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"I wanted to do a show about people who are not 'super,' just working-class people, the people history steps on. (Joss on Firefly)"
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November 30 2010

Will Hollywood ever cast an openly gay actor as a franchise headliner? NPH offered as a prime small screen example of why an actor's sexuality shouldn't matter.

It WILL happen. With Torchwood on Starz, it's kinda already happened.
Nope. It's unfortunate.

Well, maybe in a few decades. Not now. We're still having trouble getting minority leads in television shows :-\
I don't have a problem with an openly gay actor playing straight or vice-versa. I know I'm gonna catch fire for this, but I'm not sure NPH's Barney character on HIMYM is straight. The whole Barney-as-hetero-player-god-thing to me comes off as forced with him trying way too hard to overcompensate something - daddy issues, mommy issues, latent repressed homosexuality, whatever. I wouldn't be surprised (and would be secretly delighted) were Barney and Ted to get together on that show (Ted's metro-sexuality is another tell, btw. It was that episode when Ted started wearing makeup that also featured Barney running around several times without his shirt on that started my thinking along this direction...)

I remember when Anne Heche (then with Ellen) catching flack for playing Harrison Ford's love interest in Six Days Seven Nights, but I don't know that had anything to do with it's box office receipts or anemic rottentomatoes rating.
Napua-Barney definitely has daddy issues. In fact, he just recently learned who his father really is...
They will eventually of course, how long it'll take could be depressing to consider too closely.

I think Rupert Everett may have a point right now but that's one of those horrible chicken/egg situations - if everyone stays in the closet it'll take longer to change but at the same time, who are we to ask people to risk their careers ? And his Holmes was excellent BTW (although that said, Holmes is only barely heterosexual and anyway, it's not as if gay actors should need to prove they can play straight).

(as an aside BTW, for the first time I understand all the "Is this the gayest Superman yet ?" internet kerfuffle about 'Superman Returns' - previously it hadn't made much sense to me because a) he didn't seem gay when I saw it and b) I didn't know Bryan Singer was gay since clearly that's the actual cause of the question being asked rather than what was on the screen)
The omission of John Barrowman as Captain Jack on Torchwood is kind of glaring.
Indeed, he rates a mention although they seem to be talking about movie franchises WRT the actual thrust of the article.
Three things have happened in the last twenty years or so that make me think it won't be long before an actor's perceived sexual orientation will become a non-issue in casting leading roles.
1. Straight actors are accepting gay roles without much hesitation. They don't worry that if they play a gay character they will be typecast or that the audience will think that they are gay IRL.
2. The public has become accustomed to the idea that many actors are gay and that closeted gay actors have played hetero leads.
3. Some black actors such as Denzel Washington have become A list and are cast in leads and major roles that don't necessarily call for a person of color, and their movies have made money. This suggests that audiences can identify with actors who differ from themselves in major ways.
Uh, folks, you might want to note the kerfluffle that occurred not all that long ago, as noted here:

http://www.newsweek.com/2010/04/30/straight-jacket.html
and
http://www.newsweek.com/2010/05/12/straight-talk-continued.html

This created a firestorm about whether or not gays could play straight, with the author trying to argue it was not possible. And I am not sure we can make a clear analogy to race v. sexuality, nor that it is about actors who differs from others. And Amber Benson might beg to disagree with you, janef. She spent a lot of time trying to get out from under the character of Tara and the perception she was gay and as a result was not offered jobs.
it's not as if gay actors should need to prove they can play straight

And conversely, straight actors shouldn't be taken to task for playing "gay" roles. That is a giant FAIL on the part of filmmakers and television producers (edit - sorry, I mean the notion that gay actors shouldn't be leads in projects where the character happens to be portrayed as straight). Oh, I have an idea, as an experiment, please cast that gorgeous man mentioned in the topic link as Superman and see what happens, because I'm betting if he's talented (the only thing that really matters even though on my other shoulder I am hearing Joss' Equality Now speech being conflated to including gay actors/actors of color included in these bits: Why is this even a question!? ... Because. Equality is not a concept.) no one will give a shit. I tend to believe that most people in this country and the world are not insane bigots with axes to grind.

If only it were true.

[ edited by Tonya J on 2010-11-30 21:30 ]
If the actor's right for the part and willing/available, then I'd say yes. Money trumps all in Hollyweird, my friend, even prejudice.
If Hollywood ever makes a movie about WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange, then they should cast NPH in the role since he kind of resembles Assange.
Doubtful? I bet the only reason the Cheyenne Jackson (the actor mentioned as a possible Superman) is out of the closet is because he's primarily a theater actor, and apparently has a great voice. He does film and TV, but that's not where his primary job lies and Broadway and the world of theater is way, way, way more accepting of gay people playing straight.
Three things have happened in the last twenty years or so that make me think it won't be long before an actor's perceived sexual orientation will become a non-issue in casting leading roles.

I'm more sanguine that this is the case than some here, but...

1. Straight actors are accepting gay roles without much hesitation. They don't worry that if they play a gay character they will be typecast or that the audience will think that they are gay IRL.

this isn't quite a reality yet. Just a couple/three years ago, Thomas Dekker's reps insisted that the Heroes showrunners make his character straight for fear the original concept of Zach being gay would hurt his chances of getting the role of John Connor.
janef: It goes the toher way, too, tho. Eddie Murphy *was* an A-lister in the 80s and most of the 90s and has since dropped back itno the celluloid ghetto in terms of how he's marketed and the properties he appears in.

napua: I regard your comemnts about Ted as a kind of stereotyping.

Dana5140: You said it better than I could have - mainly because you actually research this stuff whereas I prefer to type thru my hat. Altho I think it was less that amebr lsot roles because *she* was perceived as gay but that casting directors thought audiences would always react to her as having a elsbian persona on-screen. I didn't enjoy Hollowoodland but it made the point about tyepcasting.

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