Director Todd Holland Clarifies Advice on Coming Out as an Actor

Emmy-winning director Todd Holland clarifies his advice (offered at a panel at Outfest) that to succeed, actors should stay in the closet. Here's part of Holland's clarification, all of which you can read at The Wrap:

Holland "If you’re a guy, no one cares … unless you're in that fractional .002 percent of the young male actor population, and you really have the goods to become a true leading man. Then there may be obstacles to both living authentically and achieving that Holy Grail of dreams: real, tent-pole-sized Hollywood Stardom.

Gatekeepers abound at every level. Studios are like feisty Chihuahuas — they are inherently fearful, and if their bottom lines are at risk, they’ll bite. Agents and managers do not push rocks up hill — they’ll push level (but prefer downhill).

And their bottom lines are also at risk. Casting directors (sometimes gay ones especially) are often very reluctant to promote openly gay actors fearing, I imagine, some 'what the f— are you thinking?' response from straight employers.

My damning words were: 'If you are that .002 percent … I can't tell you to come out.'

I never said stay in the closet. And that matters. My meaning in 'I can't tell you to come out' is inherently parental.

Translation: 'If you take the path of coming out, you will be living authentically — and that is a great achievement in anyone’s life. But I can't promise you're going to skirt the gatekeepers or scale the hurdles the system has in place.'

To me, that is a real and honest answer. Yes, it is neither activist nor idealistic — but it is the real world I work in every day. It is the world in which I live authentically."

I appreciate Holland's clarification, but do take offense at his characterization of blogs as cockroaches.

Roos In related news, film director Don Roos made remarks at Outfest similar to Holland's. Roos says that he doesn't believe actors should come out of the closet:

“I prefer more mystery. I don’t want to know about [the actor’s] political views, whether they’re gay or straight. I have a deep respect for homophobia [in American society] and I don’t think it will ever go away. I don’t think actors coming out is going to help end homophobia. I think doctors, teachers and lawyers coming out will end homophobia…We’re a country of bigots. I don’t want that to go away entirely. We wouldn’t be interesting anymore."


  1. elcamino says

    “I have a deep respect for homophobia in American society,” says Roos. “We are a country of bigots. I don’t want that to go away entirely. We wouldn’t be interesting anymore.”

    Where to begin? Seriously?

    People at odds add charm to life. Bigots add color to the national fabric. Who knew that hatred could be so fucking ornamental? We should all have deep and lasting respect for the people who ensure that we’re second class citizens in our own damn country.

    What is WRONG with people in Hollywood?

    Right you are Roos. Twat.

    Christ he must live in a gated community with closed circuit cameras and never see anyone outside his own demographic or else how to explain the stupid fuckwit?

  2. says

    1) Anyone gay who didn’t already hate Todd Holland will hate him after reading his clarification. It’s worth the time to appreciate just how egotistical an asshole this guy is.
    2) Don Roos comments are much more destructive than Holland’s. Trolling for publicity, much? Don Roos– the Perez Hilton of OUTFEST, and his work is just about as full of homophobia as Perez’s work as well.

  3. Rad says

    ZNSD, I concur. Roos is an idiot. I guess he never had to grow up hiding a crush on a male matinee idol or yearning for some positive role model to help keep him anchored while the [parents | peers | neighborhood] were physically or verbally beating him down?

    And how did OutFest respond? Why do these film organizations get these mouthy idiots to speak to the next generation of talent?

    The gay community has wasted too damn much time with this “Agree to disagree” mentality. Too many people that now have it easy just-don’t-get-it; that they have it easier because a bunch of gays decades ago decided they had enough of being trivialized in the margins of society. Now these vapid idiots are just spouting off “Margins are good. Stay in the margins”.

    Fuck Roos and all those like him.


  4. says

    If blogs are cockroaches, then they are fed by shit and shit is what Holland was talking on that panel. Now he’s trying to clarify things to say he’s not supporting the status quo, just pointing it out. Fair enough, but Roos actually thinks he’s being funny and edgy by arguing on behalf of bigotry. What a fucking idiot, and what a shame because he makes some great movies that, as I think back on them, don’t show any telltale signs of respecting bigotry. I’ll have to re-watch.

    Very sad.

  5. Anthony in Nashville says

    And they say black gays are the only people living double lives and scared to come out of the closet!

    The Outfest fiasco shows that even among wealthy and elite gays there is not a lot of “pride.”

  6. dc says

    Todd Holland and Don Roos are both homophobic assholes. They are both generationally disconnected (they hold fast on to old, outdated ideas), and they are both cogs in an antiquated machine. Time will flush this trash away.

  7. steve says

    I have just 3 words for both of these egotistical assholes who say that actors should stay in the closet:


    NPH’s career has SKYROCKETED since he came out of the closet. He is PROOF POSITIVE that an openly gay actor can have a flourishing, dynamic career.

    Screw Roos, and Maul Holland. Both can SYFPH.

  8. cholito says

    Todd Holland is a national treasure as a director, and has the utmost authority to speak about big time actors in Hollywood. He gave us that masterpiece “Firehouse Dog” and directed a few random (but ultimately earthshattering) c-list tv episodes.

    This is about the only exposure he’ll ever get.
    It would be interesting to see the opinions of more “successful”.. let’s say powerful gay hollywood directors such as Bryan Singer or Adam Shankman.

  9. sugarrhill says

    You guys are truly living in Narnia. NPH career isn’t skyrocketing. He’s doing well, but he’s not leading man material. He’s about the best thing on How I Met Your Mother, but don’t think for a second he’ll be starring as the lead in the next romantic comedy with Reese Witherspoon or Katherine Heigl. NPH is an amazing role model, but he’s the exception to the rule. He was always out, but he never discussed his personal life until forced. He’s the exception to the rule. And out actors won’t end homophobia. Like Roos said “doctors, teachers and lawyers coming out will end homophobia.”

  10. JeffRob says

    Yeah, I agree with sugarhill, and with Roos, to a certain extent. He’s basically saying the same thing that religious conservatives say to the gay community, which is: if you really believe diversity is a strength in this country, than you also need to believe we are strengthened by our diverse faith communities, including fundamental Christianity and its anti-gay beliefs. We believe they’re fools wasting their lives chasing bullshit, and they feel exactly the same way about us. Yay, diversity!

    In other words, get over yourselves, homos. It’s a big country, and a lot- A LOT- of people don’t think we are due any legal recognition whatsoever, let alone equality. Deal with it, and stop acting like every gay person and every avowed liberal needs to feel exactly the same way as you or they’re your mortal enemy. It’s extremely unbecoming.

  11. Ben says

    Don’t you hate it when we are our own worst enemies? From J Edgar Hoover and his ilk to Larry Craig and these Hollywood idiots, there are a lot of fools in need of a face full of knuckle sandwich.

  12. mike says

    NPH was already cast in How I Met Your Mother before he came out, like TR Knight who was already cast on Grey’s Anatomy before he came out. The real test won’t be until they try to show they can manage to get other decent jobs after leaving those gigs. That won’t be easy when there is so much hiring discrimination, especially from gays in the business who make casting decisions. The Hollywood business people are very unwilling to take risks with their careers for gay advancement by casting out actors even if American actors decide to take the career risk of coming out. The actors take all the shit but it is more than anything a problem with the people who are calling the shots behind the scenes.

  13. ZnSD says

    So Jeffrob, by your logic African-Americans should embrace the KKK? Wow, I’m so glad I don’t know you personally.

    Diversity doesn’t mean we accept homophobia and bigotry. It’s apologists like you who make our struggle even more difficult. Most of us could give a shit about someone’s personal faith. But when it comes to jobs (acting is a profession, btw) and access to those jobs why should out gay people be denied the chance to play certain roles because of their orientation? Internalized homophobia much?

    The glass ceiling for gays will eventually be broken in Hollywood. For now I’m more concerned about my civil rights, thanks. But I suppose you believe we should just wait for those, right? Go sell your bullshit elsewhere.

  14. sjorgl says

    Harvey Milk said 30 years ago, “Come out!” and these cowardly losers say “Stay in!”
    Please, both of you, just go away!
    This Hollywood attitude surely explains Ugly Betty’s Michael Urie recent refusal to admit the obvious.

  15. JeffRob says

    ZNSD- Bringing up the KKK is like bringing up Nazis: it shows you’re incapable or unwilling to acknowledge any possiblity of gray area, which is just ignorant. If gay people were regularly, publicly being murdered, as blacks were by the klan, we would be in much less of a gray area. But that’s not the case. In fact, as we all know, the vast majority of Christians who say we’re living against God’s will are still nonviolent, loving people. They are misguided and misled, nothing more. They’re not SATAN INCARNATE.

    Please, even in our enlightened 2009, let’s not forget that.

    And I absolutely do not agree with Holland’s original point, that gay actors should stay closeted. I strongly feel the opposite.

  16. GMB says

    I can’t wait to see how destructive and self-loathing these comments will appear fifty years from now. Clearly Roos has never come into close contact with any of the tangible VICTIMS of bigotry, or even considered the dozens of LGBT youth who commit suicide because of his “interesting” country, not to mention the victims of anti-LGBT violence, whose incidences are on the RISE in America.

    Hollywood is a self-contained, self-important world that forgets about the practical realities of everyday folk around the world. it also has TREMENDOUS influence not just in America, but globally. A generation of actors who continue to stay closeted doesn’t make films any more bankable; it only delays the advance of our civil rights.

    To my closeted actor friends in New York and LA: please, please come out. We fucking need you.

  17. sugarrhill says


    No need for name calling. I’m just stating the obvious. Homophobia isn’t the only constant in Hollywood so is racism. Heterosexual black actors like Denzel can’t even land romantic lead roles opposite white female leads. And you expect studios and casting directors to cast open gay actors in romcoms? Case in point, The Pelican Brief: Denzel was just as huge a star as Julia, but their romance was platonic as can be even though in the book it was based on there was a definite sexual romance. And though Will Smith sort of broke that barrier recently in Hancock with Charlize Theron, he is the exception to the rule.

    Hollywood will cast openly gay leads in romantic and action movies if the audience actually goes to see it. They’re in the business of making money. And if it makes money it will happen. The problem is that the audience just isn’t there. And film making is a business not non-profit philanthrophy. Studio executives aren’t going to cast an openly gay actor as a lead in the next romcom or action movie so that some gay boy in Idaho can feel like he’s not alone. They want a return on their multi-million dollar investment. It will take time for the audience not to care about an actors sexual orientation, but that will only happen when more doctors, teachers and lawyers come out of the closet not when Tom Cruise decides to lose his beard.

  18. JeffRob says

    Sugarhill wrote: “He’s about the best thing on How I Met Your Mother, but don’t think for a second he’ll be starring as the lead in the next romantic comedy with Reese Witherspoon or Katherine Heigl.”

    Ehrenstein, I would think you’re uniquely knowledgable on this topic. Do you disagree with him?

  19. VEB says

    JEFF ROB wrote:”If gay people were regularly, publicly being murdered, as blacks were by the klan, we would be in much less of a gray area. But that’s not the case.”

    What planet are you effing living on? There’s really no point in addressing you with details, your head is up your rectum.

  20. echovic says

    Some of you buys don’t seem to understand basic Hollywood lingo: a leading man is someone who is the sole reason people will go to see a movie. Guys like Will Smith, or like Tom Cruise was before the Oprah couch moment. NPH and TR Night are not and will never be leading men.

    Studio execs often don’t give a shit on a personal level (so many of us are gay its like being Jewish in Hollywood – its ridiculous to be actively homophobic).

    But in terms of box office numbers, the guys that pay to see Will Smith and Harrison Ford in theaters will NOT pay to see Rupert Everett. Its how it is – at this time. Period.

    But of course, stardom is a unique and interesting thing – and every star creates their own narrative that has them achieve the ability to create movies with $100 million opening weekends.

    If an actor came around with a narrative that worked and could cause those numbers – why not? All of Hollywood with chase the money. Its up to the actor to break the machine to work for them.

    And its not impossible – who would have thought that Will Smith would be the #1 bankable actor and be black? Even 10 years ago its seemed unlikely.

    But its dumb and naive to think Hollywood anything but a business, and that somehow the ‘gay agenda’ should be given precedence over simple business logic.

  21. SFshawn says

    Since many,if not most,of all romantic male leads are closeted gays or bisexuals that only leaves a handful that are authentically “straight”. If anyone actually believes that John Travolta,Tom Cruise,Matthew McConaughey,Hugh Jackman,Will Smith,etc.etc. are actually straight and eat pussy and that most male actors are “straight” have not lived or worked in Hollywood. They all fuck each other-literally and figuratively. These two self-loathing semiclosted gay men are perfect examples of that reality.

  22. Bill says


    How disgusting is Roos? His boyfriend is an actor and he is ok with the discrimination he faces. GROSS!

    I simply can’t stand water carriers. Here we have two gay people who are incapable of thinking on their own. They need to rely on heterosexual prejudices and heterosexual inclinations.

    Gender hierarchy = heterosexuality
    Sexuality hierarchy = heterosexuality
    Race hierarchy = heterosexuality

    Stop discrimination. Stop thinking and acting like a heterosexual.

  23. says

    The lead in a romantic comedy is scarcely the Top in Show Business. The sky’s the limit for NPH. He’s got two movies inproduction right now, he’s MCing the Emmys and he can write his own ticket from Broadway. I’d love to see him star in a revuval of “A Funny Thing Happened on teh Way to the Forum” with David as “Hysterium.”

  24. Marcus says

    SFshawn: “If anyone actually believes that John Travolta,Tom Cruise,Matthew McConaughey,Hugh Jackman,Will Smith,etc.etc. are actually straight and eat pussy and that most male actors are “straight” have not lived or worked in Hollywood. They all fuck each other-literally and figuratively.”

    HOW YOU DOIN’! Thank you for saying that. People trot out those names like these guys are just straight family men, going home to the wife–uh, no. You wouldn’t believe some of the stories I’ve heard.

    Are these people kidding me?

    It’s like the 50s all over again. From Rock Hudson down.

    I have to admit–some of the posters are right–Hollywood, where I happen to work btw, is a business. It’s complete faggery from top to bottom, but it is a business.

  25. Anthony in Nashville says

    @ Marcus,

    Please pour some tea about these people, if it’s so obvious that they are gay. Rumours about Will Smith and Tom Cruise are common, but if the gayness of Hollywood actors was so obvious I’d think there would be more stories.

  26. Paul R says

    @Anthony, there are tons of stories. But with money you can cover up a lot and keep a lot of people quiet. (Recall that Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman made their household staff sign contracts saying they’d owe $20 million if they ever disclosed anything to tabloids.) Acting is pretty much an inherently gay profession. How many guys in high school or college drama classes do you think grew up to be straight?

    Sure, there are certainly straight actors. But there are a hell of a lot of gay ones. Once a few current leading men die, the floodgates will open as they have for James Dean, Cary Grant, and countless others.

  27. says

    These directors are complete morons. HELLOOOO – in order for the “out = bad career” paradigm to shift, there needs to be more visibility first! These two douchebags are just fueling the fire in a subconscious effort to overcome their own shame they have about themselves.

    Education – not assimilation. FUCK!

  28. Marcus says

    @Paul R, I agree with you. Time will out all of them (for better or worse)–unless they get involved with some scandal that the media can’t cover for them and they will be outed sooner. Merv Griffin, Rock Hudson, and Cary Grant would have had a heart attack today if they knew that all the stuff they did was documented and turned into a books…

    @Anthony, I really wouldn’t call it, “tea.” It’s common knowledge around here–ask David Ehrenstein. Hell, someone asked Ted Casablanca about Will and Jada’s relationship, and he said, “There is nothing “normal” about the Pinkett-Smiths’ personal lives. Nada. But that doesn’t mean there’s something wrong about their living sitch. What you might call “sexually deviant,” they might consider totally cool, right? Weirdness is in the eye of the beholder, is it not?”

    And I agree. It’s fine. Great people–donate to a lot of charities.

    I will tell you this–yes there are contracts that people sign and all this mess, but you will never believe the fortune these people have spent to keep up that professional closet. NO IDEA. And yet, it still gets out. And there are others–so many others. Wendy Williams, Rod 2.0, Michael Musto, Perez and other media outlets allude to Cruise, Travolta, Gyllenhaal, Jackman, etc but people just refuse to believe it, (mainly cause they don’t want to) and they accuse us of saying that everyone is gay.

    Oh, regarding Jackman, read this:

    That’s all I’m going to say on him. It’s funny, I knew about this way before he printed the story–a lot of us did. Like the Smiths–he’s a REALLY nice guy, though. Wouldn’t harm a soul. Bought breakfast for his fans and everything. Such a sweetheart.

  29. Paul R says

    @Marcus–exactly. I’ve heard tons of stories about Gyllenhaal (who seems to have done a better job of protecting his “image” than Cruise and Travolta, though I also question the legality of those contracts), and oddly enough it’s always gay men who say that it’s all just fantasy. Straight people will seem a bit perplexed, but it’s often gay men who refuse to believe that a major Hollywood star could be gay. It’s weird and slightly sad.

    And Will Smith has done a phenomenal job in terms of mainstream coverup. I have no fantasies about sleeping with celebrities; I just wish they weren’t liars. Or, rather, that they didn’t have to lie (or at least feel like they do). The backlash would be bad enough here in the US, but I could easily see movies with out actors being banned in certain foreign markets. As has been duly noted, Hollywood is a business.

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