Probably a lot of people have heard about Bret Easton Ellis's douchebag tweets
about how Matt Bomer is "too gay" to play Christian Gray in the 50 Shades of Gray
movie."Matt Bomer is NOT about discrimination. It's about an intensely straight actor wanting absolutely to screw Ana Steele." | "Matt Bomer isn't right for Christian Grey because he is openly gay. He's great for other roles but this is too big a game." | "I think Matt Bomer is incredibly handsome and a good actor but I think he comes off totally gay in White Collar."
Ignoring for a moment that I hope to god Matt isn't actually considering it, it's obviously a really dumb thing to say, for reasons that probably don't even bear repeating. But I was just reading this article
slamming him, and it's nothing extraordinary but I thought this was worth sharing:
Understanding Ellis’ reaction is important to appreciating the hypocrisy when the on-screen sexual orientation scenario is reversed: Was Tom Hanks less believable playing a gay man in Philadelphia because the audience couldn’t resolve the role with his real-life marriage to Rita Wilson? Ditto for Sean Penn in Milk? Colin Firth in A Single Man? Greg Kinnear in As Good as it Gets? Perhaps the reason they were accepted in prominent gay roles and generously honored for doing so is because, deep down, there’s homophobic residue that exists in even the most enlightened dude’s psyche that is reassured by the reality that those actors are “just pretending” to be gay. It gives these males the opportunity to have it both ways — no pun intended. They can admire the “courageous” performance but sleep easy knowing that the actor is, really, just like them.
It made me think of when Brokeback Mountain came out and Ian McKellen said, "It is very, very, very difficult for an American actor who wants a film career to be open about his sexuality. And even more difficult for a woman if she's lesbian." Well, yeah, because apparently Matt Bomer can't even be counted on to overcome his overwhelming gayness long enough to fake being attracted to a person of the opposite sex, even though it's my understanding that his job as an actor is to fake a lot of things he probably isn't feeling at the time. But obviously this movie is "too big a game" to take a chance on his questionable acting skills! I mean, what if the audience thinks he's faking his erection?? NON-OSCAR WINNERS NEED NOT APPLY.
Of course straight actors never have a problem landing gay roles. Hollywood fawns all over straight men who play gay characters, and beautiful women who play unattractive characters (i.e. Charlize Theron in Monster
), as if the most artistically challenging thing a beautiful woman could do is make herself ugly, and the bravest thing a man could do is kiss another man, because what woman wants to look unattractive and what man wants to risk others questioning his masculinity?
It makes me wonder, had they hired gay actors to play those roles in Brokeback Mountain, if those men would have received all the praise that Jake and Heath did, even if they were just as good. I'm trying really hard to imagine anyone calling Matt Bomer "brave" if he (god forbid) signed on to play Christian Gray. I'm pretty sure 99% of the responses would be like Bret Easton Ellis's, wondering if he can pull off playing a straight dude. And if he did pull it off and had everyone convinced that he wanted Ana to suck his popsicle, would he get an Oscar nomination for it? Obviously not, given the movie, but when's the last time a gay man was so highly praised for playing straight that he got nominated for any award? Never, because straight is "normal" so everyone should be able to do that. It's shouldn't be hard for any man to act like he's attracted to a woman, even if he's gay. Basically, Matt Bomer is damned if he does and damned if he doesn't.
It also makes me wonder if Brokeback Mountain would have been nearly as popular if the leads had been played by gay men. Everyone in the theater knew (or assumed) that Heath and Jake weren't gay, especially with Jake and Heath being asked every five minutes if it was hard or awkward to kiss a guy. [Ian McKellen: "I got very upset when one of the actors (Jake Gyllenhaal) said it was the most terrifying job he’d ever had because it involved him kissing another man. Imagine how rude that is. Suppose I’d said the most appalling thing I ever had to do was kiss Helen Mirren!"] But if the audience had known they were watching two gay men make out, have sex, and stare passionately into one another's eyes, it would have made a lot of people uncomfortable. Because, you know, those guys do that in real life! It's not even acting, what they're doing up there! They're really kissing and having sex!
Meanwhile, the idea of Matt Bomer having sex with a woman is interrupting Bret Easton Ellis's boner.