Thursday, October 11, 2007

National Coming Out Day: Queer Hollywood

Hollywood movies would be more dynamic --or at least more surprising --if there were more diversity in the faces, voices, genders and sexual orientations of the people in front of and behind the camera. We could use more people of color, women and GLBT talent willing to bring their own unique perspective to the movies. So today on National Coming Out Day we celebrate one of the underrepresented brave minorities of Hollywood.


Out Writers, Directors
[Links take you to to official sites or IMDB pages]
Pedro Almodovar -Spain's greatest living filmmaker and the man behind the kissable Volver, the Oscar winning Talk To Her the "fag noir" Bad Education and many other amazing films. I like him... a lot. OK, I lurve him
Jane Anderson Writer/director of The Prize Winner of Defiance Ohio and the TV movies Normal and When Billie Beat Bobby
Gregg Araki -His most recent critical triumph was Mysterious Skin but he's got the Anna Faris stoner comedy Smiley Face awaiting release. Previous credits include The Doom Generation and The Living End
Alan Ball The creator of TV classic Six Feet Under. His current projects are Nothing is Private (awaiting release) and HBO's True Blood (a vampire series)
Clive Barker Horror novelist who also writes and directs his own adaptations including the famous Hellraiser which is getting a remake

Greg Berlanti He directed the popular gay film Broken Hearts Club but his real contribution is executive producing major television series including Everwood, Dirty Sexy Money and current favorite Brothers & Sisters (related B&S post)
Bill Condon The director of Dreamgirls and Kinsey. Oscar winning screenwriter of Gods and Monsters.
Lisa Cholodenko Director of Cavedweller, Laurel Canyon and the terrific, leztastic High Art with Oscar worthy performances from Ally Sheedy and Patty Clarkson (neither were nominated. grrrr)
Stephen Daldry Oscar friendly director of The Hours and Billy Elliott. He's got two promising films in the works: The Reader with Nicole Kidman and Ralph Fiennes and the ambitious adaptation of Michael Chabon mammoth bestseller The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. Er... good luck with that Stephen.
Marleen Gorris Dutch director of Antonia's Line, Mrs Dalloway and the upcoming Heaven and Earth

John Greyson Director of gay indies like Proteus and Lilies (please do see the latter --good stuff). Anyone know where he's gone to since Proteus?
Todd Haynes One of the greatest filmmakers in the world. He'll be expanding his fame and gathering more acclaim when I'm Not There, his Bob Dylan picture opens next month. He's already made at least two masterpieces: Far From Heaven and [safe]. Haynes posts
Nicholas Hytner Theater director who occassionally dabbles in the movies: History Boys, Center Stage, The Crucible among them
Dan Ireland Director of Passionada, Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont and Jolene

Miranda July The performance art charmer from Me and You and Everyone We Know is dating Mike Mills (Thumbsucker) but has been characterized as openly bisexual and "a queer woman" in many a profile
Tom Kalin He disappeared after Swoon his Leopold and Loeb queer indie but he's finally made another film: Savage Grace with Julianne Moore --coming soon.

Joe Mantello Broadway mover and shaker but no movies since Love! Valour! Compassion!
Rob Marshall Director of Chicago, Memoirs of a Geisha and the upcoming musical Nine with Javier Bardem and Catherine Zeta-Jones
John Maybury Director of The Jacket and Love is the Devil... so you have him to thank for that shot of Daniel Craig naked in the bathtub (pre-Bond)
John Cameron Mitchell The multi-hyphenate artistic force behind neo classics Shortbus and Hedwig and the Angry Inch
François Ozon French auteur. He brought you the fabulous gallic divas of 8 Women. Past credits include Swimming Pool and Under the Sand. His new film starring Romola Garai is called Angel

Kimberly Peirce Director of Boys Don't Cry and the 2008 Iraq war soldier drama Stop Loss starring a who's who of young Hollywood including Ryan Phillipe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Victor Rasuk and Channing Tatum
Angela Robinson Director of Debs and Herbie: Fully Loaded
Don Roos Writer director of the highly watchable Happy Endings and The Opposite of Sex. His new project is called Love and Other Impossible Pursuits --JLo is currently set to star
Paul Rudnick Also known as columnist "Libby Gelman-Waxner" from Premier Magazine. His screenwriting credits include the brilliant Addams Family Values and the not so brilliant Stepford Wives remake. He's also a popular playwright
Adam Shankman This director had quite the summer with Hairspray. Previously directed other things best not mentioned now that he's made a really good film.
Joel Schumacher Oft-maligned director of The Number 23, Phantom of the Opera, Batman and Robin, and many more. But he'll always have bragging rights on Colin Farrell's Tigerland breakthrough

Bryan Singer Fanboy favorite director behind Superman Returns the two X-Men movies that are worth anything and The Usual Suspects. Next projects include Valkyrie with Tom Cruise and the mouthwatering possible greatness of The Mayor of Castro Street, a biopic on gay legend Harvey Milk. Please cast well Bryan. Please cast well
Rose Troche(Go Fish, Hung, The L Word)
Guinevere Turner This beautiful brunette acts in Go Fish, American Psycho, The L Word and she writes too. Screenwriting credits include Go Fish, American Psycho and The Notorious Bettie Page
Christine Vachon The legendary producing force behind Killer Films. She's shepherded dozens of the most influential and important American indies of the past two decades onto the screen. She'll be in the history books. Past triumphs include Far From Heaven and Boys Don't Cry and the book A Killer Life.
Gus Van Sant Indie director (My Own Private Idaho) turned Hollywood Oscar force (Good Will Hunting) turned curiousity (Psycho) turned artfilm auteur (Gerry, Elephant, Last Days, and the new film Paranoid Park)
Kevin Williamson Writer of the Scream films. Director of Teaching Mrs Tingle. Recently created the "Hidden Palms" TV series
John Waters American treasure. Credits include: A Dirty Shame, Hairspray, Cry Baby, Pink Flamingos and many more


Out Actors and Performers
Chad Allen Credits include Save Me, End of the Spear, Dr Quinn Medicine Woman and the recurring Donald Strachey Mystery movies on Here! television
John Barrowman Charismatic star of "Torchwood", abundant musical theater goodness, and the wonderful "Night and Day" sequence within De-Lovely
Jackie Beat Drag superstar. Films credits include: Adam & Steve, Flawless, and Grief
Simon Callow Beloved British stage star. Frequent film and television work including Phantom of the Opera, "Angels in America", "Rome", No Man's Land, Shakespeare in Love and of course A Room with a View
Craig Chester Indie film actor and best friend of Parker Posey. Starring roles include: Adam & Steve and Swoon

Allan Corduner Fine character actor. He was Sullivan to Broadbent's Gilbert in the fine Topsy Turvy and his many other credits include Vera Drake
Alan Cumming <--click away. His website is fun. Broadway superstar, cologne hawking cheeky celebrity, X2's Nightcrawler and frequent supporting player in films and television
Wilson Cruz TV supporting player. Seen most famously on My So Called Life. Recently: Noah's Arc and Rick & Steve the Happiest Gay Couple in all the World
Ben Daniels British theater actor. Film credits: Beautiful Thing, Passion in the Desert
Rupert Everett
Enduring celebrity. His beloved supporting role in My Best Friends Wedding didn't bring the expected mainstream lead roles but he's a fine actor and can still get media tongues wagging. Most recently seen in Stardust. Also writes books (More Rupert scribblings)

Harvey Fierstein American treasure. Broadway legend and lifetime activist. Most famous film credits include Mrs Doubtfire and Torch Song Trilogy. Recent Broadway activity includes the smashing revival of Fiddler on the Roof and a TONY win for originated the Edna Turnblad role for the stage version of Hairspray (and yes, he runs rings around John Travolta)
Peter Frechette Theater actor with film and TV credits including Inside Man, Grease 2, and an Emmy win way back when for thirtysomething
Stephen Fry Most famous to movie awards fanatics as the frequent host of the BAFTAs. Also writes hilarious books and acts in films from Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy to Wilde
Robert Gant -From Showtime's Queer as Folk. He'll next be seen in Kiss Me Deadly with Shannen Doherty
Malcolm Gets
Recently starred in the romantic comedy Adam & Steve, most famous for several seasons of TVs Caroline in the City
Jason Gould Son of Barbra Streisand. There's gotta be a movie in that, right?

Neil Patrick Harris "Doogie Howser" finally came out. Currently starring in How I Met Your Mother. And for my money the best part of the Broadway revival of Sondheim's Assassins (great singing voice) though he wasn't the one that got TONY attention.
Cheyenne Jackson United 93 ensemble player and Broadway über hunk: the star of All Shook Up and the colead of the current camp hit Xanadu (More on Cheyenne)
Derek Jacobi Highly acclaimed stage star and frequent film actor. Recent appearances include Underworld: Evolution, Nanny McPhee, Hamlet and Gosford Park. He was also Daniel Craig's keeper (the painter Francis Bacon) in Love is the Devil
T.R. Knight Series regular on Grey's Anatomy
Nathan Lane
Broadway megastar. Most famous film roles: The Producers and The Birdcage
Eric Millegan Series regular on TV's Bones and lots of theater

Sir Ian McKellen Gandalf. Magneto. Superstar. Activist. Hero.
Denis O'Hare
Broadway star. Recent film credits include Michael Clayton (now playing) and that cynical journalist in A Mighty Heart. Let's not talk about that hideous TV movie version of "Once Upon a Mattress"
Peter Paige Most famous for his series regular role on Queer as Folk but he's kept himself busy since with TV, stage, and indie film
David Hyde Pierce "Niles" on Frasier finally came out. It was about freaking time.

Anthony Rapp An original cast member of Rent. Other films include A Beautiful Mind and 80s guilty pleasure Adventures in Babysitting

Christopher Sieber Star of TV's shortlived gay themed comedy It's all Relative. And you have to give him credit for playing straight man to the Olsen Twins in another one season TV flop Two of a Kind. Will be in next year's romantic ensemble drama See You in September
George Takei "Sulu" of TV's legendary Star Trek . Just got killed off on Heroes but not many people stay dead on that show. We'll see.
Rufus Wainwright this folkrock god has been paying homage to Judy Garland for so long now he's starting to feel like a real actress. Plus he's actually acting in films now including Heights and this year's Canadian Oscar submission L'age Des Tenebres (Rufus! Rufus! Rufus!)
Gedde Watanabe Still most famous for playing "Long Duk Dong" in Sixteen Candles but he's done lots of TV work including a few seasons of E.R.
BD Wong Eternally busy thespian and activist. Lots of Broadway (M Butterfly, Pacific Overtures), voice work, and TV under his belt including major lengthy stints on Oz and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Simon Woods Shy cutie Mr. Bingley in Pride & Prejudice and Octavian on HBO's Rome

Out Actresses and Performers
Alexis Arquette Sister of Patricia and Rosanna. America witnessed her journey towards the big snip on The Surreal Life. Past film credits include: Pulp Fiction, The Trip, Wigstock, and Threesome
Sandra Bernhard Legend. Without her you're nothing. Former comic superstardom
Saffron Burrows Eric Bana's delicious lady love in Troy also loves the ladies. Recurring character work on Boston Legal. Other credits include: Reign Over Me, Frida and Miss Julie. Dated her director Mike Figgis and also Alan Cumming (in the list of men above) but is now partnered with Fiona Shaw (The Black Dahlia) --scroll down for her
Ellen Degeneres Talk show megastar. Former leading sitcom lady
Sara Gilbert "Darlene" from Roseanne. Riding in Cars with Boys, 24, Twins
Jane Lynch Awesome comic supporting player: You'll remember her from For Your Consideration, Best in Show and seductively singing to The 40 Year Old Virgin

Cherry Jones Broadway goddess. Longtime activist. Sarah Paulson's girlfriend. Sometime film actor including: The Village and Cradle Will Rock. Meryl Streep snagged Jones's TONY winning Doubt role for the film version
Miriam Margoyles Wonderful character actress who you delighted in (even if you don't know her name in The Age of Innocence, Magnolia and Being Julia among many others
Heather Matarazzo Treated rather gruesomely in this year's Hostel Part 2. Previously seen in The Princess Diaries and abused in Welcome to the Dollhouse
Tammy Lynn Michaels Melissa Etheridge's partner. Television actress most famous for her role on the defunct series Popular. Recent credits include stints on Committed and The L Word
Cynthia Nixon Sex & the City's Miranda. Currently reprising the role for the film version. Also busy on the boards

Rosie O'Donnell Talk show troublemaker. Former comedic superstardom
Sarah Paulson Fresh off of a leading TV role in the cancelled Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Previously rocked stylized period pieces like Down With Love and The Notorious Bettie Page whilst rocking Cherry Jones' world. Her next gig: joining the starry cast of The Spirit directed by Frank Miller
Portia de Rossi From the dearly departed Arrested Development. Formerly of Ally McBeal. Currently on Ellen DeGeneres' arm
Fiona Shaw Stole the show in last year's DePalma oddity The Black Dahlia. Terrorizes Harry Potter every couple of years for a few minutes as Aunt Petunia. Receives endless kudos for brilliant stage work. Next movie is The Other Side with Angelica Huston, Jim Broadbent, Jason Lee, Lili Taylor and many other famous faces. Dating Saffron Burrows
Lily Tomlin Legend. Recently of I Heart Huckabees. Eternally in Nashville. Came out officially in 2000. She's been living with her girlfriend and writing partner Jane Wagner (The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe) since the 1970s

For every A list actor/actress who repeatedly lies about it... For every gay casting director who refuses to consider gay actors for straight or gay roles (grrr and for shame) ... there are a ton of hardworking admirable professionals like these above who aren't afraid to speak their personal truth. They can say the G word with pride ...or at least a minimum of fuss or angst. More power to these brave and awesome entertainers.

Buy tickets to their movies. Watch their TV shows



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If you're here for the first time: please check out the most recent postings. There's daily movie-loving hijinx here at the film experience.

Further Reading? If you want to see more complete lists there's also the Wikipedia pages for a MUCH longer list of famous GLBT people . You'll notice that the list you've just read above has more than its share of Brits: they tend to come out in greater numbers over the pond. Here's the pink list --a list of influential gay Britons published last year in The Independent

88 comments:

Kamikaze Camel said...

It's really not that there aren't enough (there's quite a lot there actually) it's just that when it comes to film and tv not many of them seem to be able to break out of the gay ghetto.

Nicole said...

I honestly didn't know that a lot of those people on the list were gay. I agree, there should be more roles for everyone.

Neel Mehta said...

Paul Rudnick Also known as columnist "Libby Gelman-Waxner"

Wow, I did not know this. I've been a fan of that column for years. I think I even have "her" book.

And Simon Callow is very accomplished. Your description didn't even include the 2 ways I know him: Old Hollywood biographer and Gareth from Four Weddings and a Funeral.

Michael Parsons said...

Sadly the list is so small.
Most of the closeted stars should realise coming out on your own is far better than a public outing.

adam k. said...

I didn't know Stephen Daldry was doing the Kavalier and Clay movie. Good for him. He better do a good job.

Sad for Paul Rudnick to have a name so similar to Paul Rudd. That can't be fun (because people will think of Rudd first, of course... not because there's anything wrong with Rudd).

I love out gay celebrities. There should be more of them. Join the club, Jodie... we'll welcome you with open arms...

Boyd said...

Incidentally, Gus van Sant is also working on his Harvey Milk project, with Sean Penn as Milk and Matt Damon as Dan White. Nothing against Bryan Singer, but Penn as Milk... that I want to see.

Anonymous said...

Jane Lynch is gay? I certainly didn't know that.

Sean Penn is attached to the Harvey Milk bio.

Anonymous said...

kimberley pierce boys dont cry director.

Jose said...

When Did Joel Schumacher came out? , it was pretty obvious like David Hyde Pierce.

Is it me or you forgot Nathan Lane?

Kamikaze Camel said...

Nathan Lane is on there. Neil Armfield is a gay director (stage and film). He made that Heath Ledger/Abbie Cornish Candy movie.

It's weird that Daldry is married, I must say. But I love this quote of his from Wiki:

"They never met. We shot Meryl first, then Julianne, then Nicole. The first time they got together was on The Oprah Winfrey Show and talked about cornflakes."

The "and talked about cornflakes" part makes me giggle.

Anonymous said...

i should out more people.
the singer of bloc party
dolly parton

Diana said...

Why does Stephen Daldry's IMDb page say that he's married with a child then?

And Ben Daniels was recently on television in the wonderful BBC USA miniseries, "The State Within," along with Jason Isaacs.

NATHANIEL R said...

Diana Daldry is married with child but if you read in interviews he still admits to being gay. Check his bio on IMDB for quotes. He's definitely OUT

KingRoper said...

Did Lily Tomlin ever 'officially' come out? I remember being angry that she narrated 'The Celluloid Closet', but refused to discuss her own sexuality at that time.

DavidEhrenstein said...

Lily's out (finally!) And while Michale Urie hasn't done the Full Oprah he's out too.

Anonymous said...

Mexican director Julian Hernandez of broken sky (armond white and mine favorite movie last year) and 1000 clouds of peace.

Anonymous said...

I don't think Cynthia Nixon has ever come out. I mean, I don't think she said she was a lesbian, she said she was dating a woman, that's not the same thing, she could be bi-sexual and date a guy in two year's time.

Jimmy said...

Nathan Lane is gay?

Roo said...

Maybe they dont breakout because audiences don't want to see gay actors in lead roles. It's a fact of life. Thats why they are much better off hiding their personal lives. The actor should be a mystery.

Anonymous said...

I honestly think Daldry got married, because scurrilous rumours about the nature of his relationship with his Billy Elliot star Jamie Bell (the two are very close and have a father-mentor/son type realtionship)were really getting out of control for awhile. Lots of innuendo being bandied about, in the UK press.

As soon as he hooked up with a woman and had a kid, the innuendo pretty much stopped. I don't think there was anything between Daldry and Bell other than what they already stated (surrogate father/son dynamic), but it's sad that because he's a gay man, his realtionship with Bell was viewed in a suspicious fashion by some.

Anonymous said...

"nathan lane is gay?"
i hope that's a joke.
it's like asking "george bush is a retard?"

Anonymous said...

I noticed you included Robert Gant and Peter Paige from Queer As Folk but you left out Randy Harrison...

Anonymous said...

I DO NOT THINK IT HAS ANY BEARING IF AN ACTOR IS GAY/LESBIAN OR NOT!

vince said...

"Penn as Milk... that I want to see."

me too (and the Damon casting is AWESOME)

Seán said...

Psst. Neil Patrick Harris really hates being called "Doogie Howser." Be nice.

Anonymous said...

Isn't Tom Cruise is missing from the list?

Anonymous said...

I thought Ryan Murphy (Popular, Nip/Tuck, Running with Scissors) was openly gay.

Michael Parsons said...

I really though Marc Forster was out...is that just hope?

Anonymous said...

the fabulous director Dan Ireland ["the Whole Wide World"]

Anonymous said...

And articles like this are why the poor little gays will continue to be treated like whiny little kids. Who CARES? I'm very tired of the hissy little Jodie Foster hints in every.single.article about gays in Hollywood. She has more class than everyone on the list put together. Leave her alone and fight your own imaginary battles.

NATHANIEL R said...

Interesting...

yet another person who wants to set Jodie Foster up to some lofty ideal and why? It's just like the mainstream media who continue to call her brave. What is brave about that career. I fail to see it.

I think she's a great actress but she never challenges herself or her audience --always limiting herself to one genre and mall friendly movies. What is so brave or classy about her career choices?

i'm not trying to be argumentative. just really don't understand why people hold her in such high esteem (other than for her acting talent --that's worth celebrating)

Anonymous said...

A lot of things impress me about Jodie Foster, apart from her true acting talent. She's very intelligent, and worked hard to get her academic credentials. She's a private person and never appeared in public acting ridiculous. Her answers when appearing for interviews are well thought out and articulate. She's someone I admire in general,and would love to have as a friend. If she doesn't want to be a role model, that is certainly her choice, and that's why I wish people would leave her alone when writing this type of piece.

NATHANIEL R said...

ok cool. but why denounce people as lesser than when they're in fact behaving more like your garden variety straight person than are the closet cases? I mean seriously: what straight person hides the fact that they're straight?

But I don't really wanna argue about Jodie personal life again (such a tired subject) I just want to celebrate these people. There are a lot of people working against them hammering away at these careers so more power to them.

Catherine said...

I saw Rufus Wainwright last night in Dublin. Swoon. Swoon. Swoon.

Michael said...

Oh my. There's really a lot of those people I had no idea were gay!

I guess that just shows how much I follow stuff about directors and actors that has nothing to do with the films they are making :D

Anonymous said...

are foster's chances for the brave one diminished since the film was only a moderate hit at the b/o and divided critics plus all the wb hoopla,i thought she was excellent in it and deserves a nom.

i am shiva said...

Simon Woods (Pride & Prejudice, HBO's Rome) is out, tho not making much noise about it (then again, he's not exactly a star)...

He used to be Rosamund Pike's bf BTW, came out, and now she's with Joe Wright. Musta been awkward during the filming of the Jane/Bingley scenes in P&P...

Anonymous said...

Miranda July? For real? Nice.

And someone add Bryan Fuller, creator of dead-before-its-time "Wonderfalls," "Dead Like Me" and the fabulous "Pushing Daisies."

Lurkanboy said...

It's funny to see that list and realize that there is not a single movie star who is openly gay or even bisexual, yet James Dean and Marlon Brando are the two biggest male stars of all time and both were involved with men at some point in time. Then again nobody knew it, the audience thought they were 100% straight.

NATHANIEL R said...

I don't know lurkanboy... isn't Ian McKellen a movie star at this point?

and yes there are some big stars today who aren't out but i think the people who are we ought to lift up higher as audience members

still now that there's big time OUT tv stars, music stars, and sports stars the movie star can't be too far away...

Anonymous said...

You can add Laurence Olivier, Danny Kaye, and a host of others to that list.

My point, as a straight person, is "Who cares????" I honestly don't. The first time I saw Rupert Murdoch was in "My Best Friend's Wedding" and I just fell in love with him. We'll never get together, so it doesn't matter to me if he's gay.

Making an actor/writer/director, etc., all about "being gay" is what I find a turn off.

Anonymous said...

Stephen Daldry was for many years in a relationship with the designer Ian MacNeill (son of Robert, formerly of the PBS News Hour).

Catherine said...

Ian McKellen is MOST DEFINITELY a movie star. Yesss.

Anonymous said...

wouldn'that be rupert everett,why he does look very strange nowadays v fanciable in pret a porter & my best friend's wedding but weird looking of late,is he ill.

Alex said...

Although Ian McKellen is terrific, let's not go crazy and call him a movie star...well-known, respected actor, YES!

Kamikaze camel, -- so true about the gay ghetto...wonder if it's a case of out gays not being able to break into "conventional" Hollywood or if they prefer working on the outside for more creative freedom? I'd guess that's why a lot of liberal, reasonable, non-out gays choose to stay mum about their orientation - the fear of being banished to the "gay ghetto" - not that it's necessarily a bad thing...

Anonymous said...

For every A list double Oscar-winning actress who stays mum... For every A list actor who (much worse) repeatedly lies about it... For every gay casting director who (worst of all!) refuses to consider gay actors for straight or gay roles....

One of these things is not like the other.

NATHANIEL R said...

anonymous 4:26 --i see what you're saying but i think you're misinterpreting the listing as being that that's all there is to these people.

But assigning someone a characteristic --and one they've accepted or claimed themselves -- is not the same thing as saying "this person is ONLY gay"

especially when you stop to actually ponder the incredibly diverse group this is -different skill sets, different styles of performers and creative people, different target audiences for their work... well, it's pretty edifying I think.

as for the gay ghetto thing --not to be unkind to a few of the names mentioned which I won't point at ;) --that's far more of a problem for those of an average or below average range of talent.

I actually think that a good percentage of people on this list have enviable careers. While it's true that there aren't any Julia Roberts size celebrities you have to consider that there's only a handful of celebrities of that magnitude in the world anyway. The vast majority of actors don't work much at all. So these people (or at least half of them ;) are doing just fine... no ghetto to speak of

T. Trist said...

HAPPY NATIONAL COMING OUT DAY!

Here's a great contribution from two lesbian women to commemorate the National Coming Out Day
Video of the Ultimate Coming Out - Wow!

You can also go directly to FaithoftheAbomination.com. Their story will be told in a documentary film. I feel this will be groundbreaking for the GLBT community.

lurkanboy said...

alex,

as an openly bisexual actor I can tell you that you can be cast in mainstream films.. IF YOU DON'T TALK ABOUT YOUR SEXUALITY. Forget about showing up to premieres with your boyfriend, especially if you're young and hot and you could be the next big thing.
What's also quite depressing is that someone like Todd Haynes is openly gay but doesn't hire gay actors..and most of the male characters are gay in his films ! I mean, Dennis Quaid, Ewan McGregor, Christian Bale... these are big parts that could be played by openly gay/bi actors.
Ian Mckellen is a respected actor. A movie star like George Clooney or Brad Pitt, with that level of fame ? Please (not saying it's better to be a movie star)

NATHANIEL R said...

good point (about the gay directors not championing gay actors) but some of those concerns are of course financial. If more gay actors came out it would be less of an issue

but with far from heaven for example they had a hard time funding and had to have someone on julianne moore's fame level for the husband role

Anonymous said...

The problem for actors coming out must be their total lack of credibility in straight roles afterwards - or is that just me? I truly can't take TR Knight seriously as a ladykiller in "Greys" now I know he'd much rather be with McSteamy or McDreamy than his wife or Izzie - it's too silly given all the hoo-ha or, really, is it me?

Anonymous said...

I have to ask - WHEN did Lily Tomlin come out? Not that everyone didn't already guess it years beforehand.

Anon. 4:26, in an ideal world, we shouldn't have to care, and it shouldn't matter. In the world we actually live in, where anything other than "straight" is hushed up, repressed, forbidden, etc etc, it's very important - especially for all of us who grew up thinking we we the only ones who felt the way we did, thinking we were abnormal (or worse), who came out far later than we might have because we didn't know that what we were and felt was real...to have role models in the real world is very important. I won't dictate to others their own choice - I don't want to push my orientation in other people's faces for the sake of being shocking (I went through that phase in college); but neither do I want to introduce my significant other as just "my friend", as if I were ashamed of a relationship of eleven years (and counting), the most important relationship of my life. Imagine a straight man or woman having to hide the fact that they are married.

Oh, and that brings me to the fact that I'd really love to marrying my partner, to whom I am emotionally married but the "church and state" forbid marriage and a whole host of other rights and privileges that married heterosexuals take for granted.

It matters until we reach the day when the real world and the ideal world are one and the same and then perhaps it will no longer matter.

Until that day comes, I care - very much. I care for all the young people coming out and coming of age. And while I have no interest in castigating those who do not chose to come out, I have no interest in supporting their denials either (if it's no big deal, then it should be no big deal - right?) I do however applaud Nathaniel for his list of role models so the rest of us can share in applauding them.

RedSatinDoll

Lurkanboy said...

Anon 7:49
You're not the only one, that's why it's hard to be taken seriously.
On the other hand, what do you think of Javier Bardem playing Arenas in Before night falls ?
I mean, is it ok to cast a straight actor as a VERY promiscuous gay man ?

Anonymous said...

RedSatinDoll -- that was beautifully written, and I appreciate your point. Maybe I should have "I don't care" instead of "who cares". Obviously, there is still a huge bias against gays, and no, nobody should have to hide their significant other, or themselves, to appease anyone else's sensibilities.

Things have come a long way in a relatively few years. I'm optimistic.

P.S. Thanks to you all for not bashing me without mercy for the "Rupert Murdoch" typo! Even though I deserved it!

Anonymous said...

And to Nathaniel -- I know, intellectually, that there is much more to each of the people on your list than the fact that they are gay. However, lists like this tend to marginalize them, rather than celebrate them, in my opinion. But I do understand the intent behind your piece, and am very much enjoying your blog.

NATHANIEL R said...

i'm disappointed to read that people can't take ACTORS seriously when they play CHARACTERS. what is that about? I never think about Angelina Jolie when I'm watching Brad Pitt act in movies with other women.

you're honestly thinking of TR Knight's bedroom activities with men when you're watching him with Katharine Heigl.

Why???

Think about how preconditioned that rejection is. Did you spend the entirety of Brokeback Mountain thinking about how Heath Ledger would rather be a woman than Jake Gyllenhaal?

Anonymous said...

Lily Tomlin actually came out finally??

Arkaan said...

regarding Jodie Foster

Why do people hold her to some "lofty ideal" for her career? For me, it's her history. She started acting when she was three, got an oscar nomination for a very difficult role when she was 12, survived being stalked by a psychopath who attempted to kill the president as a manifestation of his obssession with her. She won two oscars in short order (her latter being for one of the most iconic films of our time). She's been nominated since then and directed films successfully. She can basically open a film despite taking absences of years (to the point where the underwhelming performance of her film is misinterpreted by idiots). She's always been a fiercely private individual that has lived most of her life in front of cameras. Is her career brave? Maybe not. But Jodie Foster's combination of talent, intelligence and fortitude have certainly earned my respect, and I have no problem with her insisting her life be private.

anon @ 2:01 (the one who mentioned Jodie Foster)

What imaginary battle? I'm serious. One of the more noted anecdotes around this subject I recall surrounds Will & Grace and the casting of Will. It came down to three peoeple, two of whom were John Barrowman and Eric McCormack. The latter got the part, and when Barrowman asked why, he was told he wasn't "gay" enough. Now, the wonderful irony is that Barrowman is gay, McCormack is not.

I'd argue that Nathaniel's larger point is a salient one. Fact is, being openly gay/lesbian is not a plus inside Hollywood - certainly not for any possible star. So those gay men and women who choose to live openly are likely doing themselves some harm in terms of their career (see the recent Heroes kerfuffle). And that's worth remarking upon, both for their own honesty as well as a valediction for the future.

And finally, Nathaniel's sadness at the "well, I don't find them convincing now" is well earned. When a straight actor plays gay, we praise his bravery. When a gay actor plays straight, we're not convinced? Meh. Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor were still an astonishingly hot/romantic/lovely couple in A Place in the Sun, regardless of Clift's sexuality. TR Knight hasn't become defined solely by his sexuality, and I find it a little depressing to see other people define him thusly.

Anonymous said...

About time someone mentioned Clift. I know this is about current Hollywood, but I thought Clift was more or less out in NY after getting the boot from Hollywood.

Actually, factor in the straightification of gay US culture and Hollywood's "golden era" looks like a back room at a Weimar cabaret by comparison.

The Other Andrew said...

I went to a premiere screening of "Zero Patience" here in Sydney, many years ago now, and John Greyson intro'd the film and took questions. Lovely, lovely man. Funny and very generous with his time. Crush-worthy.

Kamikaze Camel said...

"My point, as a straight person, is "Who cares????" I honestly don't."

Well, you're straight so of course you wouldn't care. But it's just a fact that many younger homosexuals, whether they be men or women, would look up to opening gay actors if there were more of them. As a straight person you're not meant to feel ostrasised because of who you have feelings for so you really can't gage at all what it's like to read/be apart of this list. Not one single bit.

On the thing about watching gay actors playing straight roles I actually must admit that if I see people like Rupert Everett playing womanisers or whatever I get a bit of a :/ reaction.

Anonymous said...

i neve ever think of anyones bedroom practices while i watch them,i have enjoyed ga actors in str8 roles and sr8 actors in gay roles.

Derek said...

I saw Cheyenne Jackson yesterday in front of the gym. He's even hotter in person :)

NATHANIEL R said...

great. crazy thing I forgot to mention. Just hours after posting this list I passed Christine Vachon on the street. I normally don't bother industry people but I was so tempted to say 'OMG. CHRISTINE VACHON! I LOVE YOU. BLAH BLAH BLAH' on account of her enormous contribution to the cinema and the assumption that she wouldn't be sick of fans all starstruck begging for her attention --one assumes it doesn't happen that often on city streets since she's not onscreen.

Cagatay said...

Miranda July? Wow, this only makes her even more perfect.

Alex said...

re: Jodie Foster lack of bravery in career

Nathaniel, you make an excellent point. She always does great work even in mediocre movies, but I suppose since she's Jodie Foster, you can't expect less. But yeah I've also found that for whatever reason she stopped taking big risks(I'd say The Brave One is a minor one). And I'm become very much pissed at her for that reason.

I'm no JF fanatic, but having read some features on her, it sounds like she was very hurt by how much crap people gave her on her Nell performance. She's said that one is her personal favorite, but people ridiculed her a lot. I'd guess she's just afraid of another Nell-like whipping? I hope she gets over it though, there's so much more for her to offer than her run of the mill emotionally victimized strong women.

Her personal life I care less about. I always say do what's best for you, your family, and friends. None of us knows her, so we can't know what her reasons are. Would her coming out help me, or other gay people personally? Nope. Maybe for visibility's sake which is people's points, but I'd never ask someone (famous or not) to sacrifice careers or themselves for me.

Anyhow, thanks for the blog, enjoy it very much.

Anonymous said...

after over 30 years in films nell is still foster;s best performance,i like jodie and would see a film becuase she was in it,you know it will be a quality film even though at ties u may ont like the subject matter but what happened in 94 did they really need to give it to lange doing what she always had done since frances - go crazy and scream every other line,the film was poor and so was she bringing nothing new to the table,i hear she isn't that well liked anyway and the plastic surgery she had has killed her chances of decent film roles.

oh nat update 1994 in oscar years past i'd love to know your best actress thought for 94

here are mine

sigourney weaver - death and the maiden
jodie foster - nell
crissy rock - ladybird ladybird
miranda richardson - tom and viv
meg ryan - when a man loves a woman

i feel yours would be
jason leigh
fiorentino
richardson
foster
ryder

NATHANIEL R said...

You write: "Would her coming out help me, or other gay people personally? Nope."

Ah, but you underestimate the power of visibility. Even though the world is depressingly anti civil rights and personal liberties at this particular moment (what with fundamentalist thinking and religiousity prevailing) the MANY advances made in civil liberties were only made on the backs of brave people who risked far more than anybody getting up to speed in 2007 can imagine.

People still are conditioned to say "you can't become a big star if you're out of the closet" but notice people have, by and large, stopped saying "nobody will hire you if you admit you're gay!" which used to be the accepted wisdom.

Why have they stopped saying it?

Visibility.

The people on this list (and others unlisted in other fields) are the ones that broke through that lazy conditioning and made this a better place for younger GLBT people.

wells said...

Not like it really matters who's gay and who isn't, but in the name of fact-checking, Miranda July is currently dating the director Mike Mills, and used to date director Miguel Arteta.

NATHANIEL R said...

well, like Daldry she must lead an unconventional life because she doesn't mind the queer term

See Curve

Anonymous said...

"Unconventional life" ?
You mean, she has sex with men AND women ? How disgusting ! lol

NATHANIEL R said...

i know. EWWW gross ha ha
god bless the people who don't live the cookie cutter life.

anyway...

the people on the list were drawn from several lists which detail the same. I fact checked the ones I was doubtful on who do have relationships that people immediately point to as "THEY'RE NOT GAY!!!" like Daldry, July, and Saffron Burrows who once dated Alan Cumming (also on the list) and is now apparently with Fiona Shaw --everyone's favorite Black Dahlia crazy.

i excluded people like Angelina Jolie and Drew Barrymore and other people on other lists who've mentioned their bisexuality but don't seem at all interested in talking about it past the time frame in their celebrity when they were in shock mode assuming it's something like the "lesbian until graduation" phenomenon...

the only person i'm thinking i should drop is Joel Schumacher --i can't seem to find anything official other than everyone saying it about him forever. and if that were the case we'd be talking about some other people too you know...

Boyd said...

Re: Joel...

You think the man who brought Queer as Folk to America and directed both Batman & Robin & The Phantom of the Opera should be taken down from the list?!

Nate, you need some sleep! You can't think straight!

smugguy said...

As for the hacky Joel Schumacher, I remember seeing something about the transfer of Queer as folk to American television, and he basically stated that those characters on the show, especially the Dr. Who obsessed gay lead, were just like him and his friends, so I think it's valid.

Anonymous said...

As well as being role models for closeted gays, well-known stars can also help promote tolerance to moderate-minded individuals who are not gay and who are generally unsure about homosexuality.

I have nothing against a person's sexual orientation, but i must admit i dont actually know anyone personally who is gay and up until i came across this blog, i never once considered how i would be if i ever did encounter somebody who was gay. I'm the type who would be terrfied to say something in case i said something offensive. I can honestly say this blog has helped me overcome any feelings of awkwardness i had on this matter.

People fear what they dont know or understand and i think in knowing famous people who are gay, it may hopefully lead to more tolerance and awareness in moderate communities. It stops being strange and different, and so maybe people will be less afraid of coming out if they know they already have a support structure in place.

So thank you nathaniel for your musings. I love your blog and I always find myself reading something that makes me smile each time i visit :)

(sorry for the long post)

Alex said...

Thanks anon 9:12pm for reminding me that there are still tons of people out there who think they don't know any gay people and perhaps a handful who actually don't...

I think the only way to really evoke change is for us everyday people sharing ourselves with our friends and families, not waiting around for famous people to do it for us. I know this argument can go on forever, and I've heard all side, believe me, but coming out is such a personal, empowering thing, that I find it somewhat tyrannical to smoke people out of the closet unless they're a Sen. Craig type of course.

Anonymous said...

I think the only way to really evoke change is for us everyday people sharing ourselves with our friends and families, not waiting around for famous people to do it for us.

How true is that?

ShaWn said...

miranda july isn't gay. where did you read that?

NATHANIEL R said...

After Ellen and there's also the Curve link a few comments up.

openly bisexual

NATHANIEL R said...

anon 9:12
thank you, a lot. I'm glad you're here and reading

Anonymous said...

Its an interesting point about Brits. Europeans are more open-minded about people and they dont suffer from being placed in groups and cliques. Its easier to come out over there. They're not as obsessed about celebrity personalities as Hollywood is - few people care if someone is gay or not.

Anonymous said...

Uh... Miranda July is not gay..perhaps bisexual in ther past ? She seriously dated a friend of mine and is now dating another man.

NATHANIEL R said...

doesn't anybody read the comments? or do they just comment ;)

Miranda July dates men, yes. But she has been described in media profiles as a queer woman and openly bisexual... so who am I to remove her from the list if larger media organizations characterize her that way and she accepts the characterization?

i'm thinking it's an Ani DiFranco situation...

IN OR OUT
by Ani DiFranco

"guess there's something wrong with me
guess I don't fit in
no one wants to touch it
no one knows where to begin
I've got more than one membership
to more than one club
and I owe my life
to the people that I love

he looks me up and down
like he knows what time it is
like he's got my number
like he thinks it's his
he says,
call me, Miss DiFranco,
if there's anything I can do
I say,
It's Mr. DiFranco to you

somedays the line I walk
turns out to be straight
other days the line tends to
deviate
I've got no criteria for sex or race
I just want to hear your voice
I just want to see your face

She looks me up and down
like she thinks that I'll mature
like she's got my number
like it belongs to her
she says,
call me, Ms. DiFranco
if there's anything I can do
I say, I've got spots
I've got
stripes, too

their eyes are all asking
are you in, or are you out
and I think, oh man,
what is this about?
tonight you can't put me
up on any shelf
'cause I came here alone
I'm gonna leave by myself

I just want to show you
the way that I feel
and when I get tired
you can take the wheel
to me what's more important
is the person that I bring
not just getting to the same restaraunt
and eating the same thing"

Kamikaze Camel said...

I just kinda want to make sense of this Jodie Foster thing. She's been in Panic Room (great movie), Flightplan (crap movie), Inside Man (great movie), The Brave One (apparently crap movie) and had a french-speaking cameo in A Very Long Engagement (great movie). So where does this argument that "she gives good performances in bad movies" come from?

Two crap movies in the span of five years doesn't equal an endless stream of crap to me.

Alex said...

Sorry kamikaze camel, I know I said she does good work in mediocre movies, I don't know if someone else said they were crap movies.

Truthfully, now that you've pointed them out, I've liked all the ones you mentioned, including Flightplan and The Brave One (the endings of both ruined the movies chances of being better). So IDK, maybe I subconsciously hold her to higher standards? :)

Anonymous said...

That's quite a list. Now I know what television to skip and what movies to miss!
If you're looking for girls, hang out on Sunset Blvd.
If you're looking for boys, hang out on Hollywood Blvd.
If you don't know what you're looking for, hang out on Melrose Blvd.

Anonymous said...

Why has't Kevin Spacey come out yet?
He hits on the gay guys at all of the gay clubs in Toronto each September during the Toronto International Film Festival

Anonymous said...

I think some of the people on that list are bisexual because they've been dating men and women back and forth.