresses?
A: When audiences think they know something about an actor’s personal sexuality it becomes available as a touchstone to spectators watching a performance but is never mandatory. People judging a performance often appreciate it most the more it varies from what we think we know about the performer — casting against type, nice people playing psychos, beautiful actresses playing ugly. If we think of Clift as an actor, then his persuasiveness as a romantic lead opposite Taylor, Olivia de Havilland, or Jennifer Jones increases our appreciation of his skill as he seems to become inseparable from the role.

Another issue is history itself. As new generations are introduced to Clift and Hudson, they often react to the performers without knowing any biographical information about them. They are also less invested in “the truth” than those who experienced a change in their perception through revelations and the exposure of secrets. The freer sexuality of Brando or Dean, for instance, has not come to dominate their images.

Q: How do you think Clift would have fared personally and professionally if he began his career today, with the intrusion of the Internet and paparazzi?
A: The intrusion of the media today is offset by the openness of some gay performers — though not romantic leading men just yet. As Tom Cruise’s career shows, it is possible to withstand rumors and media speculation if you have the power and the will to do so. Because Clift was never as closeted as Rock Hudson, I don’t believe he would fight terribly hard to maintain the illusion of offscreen heterosexuality. He might be more likely to take a Keanu Reeves approach, where the actor neither courts nor tries to dispel the fantasies of any fan. In several roles in the severely repressive 1950s he even courted audiences to read his characters — and maybe himself — as gay in the casually flirtatious scenes in Red River, the rejection of heterosexual relationships in I Confess, Suddenly, Last Summer, and Freud, the material on gay Army life that acts as a subtext throughout From Here to Eternity, and the relationship with Frank Sinatra’s character in the film.

Source: Advocate, The Most Beautiful Man in Film

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Baby Steps

Celebrating August 4, 2010
August 4, 2010 - Proposition 8 ruled unconstitutional‎

From the ruling: "Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. Indeed the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California constitution the notion that opposite sex couples are superior to same sex couples."

Source: Judge Hands Victory to Proposition 8 Opponents, Gay-Marriage Ban Overturned

Ricky Martin, Matteo and ValentinoRicky Martin, Matteo and Valentino (born August 6, 2008)

Clay Aiken, Jaymes Foster and ParkerClay Aiken, Jaymes Foster and Parker (born August 8, 2008)

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Looking Forward to 'Love and Other Drugs'

Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal, Venice 2005
Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal
Venice Film Festival, 2005

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Father's Day

Clay Aiken and Parker
Clay Aiken

October 2008

Becoming a father led to another life-changing decision for Clay Aiken, 29, the American Idol runner-up whose awkward charm, flat-ironed red hair and soulful sound inspired a curious and deeply devoted cult of music fans who call themselves Claymates. Long dogged by rumors about his sexuality, Aiken decided the time had come for him to publicly acknowledge what he's known privately since he was in college: He's gay.

Says Aiken: "It was the first decision I made as a father. I cannot raise a child to lie or to hide things. I wasn't raised that way, and I'm not going to raise a child to do that."

Ricky Martin, Matteo and Valentio
Ricky Martin

December 2008

"I’m going to concentrate on becoming a better, stronger, more complete person. All throughout my career — a career I’ve pursued since I was twelve — I have had to make sure to please people and ensure that people were happy with the things I was doing. At this moment, though, I’m focusing on what makes me happy. My sons are happy and they’re going to grow up being sure of themselves. When they ask a question, they will always receive an answer given with the utmost honesty and sincerity. They’re not going to feel ‘different,’ because there are hundreds — thousands — of children all over the world who are raised solely by their mothers or only by their fathers. I’m choosing to focus on the light, not the dark.

I always knew a wanted to be a father. I have such happy childhood memories of my own dad, and I thought it was important to share that kind of love with children of my own.

I felt a real need to see myself reflecting in my children’s eyes, that’s why I decided to go with a surrogate. It was the best option for me at this point in my life. There are people who think that science and medicine don’t go with God, but I see art and God’s hand in each and every one of my sons’ movements, in each smile and every cry. This whole process has been a spiritual one for me. Becoming a parent has been a blessing."

March 29, 2010

If someone asked me today, "Ricky, what are you afraid of?" I would answer "the blood that runs through the streets of countries at war...child slavery, terrorism...the cynicism of some people in positions of power, the misinterpretation of faith." But fear of my truth? Not at all! On the contrary, It fills me with strength and courage. This is just what I need especially now that I am the father of two beautiful boys that are so full of light and who with their outlook teach me new things every day. To keep living as I did up until today would be to indirectly diminish the glow that my kids were born with.

Sources: Clay Aiken People Magazine Article Full Scans, More Ricky Martin twins bb pictures! HOLA! magazine spread,

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Nobody's Business But Ours

Heath Ledger, Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal
Jake Gyllenhaal is one of the busiest actors in Hollywood, so when you get some face time with him — it doesn’t matter who you are — you take it.


We had only another 10 minutes, and there were some things I needed to talk to him about. For starters, Jake has rarely talked publicly about Heath Ledger’s death. I wasn’t sure if I’d get anything out of him, but I had to ask.

“A year ago, Entertainment Weekly spoke to a lot of people for a piece about Heath Ledger. The screenwriter, producer and cinematographer of Brokeback Mountain all talked. You were conspicuously absent. Are you uncomfortable remembering him in public?”

“Yes,” he said, pausing. “Brokeback was painful. Any time you go into pain, I don’t think you necessarily want to go back. But the results of that film, and how the public responded to it so hugely, were worth it. Walking through any kind of pain is usually worth it. As close as we all became making that movie, for all those other people, it didn’t extend much farther than [the movie itself], so that experience of work could be easily talked about for publications. The experience Heath and I had was also shared publicly with all the press and publicity we did. But what we shared as friends, though I respect the interest that so many people have in the mourning and grieving process and how it feels to other people, I feel like — and I don’t mean this in an unkind way — but I don’t think it’s anybody’s business but his and mine. So in that sense, to really respect him — and also the way he felt about his life and his private life and what he cared about, because he was a deeply caring and loving human being — every time anybody asks me any question about him, it would be like he was sitting next to me, and I know he would roll his eyes, because that’s the way he was. It was between us.”

If we didn’t talk about anything else, I knew I had something of consequence. And I was confident that what Jake had just said was as far and as deep and as sincere as he could go with this — you could feel the anguish in his words. So I moved on.

Source: American Way, 20 Minutes with the Prince of Persia by Lawrence Grobel, June 1, 2010

Friday, 28 May 2010

Prince of Persia

Jake Gyllenhaal
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time

Mike Newell:

'I’d known Jake for a long time because I’d known his parents and worked with his sister, but I’d never worked with him. His face is his fortune. He looks like he has one layer of skin fewer than anyone else; he’s tender and vulnerable in a way that a lot of people aren’t. But then he made himself into an action hero. I saw him do it, step by step. Of course the stunt man is there, because of insurance, but Jake did all his own riding, his own fighting, his own gymnastics. It’s something that you don’t see until you look at the whole movie and think: Christ, he actually did that. On the one hand he gave what I expected him to give, which is the sensitive actor stuff. But on the other, he really worked hard.'

Sir Ben Kingsley:

'Jake is a great leading man to work with - he's wonderful to work with because he makes himself vulnerable. For a strong young guy like that, not many of his American counterparts are vulnerable. They don't dare to be vulnerable because they think vulnerable is weak. It is not - to be vulnerable is to be very strong.'

Sources: Mike Newell discusses 'Prince of Persia' and Ben Kingsley praises Jake Gyllenhaal's vulnerable side in Prince of Persia

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Why Ricky Matters (to me... and maybe a few other boys)

By Lorenzo Herrera y Lozano

March 30, 2010

There’s been a lot of commotion regarding Ricky Martin’s recent coming out statement on his official website. As with most things in life these days, I learned about the news on Facebook. So, I immediately posted about the news as well and quickly joined in the jubilee of queerness and pranced about the office like a middle school-aged boy who accidently touched hands with his classroom crush. I even committed the blasphemy of comparing the news to that of Health Care Reform and the release of Apple’s iPad (insert sound of angel choir here).

And then, of course, there was the storm of cattiness that followed the news. As a queer Xicano, I admit that sarcasm is built into my genetic code. The survivor of four Christian-themed religions and 500+ years of white supremacist occupation, I find humor, irony and disbelief in most things. Still, yesterday I just wanted to celebrate.

I agree that the fact that Ricky is gay is not all that shocking. Queer men and not long speculated or asserted that he shook his bon bon far too well to be straight. Plus, for us jotos/maricones/patos, there was the added benefit of dreaming him up queer, which somehow put us that much closer to his arms.

Still, as the catty remarks continue, as people boast about how they knew and think he should have done this 10 years ago, or sassy queens dismiss the news as inconsequential, I say, look beyond our borders (geographic, cultural, and age-based) and take a minute to honor the fact that for many, Ricky’s coming out is groundbreaking, perhaps even life-saving.

Ricky Martin
Ricky Martin at the 2010 Billboard Latin Music Awards
April 29, 2010

So Ricky was doing more than living la vida loca; he was, in fact, a loca. To the trained eye, this is just confirmation that our gaydar runs on more than hormones and dreams.

Hormones, dreams and cattiness aside, I challenge the ungleeful remarks about Ricky’s coming out.

As with most performers who began as Spanish-language artists, Ricky began over 10 years ago. The Barbara Walters interview (assuming it was Barbara, I can never tell who is behind that cloud of light) did have me on the edge of my teenage self, hoping he’d come out and proclaim his gayness, but it wasn’t his beginning. Ricky’s career began decades ago.

Long before the Latin Explosion, which was more of a Latin Spark, Ricky had left his imprint on the Spanish pop scene of the late 80’s and early to mid-90’s. Back when Thalía and Paulina were still artists and relevant, before Gloria Trevi’s traumatic (for her and her fans) imprisonment in Brazil, and before Alejandra Guzmán would be hospitalized for too much botox on her behind, there was a cultural movement in Latin America.

As a pre-teen growing up in a rural town of 300 in northern México, Thalía, Paulina, Gloria, Alejandra and Ricky were my window into another world. Their performances pushed, albeit at times gently and censured, the boundaries of repressive cultural norms. From flowers wrapped around a microphone to songs about teen pregnancy and abortion, these young performers were resisting and embodying another realm of cultural possibilities. Ricky gave boys the excuse (and perhaps reason) to shake our hips in ways that would otherwise be condemned as obscene.

The dismissal of Ricky’s coming out seems to be rooted in an U.S.-centric perspective where we have the opportunity to stop celebrating any queer image on TV and offer our critique. There is so much gayness these days that we can spend our days and dissertations balking at how a character isn’t gay enough, is too gay, is too white, etc. And although we don’t actually have the type of representation GLAAD and I would like to see, we have a whole lot more than we did in México in 1992 (except, of course, Ricky gently caressing his long hair on stage… oh, and Locomía).

I am not critiquing the fact that we spend so much time criticizing queer portrayals in the media. To the contrary, I am celebrating the fact that we can. In fact, I’d go further and ask why queer people of color media performance and productions are so weak, lame and superficial. Having once curating a queer people of color cultural arts program, I know we can do better.

What I am critiquing is that our criticisms of Ricky’s coming out has us falling into the pitfall of imagining and defining all things queer through a U.S. lens. I even joked about the fact that he used the term “homosexual” to define himself. And now, in retrospect I find that identifying as a “fortunate homosexual” was much more powerful than a simple “gay.”

Perhaps for the jaded queen living in urban U.S., the oversaturation of gayness in the media has deemed Ricky insignificant and worthy of our dismissal. For that frightened and confused 12 year old in rural Chihuahua, it’s monumental.

My coming out process was stumped by the fact that I could not even imagine my queerness, let alone live it. At the time, the saturation of gayness was mostly strictly white. It wasn’t until queer brown men like Jaime Cortez and Emanuel Xavier fearlessly (or perhaps fearfully) exposed their work and their bodies to the sun of public criticism, that I was able to imagine myself.

Whether U.S. fags approve or not, Ricky is a prominent figure here, and more importantly, in Latino América. Ricky’s coming out makes it possible for young boys in countless homes to imagine themselves as something other than confused.

For this, I say to Ricky: gracias. And, you know where to find me.

Source: Guest post: "Why Ricky Matters" by Lorenzo Herrera y Lozano

Ricky Martin on Twitter

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Something Magical

Jake Gyllenhaal talks about Heath Ledger, Brokeback Mountain and magical time in his life.


Between courses at the Ravagh Persian Grill in Manhattan (his choice), he pulls out from under his T-shirt the two chains that hang around his neck. Each has a ring at its end - one is a black diamond, the other a pendant of Saint Genesius, patron saint of actors - and he starts rolling them between his fingers. But he almost seems alarmed when I ask about them, as though he hasn't been aware of what he has been doing. A diner from another table comes over.
"Can I say hi to you?" she asks.
"Yes, you can," he says.
"Oh, my gosh," she says. "You're my favorite."
"Oh no," he says. "Oh, don't say that. You say that to everybody."
"No!" she protests. "I love The Brokenback Mountain. I really did love it. I watched it three times."

Brokenback Mountain. Once she recedes, he turns to me and says, "You don't want to know the variations of that title." He tells me how, just the other day, a lawyer asked him how he got into acting at such a young age. "I think at first I was just ambitious," he says. "It was blind ambition. I wanted to be out there. I mean, I remember watching my sister up onstage doing South Pacific when we were kids and going, 'That looks like a fucking lot of fun.'" He debates with himself. "Was it attention? Probably, but I think it was more the magic. It's magic, some of what happens in movies. I mean, people asked me many times through the experience of Brokeback Mountain what that was like. And the best way I can describe it is what we all carry with ourselves from that experience, and why we feel so close. Forget all the awards that come, with people kind of adorning each other - it wasn't about that. There was something magical in that time. We all slept in our trailers out by a trailer park the first month of making that movie. I was sleeping next to Ang's trailer; Ang's trailer was next to Heath and Michelle's trailer - they'd kind of moved in together. And Michael Hausman, the producer, brought his Airstream trailer down. And it was just us, by this river, for a month. And we would walk to set, and we would eat together, and we would all make coffee in the morning, and I would wake up in the morning and there would be Ang Lee doing Tai Chi outside of my trailer, and it was just magical. It was just magical."

Jake and Heath on Brokeback Mountain set
To promote the movie, the cast appeared together on Oprah. For the first half of the show, it was just Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger fending off Winfrey's enthusiasm and curiosity. There is a sheen cast over the movie now - to some extent because of its subject matter but mostly because of Ledger's death - that leaves it and anything connected to it frozen, untouchable. So rewatching the two actors on Oprah, I was surprised to see Gyllenhaal alluding to times that the two of them didn't get on during the filming. Gyllenhaal seems surprised, too, when I mention this, as if he wasn't aware this was something he'd shared. But he remembers. The scene with the two of them by the river, for instance.

"Where Heath's character goes into how his father knew of two guys who lived together and he ended up seeing them killed and dead. I had always read it in a certain way. I heard it in my mind a certain way. And I had worked with these incredible actors like Dustin Hoffman and Susan Sarandon. When I worked with Dustin, he would always do things to me; in between a take, he would stop his lines, and he'd be like, 'You're a wonderful person,' or horrible things sometimes to jar me... getting a different response. And so I decided in this scene to gather the gumption" - this was when Ledger's part of the scene was being filmed and Gyllenhaal was off-camera - "and I don't subscribe to this really, changing lines on an actor, because I don't think I'm Dustin Hoffman, and I don't think I have the ability or the talent to do that to somebody. But I do think that changing intention sometimes on an actor when you're doing a scene when you're not on-camera is really interesting for them. But I did it at one point in this one scene, and I'd always heard it a certain way, so I was almost trying to move the scene to that place for him. He delivered the whole thing very, very straight, and he could feel me trying to do that, and I remember him getting really upset with me. And I remember him turning to Ang at the end of it and going, 'If he wants to tell me what to do, have him tell you'... We had these kind of exchanges, you know. But ultimately, the way I look at it was I was wrong, because he was brilliant. But at the same time I think, "Well, if I hadn't, would it have gone a certain way?" We balanced each other out. When I think about these things that happened then, we were very much alive in that movie. We were really living that movie. Not literally, but you think about those times in your life..."

One thing Gyllenhaal would do - feeding off the way Ledger had chosen to play the part of Ennis quietly, his teeth clenched - was to ask him in character, "What? What'd you say?" "Stupid me," Gyllenhaal comments now.

Did Heath never do anything that annoyed you?

"No. I always admired Heath. I always was kind of enamored by him, you know. I mean, yeah, sometimes it was hard to sit with him. He moved... He was a mover."

People have since suggested that he was really, really troubled by having to do all that promotion and campaigning. Was that your sense?

"Yeah. He was very sensitive. He didn't always really have a sense of performance in his everyday life. He was who he was. I think actors very often, they know how to present something, and that's part of their job. I think he was just really sensitive. We often used to do a lot of things together, because people were very interested in him and I think we felt safe together."

For example, he says that when he and Ledger had to introduce Ang Lee at the Directors Guild awards, Ledger refused point-blank to say anything jokey about Lee, as might have been expected at such an event. Their introduction was consequently so serious and earnest, says Gyllenhaal, that when Lee came up to the stage, he told them, "That was so gay."

Still, he also remembers how much they'd be laughing backstage at events: "For such a serious actor as Heath was, he was crazy funny. Dark funny, but funny." Out front, they came to be sobered by people's reactions, as they realized that the movie was bigger than all of them, bigger than they'd realized. Gyllenhaal tells me a strange thing about the filming, an experience he'd just rhapsodized about as so magical: "In retrospect, it just was a painful process." As though there's no reason why both memories should not be equally true. "I don't think any of us can watch it to this day," he says. "I remember talking to Michelle very recently and her being like, 'I didn't know if it was any good or not.'"

Afterward, he and Ledger stayed in close touch. "We'd talk a few times a month. I mean, he was a friend. He was like my creative partner." The news of Ledger's death came while Gyllenhaal was filming Brothers.

Could you make any sense of it at all?

A lengthy pause. "I don't really like talking about it. That period of time was... It was difficult."

What effect do you think it had on you?

"Even when we did Brokeback and stuff, it was like my work was the only thing that mattered to me. It was like I could only understand or define myself through doing that. Life, I didn't totally understand. And I think I was afraid of life. And I had success in my work, enough success that you could keep going back there. But after that happened... I think I recognized that it was work. And I recognized that this is for real."

"This" being life?

"It's for real."

What were you scared of?

"It seems to me that there are some people who go, 'All right, I'm grabbing the bull by the horns. Let's do this...,' and there are some people who it takes a while to figure out. It's an everyday struggle to be able to go, 'I'm going to follow my own instincts - I'm going to try and hear my own heart regardless...' We're getting pretty deep here. I mean, there are things that I want in my life. You can hide in your work, I guess I'm saying, or you can be alive and free and live in your work. You can pretend the people that you're going to work with for however many months are going to be the family that's going to be forever. But the truth is, they're not. And no matter what relationships you make along the way - which have been occasionally really, really influential in my life – ultimately I choose all the mishegoss, and all the complication and confusions of life, which takes courage and patience to sift through. Over the temporary moment of 'Oh, I'm comforted in the womb of this family.' I choose the other. I hate to say this, but - "Gyllenhaal smiles - "it's time to jump."


There is a famous scene in Brokeback Mountain where Ledger's and Gyllenhaal's characters jump together off a cliff into a river, both of them naked.

In reality, Ledger made the jump but Gyllenhaal did not. Originally the leap was to have been from a lower ledge, but Ledger wanted to go from right at the top. They were told how careful they would have to be, falling from that height, because they might hit the river's shallow bottom, and they were also warned of the hazards presented by the glacial water. Gyllenhaal realized he wasn't so sure about it. He had just been cast in Jarhead, and that shoot was starting soon. He knew that if he injured himself, he would lose the part. And he was comforted by a precedent: he remembered a story he had heard in his youth, about how Paul Newman, a family friend, hadn't actually made the leap in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. He decided to let a stand-in jump in his stead.

Brokeback Mountain shirts
I ask him whether Ledger didn't, after all they had been through together, say to him, "You're wimping out on this?"

"It's interesting - he never did say that. I would have loved for him to have said that."

Would it have made you feel bad?

"Maybe. Yeah, probably. But I was actually really, really proud of myself that I didn't do it. For me, it was a great triumph. You know, there's a pressure that people put on themselves to not trust their instincts. You know, show the stunt guys I can do it, prove it to this person, prove it to that person. Who do I need to prove it to? And Heath didn't do it for any of those reasons - he did it because he wanted to jump."

Do you at all regret not doing it now?

"Yeah. But that's me now."


Source: GQ, May 2010 - interviewed by Chris Heath

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Thanks For The Memories

Heath Ledger
Heath Andrew Ledger
Born April 4, 1979

Saturday, 27 March 2010


Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Monday, 1 March 2010

Source Code

Jake Gyllenhaal in Source Code

A SOUND slowly builds: the rhythmic rocking of a TRAIN'S WHEELS over RAILROAD TRACKS...


COLTER jolts awake. Sunlight hits his face.

He blinks. A stunned beat. He's disoriented.

Slowly he turns his head to one side...

PASSENGERS. Filling most of the seats. Office workers on their morning commute into a city.

Turning the other way, he‘s confronted with a window. Trees flash by, splitting the rising sunlight into a hypnotic strobe pattern.

Colter looks to be thirty years old. A military buzz cut. A disciplined physique, lean and spare, almost gaunt. Skin burnished by years of desert sandstorms and equatorial sun. His expression, prematurely aged by combat, is perpetually wary, sometimes predatory, accustomed to trouble.

Despite his military bearing, Colter wears a button down shirt and navy sports coat. On his wrist is a digital watch. It reads 7:40 a.m.

He swallows. A strange, creeping panic.

He has no idea where he is.

Source: ScriptShadow, Source Code by Ben Ripley

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Happiness is a Choice

Advocate cover - Portia de Rossi
Portia de Rossi knew her "quiet life" was over when she fell for Ellen DeGeneres. Now, with a new book and a passionate taste for politics, she’s ready to step forward as the first lady of our fight for marriage equality.

She has that least likely of all Hollywood endings — a marriage everyone believes is the real deal. "It’s one thing to have attention; it’s one thing to stand for something," she says. "But unless it’s backed up with genuine happiness, I think people can sense that it’s not worth celebrating."

Whenever anyone asks De Rossi about marriage equality — and, grateful for whatever "little tiny platform" she’s given, she hopes they will — she reveals herself to be an impeccably prepared spokeswoman, a perfectly poised first lady of advocacy. Further proof will come in March when the Human Rights Campaign will acknowledge De Rossi with its Visibility Award at a ceremony in Los Angeles.

A year and a half after their 2008 wedding, she and DeGeneres are still that almost obnoxiously adorable couple. If anything, getting married has only made them more so. Even the paparazzi seem to buy into their love story, mostly leaving the two alone. "To think that a married gay couple is considered boring and normal is fantastic," she says. "Happiness is a choice too. It’s a choice to live in a state of gratitude and to fix what makes you unhappy. Being honest with who you are, being able to go out into the world and show people that you can be successful and be happy and be in a good marriage — it’s important."

She makes another straightforward "case closed" argument for actors coming out, usual Hollywood scare tactics be damned. "People say, 'There are lots of openly gay actors.' And I’m like, who? If everybody I knew that was gay and not being open about it came out, it would make a huge difference to people coming up as young actors in Hollywood. Huge. To producers, to people in casting. I’m sure that when I was with Ellen a lot of people wondered if I could play a straight role convincingly. By having the opportunity, other people can go, 'Oh, that’s OK. It didn’t kill that show. That was believable.'"

In comparison to her wife, at least, "I haven’t said 'I’m gay' that often," she says. Maybe that was true back when the idea of Portia as the femme fatale still cast such a long shadow over her public life.

This is what she has to say now: "Being on Oprah was a very surreal moment — to go from being so closeted and so afraid to talk about my sexuality to sitting with my wife, talking about my wedding and how much I love her. To look out at that audience and see most of the audience crying — Oprah was crying! Life can take so many twists and turns. You can’t ever count yourself out. Even if you’re really afraid at some point, you can’t think that there’s no room for you to grow and do something good with your life."

Source: Advocate, The Great de Rossi

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Gay Celebrities Don’t Have To Come Out?

Celebrities like Michael Urie and Matt Bomer have been getting hammered recently for not being more vocal about their sexuality. Bomer, who was pictured kissing up on another man, defensively explained that he’s “completely happy and fulfilled in my personal life” and doesn’t give two shits that people think he’s gay. Urie, meanwhile, argued that he didn’t feel the need to declare his sexuality, a move that had this site’s owner saying Urie’s an “anti-activist,” because coming out’s “the most powerful and necessary action any LGBT person can make.” The Ugly Betty actor did, however, say that he’s dating a man, so he’s being criticized for not coming out enough. This debate makes me wonder: Should it be someone’s duty to declare his sexuality? We’re constantly coming out, so how often and when does it need to be done? Should people be required to come out and show the world a positive gay face?

Activism, like gay people, comes in many forms. Coming out counts as an example, yes, but not coming out isn’t harmful. It would be nice if Urie, who plays one of television’s most hilarious gay characters, could own up to it, rather than relying on the “it could hurt my career” excuse and insisting that just because he’s with a man now, that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s “gay.” He’s queer. Fine, whatever. But Urie’s parsing and Bomer’s avoidance both fit into a Hollywood model, their approaches are not necessarily harmful. They’re weak and lamentable, yes, but in the long run not calamitous. Staying in the closet only hurts when it’s coupled with harmful action, like anti-gay legislation, hence the moral relativism of outing a politician.

While the “coming out can hurt a career” argument has grown a bit dated in the wake of Neil Patrick Harris, it can be evoked, as in the queer case of Anderson Cooper. It’s no big secret that Cooper’s dating a man. Some people, however, insist he should take the next step out of the closet. Kathy Griffin recently argued against outing him because he goes to third world countries that aren’t always hospitable to the gays. That’s a valid point, yes, and one that I have made in the past. Whether or not it’s right remains open to debate. It does, however, bring up another, far more pressing question: does being gay have to come first?

There was a time when I definitely would have said that gay people, especially high-profile actors, should come out the closet. I still think that’s true: it’s always wonderful to have strong gay role models, like Neil Patrick Harris or Jane Lynch, and gay people today should constantly be aware of past and present struggles. And thank goodness the Proposition 8 and hate crime battles helped energize a new generation of activists. But as time goes on and I become a little older, though not necessarily wiser, I’m beginning to see that we all have to wear our sexuality in the way that suits us best. Being gay does not have to be the primary part of someone’s personality. In no way am I saying one should hide their gay ways – that’s just cowardly – and fighting for gay rights should be everyone’s concern, but there also comes a time when people need to focus on other parts of themselves, rather than the parts they use in bed.

Yes, actors and other celebrities have a responsibility to set a good example, and, in my opinion, should take advantage of their platform for progressive causes. But to say that celebrities have to come out forces them to make a decision they may not be comfortable with, and that isn’t fair. We may be disappointed that celebrities cop out and stay in the closet, but we should respect their decision, even if it means losing respect for the people themselves.

Source: AKA William

Friday, 22 January 2010

Splendour in the Grass

Heath Ledger
Heath Andrew Ledger

What though the radiance which was once so bright
Be now for ever taken from my sight,
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind...

- William Wordsworth

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

A Father and A Son

Little Jake Gyllenhaal
Little Jake Gyllenhaal
Little Jake Gyllenhaal
Little Jake Gyllenhaal
December 2, 2009

Liza Richardson: What did you bring to play today?

Jake Gyllenhaal: I brought a few songs that have inspired me in different ways. Some in the car, some on set -- a movie set, and some in bed.

LR: Those are the categories. Which one of these do you listen to on the set?

JG: Actually, I just did this movie with Jim Sheridan called "Brothers" and randomly he picked this song "The River," by Bruce Springsteen. He picked the live version. During rehearsals he would play it, and then he would play it on set too to get us in the mood of the scene, or he would play it in the middle of the scene. And so there’s this scene in the film where my brother has died and I am with his wife. We don’t get along very well, but as the movie has progressed we’ve started to get along better. We’re sitting together in front of a fire and we end up kissing at the end of the scene, which makes the movie very complex, and Jim decided to play this song, play "The River."

Song: "The River (live)" by Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band

JG: And what he did after that was he kept the music rolling and Natalie Portman, who plays my brother’s wife in the movie, she leaves the scene. Jim kept the film rolling on and on and on and I just kept listening to this song and by the end of this take, I just start to cry and cry, I couldn’t stop crying. I think a lot of it has to do with, it’s connection to my family, listening to Bruce Springsteen when I was a kid with my dad. My first concert I ever went to was the Born in the USA tour concert and I remember being with my father. I just think the story between father and son and the complications between those two positions in a family has always been a huge thing in my life. That’s also the heart of the movie I was making with Jim Sheridan.

LR: So that’s "The River," it’s the choice of our guest DJ, Jake Gyllenhaal, and it’s by Bruce Springsteen. So what’s the next thing?

JG: I would pick "The Fox" and this version is by Burl Ives. My father used to sing this to me -- and I love Burl Ives just as a character, just as a musician -- and when I was a little kid we were robbed outside of our house. We were driving home, we pulled up and we were robbed and ever since I was always really nervous about falling asleep, you know, naturally, and so my dad would sing this to me before I’d go to bed.

Song: "The Fox" by Burl Ives

JG: My father, has this guild guitar, which he still has, beautiful kind of mahogany color, and again it comes back to my father who was a big musical influence on me when I was a kid and continues to be. There are songs that I remember listening to in the car with my dad, you know, coming back from baseball or even just him throwing me in the car and being like, 'You gotta hear this song! You gotta hear this song!' He’s very animated with his hands and *starts to imitate his father’s voice* he wants me to hear this one part right here!

Source: Jake Gyllenhaal - Guest DJ Project on KCRW