Does Colin Firth have a point about the plight of gay actors?

Earlier this week A Single Man star and Oscar nominee Colin Firth voiced some long overdue statements about the problem that exists for gay actors in Hollywood. Click here for the full news story.

A SINGLE MAN, COLIN FIRTH

“If you’re known as a straight guy playing a gay role, you get rewarded for that,” he says. “If you’re a gay man and you want to play a straight role, you don’t get cast – and if a gay man wants to play a gay role now, you don’t get cast.”

It’s true. How many big name ‘out’ Hollywood actors can you think of? There are one or two Brits who’ve crossed over into LaLa land (Alan Cumming, Rupert Everett, Ian McKellen, Stephen Fry, Simon Callow), but of the Americans I can think of no big name male actors (the women are few and far between too. With the exception of Cynthia Nixon, they’ve all stopped making movies). So yes, Mr Firth is right, if you’re an out gay man and you want to play ‘a gay role or a ‘straight role’, you don’t get cast.

A SINGLE MAN, COLIN FIRTH

Which brings me to my next question – how many mainstream movies can you think of that actually have central gay roles?

Think about it – I’m not talking about those gay characters that pepper the periphery of the action like Julia Roberts’s gay friend (Rupert Everett) in My Best Friend’s Wedding, Hugh Grant’s boisterous pal (Simon Callow) in Four Weddings and a Funeral, or Meryl Streep‘s former sweetheart (Colin Firth) in Mamma Mia! No, I’m talking about films with central characters who are gay.

It’s difficult, but I’ve thought long and hard and here is my list of all the mainstream films I can think of featuring central characters who are gay. Its brevity is alarming.

So let’s see if Firth is right. How many of these gay characters are played by ‘out’ gay actors?

Brokeback Mountain: Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal – not gay

Milk: Sean Penn – not gay

A Single Man: Colin Firth – not gay

Capote: Philip Seymour Hoffman – not gay

Infamous: Toby Jones – not gay

Imagine Me and You: Piper Perabo, Lena Headey – not gay

The Birdcage: Robin Williams – not gay. Nathan Lane – yes, he’s gay!

The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert: Terence Stamp, Guy Pearce, Hugo Weaving – none are gay

To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie NewmarPatrick Swayze, Wesley Snipes, John Leguizamo – not gay

Wilde: Stephen Fry – yes gay, Jude Law – no, not gay

Far From Heaven: Dennis Quaid – not gay

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil: Kevin Spacey – not gay, he says.

Philadelphia: Tom Hanks – not gay

Maurice: Hugh GrantJames Wilby – not gay

Food for thought eh?

If you’re prepared to stay up into the early hours then you can catch The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert at 1.15am tonight (3rd Feb) on TCM

Or you could stay up even later tomorrow night to watch  To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar at 4am on Sky  Screen 1 HD

Click here to check out more film news.

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4 Responses to Does Colin Firth have a point about the plight of gay actors?

  1. kultboi says:

    Rupert Everett was actually really pissed about not getting the chance to play the part Colin Firth ended up getting because he’s out. Time to get back in the closet, boys.

  2. Lottie says:

    And the girls seem to wait until their careers are getting towards their twilight years (i.e when they have ceased to become romantic leads or have invested their time in other interests, such as producing)before the open their closets. I am talking to you Kelly McGillis and Jodie Foster!

    More power to Portia and Ellen, who just didn’t give a damn who knew at what time or the effect it had on their careers. And now Ellen has the highest rated talk show in the US.

  3. Heidi says:

    As terrific as Colin Firth is in A Single Man, I salute him for making this comment. But let’s face it folks, gay actors shouldn’t just be playing gay roles, they should be playing straight ones too.

    That’s why they call it acting, darling!

  4. Beth says:

    Of course gay actors should be playing all roles. That is exactly the point that Colin Firth makes. The issue here is about gay actors
    not getting cast in gay or ‘straight’ roles because they’re ‘out’.

    By listing all the mainstream gay roles I could think of in my post, I attempted to highlight how few gay roles there actually are out there in Hollywood.

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