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Ramin Setoodeh: Not Only Can Gay Actors Not Play Straight, They Aren't Allowed to Play Gay Either

Newsweek writer Ramin Setoodeh, who claims he was labeled such a "traitor" following his article suggesting that gay actors can't play straight that he couldn't "walk through New York’s gay neighborhoods without causing a stir," revisited Promises, Promises ("afraid somebody would call the GLAAD police if I were spotted") and had a revelation, he writes, in The Daily Beast:

I realized that I had been all wrong. Setoodeh

It’s not just that audiences don’t often see openly gay actors in straight roles. What’s even more unsettling is that Hollywood doesn’t even allow gay actors to play gay. With the film industry swept up in the congratulatory swirl of awards season, not a single openly gay actor is up for an Oscar nomination. Of course, that’s probably because no openly gay actors even starred in any big films of 2010. The lovable lesbian wives in The Kids Are All Right were played by the heterosexual actresses Annette Bening and Julianne Moore. The quirky couple in I Love You Phillip Morriswere portrayed by straight men Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor.

Setoodeh agrees with Rupert Everett, who claims he was shut out of roles after he came out, offering a laundry list of straight actors — Stanley Tucci, Eric Dane and Bradley Cooper, Jake Gyllenhaal, Greg Kinnear, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Sean Penn, Hilary Swank, Charlize Theron, Tom Hanks, and Robin Willians — who have played gay roles.

Setoodeh's argument:

"The rationale for these casting decisions is a Catch-22. You could argue that no one gay is on the A-list, so Hollywood has to hire straight people to fill those roles. But it also has to do with something else. Society still shows a prejudice against gay people, especially those who fit the stereotype: feminine men and masculine women. If you’re willing to hide your sexuality, that’s another story."

He stands by his gay-straight claims about Promises, Promises, adding: "You know what Promises, Promises really needed? Something that would have revived this worn-out revival—a leading man for Sean Hayes."

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  1. PS. Anyone who's dissing NPH because he's "only" on TV needs to get their head examined. He's playing the ultimate guy's guy on one of TV's highest-rated shows and won a freaking Emmy for it -- far more successful a career than most 'movie stars' these days. Get a life.

    Posted by: Ryan | Jan 3, 2011 6:23:43 PM

  2. Actually not only have closeted gay men historically been successful Hollywood leading men, in fact all the most sensual Hollywood male sex symbols have been gay or bi. Just to name a few who came out publicly, usually later in life, or who were outed after death, the list would include Brando, Olivier, James Dean, Montgomery Clift, Cary Grant, Tony Curtis, Errol theory is that men who appreciate men are more fully able to experience their own body in a sensual way, and thus are able to project more sensuality on screen.

    I think the same is true of today's leading men, but it is also still true that they can't afford to be out while still working as leading men.

    Posted by: Hank | Jan 3, 2011 7:51:20 PM

  3. @ryan

    So what! NPH won an Emmy for a very mediocre numbingly juvenile sitcom. Robert Blake also won an Emmy. NUFF SAID.

    So just where does that put him anywhere near in the same league acting wise to compete with the likes of say a Daniel Day Lewis, Tom Hanks or Sean Penn?

    Posted by: TS | Jan 3, 2011 8:07:35 PM

  4. i dont see why he had a problem walking through gay neighborhoods? i vaugely remember that it was a comment and not offensive. they probly were just ogiling him to see a reaction from that hot face. that he's gonna keep getting from gays until he figures out how to make his eye brows less adorable.

    Posted by: mike | Jan 4, 2011 3:55:08 AM

  5. @ GAYLY

    "He assumes that those who can't are adopting some gay identity or are "weak"? I disagree." -GAYLY

    So there is such a thing as "straight acting" but no such thing as "Gay" acting? Really?

    Why is it Gay Orthodoxy stipulates gender is learned for everyone...except The Gays? Why is it the gender of everyone on earth is fake...except for The Gays? Are you trying to argue one is BORN loving Cher and Project Runway? Be careful about that. It's a sloppy argument. By implication it's bigoted and self-loathing: you'd also be arguing all Asians are BORN good at math and all Black American men are BORN thugs when they're clearly NOT. Slippery slope.

    Think about it: if masculinity is not naturally occurring in ALL biological males then you are not only arguing that The Gays are NOT masculine, you're arguing they NEVER can be. Dumbass.

    Stop pretending gender is entirely acquired (i.e. learned). Males are naturally (genetically) different from females and each sex, as a result, behaves differently...naturally.

    Genetic differences in chromosomal structure, biological differences in brain structure and chemicals, hormones, differences in bone structure and body mass ALL result in phenotypic distinctions in appearance AND behavior between males and females.

    You're right: "there is much more pressure to 'act' straight for the fey". Why? Because they make the mistake of believing gender is "acting" IN THE FIRST PLACE. This kind of thinking is the classic misguided pose of marginalized people with Stockholm Syndrome. Masculinity is not acquired, it is not a projection. It is the natural phenotypic expression of the body a man already naturally has.

    How can a fey Gay guy "act" masculine when 100% of his energy is devoted to "acting" fey? It's not possible. If, however, he STOPS acting he sees very quickly that masculinity is NOT some adversarial carnival of extremes (i.e. macho v. fey) but a less remarkable, natural expression of biology without the culturally layered bullshit of Rambo or Liberace.

    Stop pretending NATURAL human behavior (i.e. gender) for men is a pose. You insult humans everywhere. It is, in fact, The Gays who are acting. They've swallowed the minstrel show identity created FOR them by hegemony. Stereotypes are so comforting...especially to those who embrace them unironically, whether straight or Gay.

    That's ok. Keep sucking at the tit of your oppression.

    Posted by: MarkDC | Jan 4, 2011 9:16:48 AM

  6. Woefully deluded MARKDC, Your warped concept of hegemonic masculinity in our community is glaringly evidenced by your pathologically militant acceptance of the existence of a culturally normative ideal of male behavior and virility.

    In your atrophied brain, does it occur to you that different masculinities can sit side by side as alternative states of being that men can freely choose from?

    Just because you're morbidly afraid of being stigmatized as being "feminine" as a homosexual man, does not mean others do.

    Yes Virginia, your sissyphobia is showing. You ARE closet homophobe.

    Just because you had to gain your personal access to masculine privilege before coming out by playing to a hypermasculine gendered script does not mean others did so. The were free to be and just let it all hang out, which no doubt made you wince in your world of self shame.

    Ironically, you're the one who sounds like the girl and the sissy because you what you lack is guts and bravery.

    Posted by: Stan | Jan 7, 2011 10:44:18 AM

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