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Michael Douglas Knows Actors Who Are Hiding In The Closet

Michael douglas behind the candelabra

Michael Douglas’s well-received performance in Behind the Candelabra may have been partially inspired by true-life experience. That is, he claims to know “a couple of people” who have “not come out in the spirit of protecting their careers and livelihoods.”

The quote comes from a Shortlist interview, during which he discussed the film, his own career, his battle with cancer, and the subject of gay actors. More specifically, he grappled with the question of whether American audiences would have difficulty accepting a gay actor in a straight leading role.

“It’s a good question. Without naming names, I certainly think there are a couple of people out there who have not come out in the spirit of protecting their careers and livelihoods. It’s probably a little bit more difficult going that way. I think that’s true.”

He also remarked:

“It’s a much smaller minority of people who think they still have to stay in the closet. It’s quite interesting to see how fast it’s all changed.”

It is also worth noting that Douglas’ closeted peers may have some legitimate reasons for staying that way, since Candelabra was deemed “too gay for theaters”, according to the film’s director.

"Nobody would make it. We went to everybody in town. We needed $5 million. Nobody would do it…They said it was too gay. Everybody. This was after Brokeback Mountain, by the way."

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  1. the irony of The Closet is that it's not actually the safe-haven: it's the reason prejudice continues.

    Closet-Cases simply ensure that other Closet Cases will exist. Everyone thinking too much about themselves, and not about helping each other.

    why is it hard for "you" in "your situation" to Come Out? because too many other person like "you" in "your situation" made the same self-serving choice to not Come Out.

    you can continue to be a part of the problem, or you can be the hammer that smashes the glass ceilings.

    but what you cannot be is a grown adult in north america in 2013 who talks about how hard it is to come out when you're simply a part of the reason that it continues to be so hard to come out.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | May 30, 2013 2:57:17 PM

  2. Little Kiwi : Sorry, but i find your words simplistic.
    A lot of people don't come out of the closet, some for lack of self acceptance, some of fear to lose their jobs and some for fear to lose their lives. And a good bunch of them have very good reasons to fear.

    Of course, the actors case is not that extreme, but it's a very competitive world when most people fail. And i'm not talking about faileng of being a big star, and talking about failing on making their passion their way of life.

    Most people look at the bright side of being an actor, the money, the fame and all the rest, but that's not the case of most actors, and being in the limelight can be very dangerous if you are not ready.

    I appreciate the actors who are brave to come out, and now there's a good bunch who came out really young. But in my opinion they must to come out when they are ready to come out, and they must come out because they feel the best for them is being out, not because they owe something to the rest of us or because it's their obligation.

    I think sometimes people are very harsh to public figures, Matt Bomer or Jodie Foster endured mockery for years, curiously people is a lot softer with real closet cases who date beards.
    We even have recently the case of an english actor who was totally out on his home country and now avoid the press and even when he talks to the press he makes a real effort to pretent to be straight.

    Don't get me wrong, the more actor (and singers, and athletes) to come out the better, but i don't think it's just a simple proccess, because you are coming out in front of everyone, because you are a public figure

    Posted by: jjose712 | May 30, 2013 3:22:39 PM

  3. remember this: Coming Out is only hard because a minority of us do it.

    I actually WISH there was some magical dust that fell from the sky and marked every single one of us as GAY in a visible way.

    the world cannot disown 20 million sons and daughters.

    and remember, Jose - if everyone took your advice, there'd be no Out people at all, and no Communities to speak of.

    by all means - stay closeted until you're "ready" to not be. Just be aware that people like you similarly "not being ready" is the very reason you're in the predicament you're in.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | May 30, 2013 3:27:31 PM

  4. "It is also worth noting that Douglas’ closeted peers may have some legitimate reasons for staying that way, since Candelabra was deemed “too gay for theaters”, according to the film’s director."

    Reasons, yes, but "legitimate"? That's disgusting. Show some self-respect and dignity. Internalized homophobia is so 90s.

    Posted by: MARCUS BACHMANN | May 30, 2013 3:29:06 PM

  5. Most parents don't have a child serving a long prison term so he might want to learn a "no comment" when it comes to other actor's private lives.

    Posted by: MIke | May 30, 2013 3:35:41 PM

  6. not to mention, grown-adults who continue to give excuses to Not Come Out aren't exactly extending much compassion or support to those who Can't Hide.

    some of us were called out as the "neighbourhood f@ggot" when we were children.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | May 30, 2013 3:51:52 PM

  7. if actors in hollywood, of all places, stay in the closet for fear of prejudice, what chance in hell does anyone, anywhere else, or in any other business have?

    how about if you're working for a small business owner in the south, an "at will" state? where do you move, and who do you work for?

    did anyone see 100,000 protest gay adoption and marriage in france? how about the reaction here to allowing gays in the bsa?

    i guess if you aren't self employed, you might as well give up on coming out, or risk losing your livelihood, at least until attitudes change. that's a sad statement.

    Posted by: northalabama | May 30, 2013 3:53:47 PM

  8. I want names!

    Posted by: Jack M | May 30, 2013 3:54:39 PM

  9. Mike, you know full well that his child's incarceration has nothing to do with this. But by all means keep trolling. Show how petty and pathetic you are.

    Posted by: MateoM | May 30, 2013 3:54:52 PM

  10. northalabama: You are mistaking Hollywood parties with Hollywood as industry.
    And it's well known that some casting directors (some of them gay) didn't cast gay actors.
    Hollywood is all about the money, maybe they like you personally, but if they think they will lose money if you are in the film, you will not be casted, as simple as that.

    And the fact the after Brokeback mountain there was not any promoted gay film from a big major speak louder than words.

    And if we talk about singers the thing is way worse, because pop maybe is very gay friendly, but radio in the USA is not, and in the last decade i can only remember three songs in the top 40 sang by openly gay singers.

    The fact that someone like Matt Bomer was able to come out without his popularity fall, it's a good sign, but Rome wasn't built in a day, and changes are taken step by step.
    Maybe one day one can watch a blockbuster with a gay actor in the male lead role, but i don't think that day is near

    Posted by: jjose712 | May 30, 2013 4:01:42 PM

  11. How did he ever survive that stage 4 cancer?

    Posted by: anon | May 30, 2013 4:12:55 PM

  12. @Mr. Miller,

    Can we safely assume you were never in the closet? Is it safe to assume you were never able to 'pass'?

    Posted by: ratbastard | May 30, 2013 4:17:49 PM

  13. It's success on HBO I bet has some studios angry at themselves for not picking this movie up. I'm not sure it would have been the $100+ million blockbuster that was Brokeback Mountain, but I bet it would have been close to it.

    Even if this movie made $60/75 million at the box office -- which it definitely could have done, IMO -- it would have made some pretty good money for a studio out there, particularly since the film was made on a very low budget. (Soderberg is great at making low budget movies look like medium-high budget.)

    Posted by: Ryan | May 30, 2013 4:20:07 PM

  14. Ratbastard, is it safe to assume you were never a closet troll? Is it safe to assume you couldn't pass as a thoughtful contributor to this site?

    Posted by: MateoM | May 30, 2013 4:26:27 PM

  15. It's being released theatrically worldwide and I suspect it will make quite lot of money on that route.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | May 30, 2013 4:29:06 PM

  16. Oh really? His only kid wasn't jailed for ten years for daddy playing Liberace? Oh you're SO helpful dude.

    Posted by: MIke | May 30, 2013 4:31:00 PM

  17. "I certainly think there are a couple of people out there who have not come out in the spirit of protecting their careers and livelihoods."

    Kevin Spacey, Dolly Parton.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | May 30, 2013 4:35:34 PM

  18. Mike, your trolling is weak. If you're not going to put your all into it, why bother?

    Posted by: MateoM | May 30, 2013 4:50:13 PM

  19. Have the two groups become segregated? I know there must be a lot of closeted gay men around here, but I don't know any of them.

    Posted by: Mike in the tundra | May 30, 2013 4:53:26 PM

  20. Wait, he knows that there are some closeted people in Hollywood? What a newsflash!

    Posted by: Paul R | May 30, 2013 4:58:53 PM

  21. "Have the two groups become segregated? I know there must be a lot of closeted gay men around here, but I don't know any of them."

    That's an interesting question, Mike. It depends on how "passable" the Gay guy is. There are some closet cases who even though they don't have the guts to come out still claim to Gay friends.

    I have two cousins who are on the "down low" I talk with one of them on the phone every now and then, but neither one of them would be comfortable being with me in public.

    So, yes, I guess there is still segregation between OUT Gay men and closeted homosexual men...I guess.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | May 30, 2013 5:15:19 PM

  22. jjose712: Thanks for pointing that out. Many Hollywood directors and producers are very liberal. That fact is immaterial if the studio leadership won't fund projects with openly gay actors.

    For other commenters: It's a nice platitude to say that all gay actors should come out. But, why should one person have to sacrifice his or her livelihood just to help "the cause"?

    Actors aren't required to be role models. I don't fault anyone who keeps their private life private...assuming they aren't supporting anti-gay causes. At this point, being an openly gay actor makes you a de facto spokesperson. I know some actors who are self-absorbed and fairly unpleasant in person. They wouldn't be someone I'd want to be the face of the gay rights movement.

    Posted by: alex | May 30, 2013 5:21:27 PM

  23. Actors who are leading men type would have a hard time if they came out- character actors could still work- when was the last time Kevin Spacey was cast as romantic lead? The Liberace movie would have probably been a minor hit if he had been marketed bio film not a gay film.

    Posted by: jaragon | May 30, 2013 5:43:33 PM

  24. Hollywood is based on the marketing of romance to women. Even action movies contain romance to women. The female public is not comfortable with the male homosexual concept within men who are marketing romance to them.

    If anything, blame women.

    Posted by: Brent | May 30, 2013 5:46:36 PM

  25. "Actors aren't required to be role models"

    Unfortunately, you are wrong. Whether you like it or not, this world looks up to and pays attention to celebs, and if you're a decent person, you're going to use that platform you have to make a difference. You must be a closet case to defend closet cases.

    Posted by: Jon | May 30, 2013 5:55:26 PM

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