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