According to a Flavorpill Media post, on May 28, 2013 CNN and BuzzFeed announced they are partnering to launch “CNN BuzzFeed”: the YouTube Channel. To help promote the news, they began publishing listicles on CNN’s website. One of these listicles was a list of “20 great roles: our favorite straight actors who have played gay characters.” The listicle was tied into HBO’s biopic Behind the Candelabra,*** which had its premiere on May 26th.
Flavorpill had issue with the list of actor’s mentioned and the mindset that actors who play gay characters should be heralded for their bravery.
Made your examiner wonder if such a list existed for gay actors who play straight characters. What about their plight? Wouldn’t it be at least equally difficult for them, if not more so, since there is little social stigma for straight actors who are actually straight?
It took a bit of digging to come up with twenty names. This topic did appear to receive quite a bit of press in 2010 when Sean Hayes, best known for playing Jack on the long-running comedy series, Will & Grace, was playing the straight romantic lead in the Broadway play, Promises Promises. Maybe it was a way to gain press for the play, but the question was raised if audiences would find his portrayal of a straight man believable.
The next most often mentioned gay actor who has been convincingly playing a straight man for years now on the long-running comedy series, How I Met Your Mother, is NPH himself, Neil Patrick Harris.
Third most recently mentioned would have to be Matt Bomer and whether he would be believable playing Christian Grey in the film version of Fifty Shades of Grey because Matt is gay. Matt Bomer has been playing a straight male on the television series, White Collar, for a few years now. This writer had no idea he was gay. She also wouldn’t have guessed actor, Zachary Quinto, who played Sylar, a straight man, on the Heroes TV series and who plays Spock in the newer Star Trek movies is gay either.
Here’s the entire list:
- Sean Hayes
- Matt Bomer
- Zachary Quinto
- Jonathan Groff
- Rock Hudson
- Russell Tovey
- Bret Easton Ellis
- Rupert Everett
- Tuc Watkins
- Paul Winfield
- Roddy McDowell
- Andy Dick
- Anthony Perkins
- Ian McKellan
- T. R. Knight
- Nathan Lane
- Raul Esparza
- Cheyenne Jackson
- Gavin Creel
Actors are artists. Their art, for most, isn’t about playing who they are in their private life. Their art…their craft is about playing a role and being believable in that role.
What seemed to sum up this actually kind of pointless debate most came from a question posited on the web presence, experience project. It was asked, “Should openly gay actors be excluded from playing straight roles?”
A post by caramelLova1 on Feb 20, 2013 at 11:18 p.m. seemed to sum it up best, “No. It’s just acting.”
***BTW, according to IMDb the movie “was a huge ratings success for HBO, giving the network its best ratings for a TV movie since 2004” with their Something The Lord Made movie.