Ethan Hawke | Film and TV | Gay Youth | News

Ethan Hawke Says LGBT Characters in Film and Television Will Help Prevent Teen Suicides

Boys don't cry

In an interview with the Toronto Star, actor Ethan Hawke shared his thoughts on the changing societal attitudes towards homosexual love, with much of the positive change driven by growing LGBT visibility in pop culture.

Said Hawke:

Ethan hawke“It’s been fascinating to me. One of the biggest differences I think between my generation and my kids is that they have almost zero homophobia. They’ve grown up thinking that it’s not a big deal to have gay characters on TV or in movies like Boys Don’t Cry or Kiss of the Spider Woman.

“There are all these things that started this (gay acceptance) ball rolling, and now people are really comfortable talking about it. I think you’ll see a lot less teen suicide in the coming years. I really do believe that.”

Check out the full article HERE, which offers a fascinating look into how the James Dean classic Rebel Without a Cause was a milestone for gay-positive cinema. 

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Comments

  1. I'm very glad that someone has finally done the necessary sociological and medical research to prove this point. Well done, Ethan!

    Posted by: anon | Jun 22, 2014 10:02:04 AM


  2. Zero homophobia? Duh heck?
    He's not really aware of any LGBT realities I guess.

    Posted by: B | Jun 22, 2014 10:46:46 AM


  3. And if kids today are so "hip" why does he think they are watching Kiss of the Spider Woman, or Boys Don't Cry for that matter? Why doesn't he reference more contemporary movies? Maybe he doesn't know any? I don't know how this statement came about but it comes off as very much pandering and clueless. Next, maybe he'll reference how blacks are portrayed better these days as evidenced by Amos and Andy and Shaft. (And don't get me started on his "super positive" attitude toward teen suicide. It's too important an issue to make such a shallow, off-handed comment.) Again this may be harsh because I don't know the questions that he was answering or the situation he was in to know if his out-of-touch comments could maybe be explained.

    Posted by: Macguffin54 | Jun 22, 2014 12:43:27 PM


  4. And if kids today are so "hip" why does he think they are watching Kiss of the Spider Woman, or Boys Don't Cry for that matter? Why doesn't he reference more contemporary movies? Maybe he doesn't know any? I don't know how this statement came about but it comes off as very much pandering and clueless. Next, maybe he'll reference how blacks are portrayed better these days as evidenced by Amos and Andy and Shaft. (And don't get me started on his "super positive" attitude toward teen suicide. It's too important an issue to make such a shallow, off-handed comment.) Again this may be harsh because I don't know the questions that he was answering or the situation he was in to know if his out-of-touch comments could maybe be explained.

    Posted by: Macguffin54 | Jun 22, 2014 12:43:28 PM


  5. He's a complete sweetheart and a real Texas gentleman (met him once); however, I don't think he's ever played a gay role, unlike his "Dead Poet's" co-stars Robert Sean Leonard and Josh Charles, and the main character in his novel "The Hottest State" has definite internalized homophobia/masculinity issues. It would be great for him to tackle a high-profile gay part if one comes down the pike.

    Posted by: Dback | Jun 22, 2014 12:46:21 PM


  6. He certainly HAS played gay roles — in my imagination.

    Posted by: Pervy McPerv | Jun 22, 2014 1:17:06 PM


  7. "why does he think they are watching Kiss of the Spider Woman, or Boys Don't Cry for that matter?"

    He's referencing movies from HIS generation when it was a big deal to have gay characters.

    Posted by: bleh | Jun 22, 2014 3:55:38 PM


  8. I agree with B. There may be some kids with zero homophobia, but it's still widespread.

    Also, it's worth noting that some of the new acceptance is paper-thin... learned by rote.

    Posted by: Randy | Jun 22, 2014 4:21:21 PM


  9. Billy Crystal playing Jodie Dallas in Soap was a big frigin' deal when I was a kid in junior high.

    It mattered.

    Posted by: Todd Out West | Jun 22, 2014 6:25:37 PM


  10. Don't blame him if your kids are homophobic and his are not.

    Posted by: Moniker | Jun 22, 2014 7:28:24 PM


  11. This article was completely copied from Queerty.

    Posted by: MartinR | Jun 22, 2014 9:02:48 PM


  12. He's saying his kids specifically aren't at all homophobic, not their entire generation.. reading is fundamental, guys.

    Posted by: JMC | Jun 23, 2014 12:26:32 AM


  13. It is odd that Ethan used such old examples of gay films. But anyway, he acts in NYC theater all the time and lives in Boerum Hill in Brooklyn. I'm sure his kids go to some progressive schools. So they have definitely not grown up in even some Midwest suburb. I'm sure Ethan is well aware of that. But also the Midwest suburban kids of today are not growing up in the old world so much either. Only Evangelical home schooled type upbringings are generally propagandizing kids with anti-gay culture these days, and most of them probably watch Modern Family and various modern gay inclusive films anyway.

    Posted by: emjayay | Jun 23, 2014 12:50:21 AM


  14. If you haven't seen Rebel Without a Cause do yourself a favor and check it out. Yes, it's cheesy and totally unrealistic and simple minded in a lot of ways. LA in the fifties wasn't actually really Mayberry. But it is also really great in other ways and, well, James Dean. Natalie Wood comes from the old un-Method school of acting, but she actually manages to hold her own quite well.

    James Dean was way too old to be playing a high school student, and unlike some guys really looked his age. Natalie was the right age but her mommy makeup and hair make her look as old as James.

    The scenes with James and Sal Mineo can be read as Sal's character Plato yearning for a father, but also as just yearning for James. Watch for the photo of James Cotton taped to the inside of Plato's locker door. Pretty hilarious.

    The famous red jacket was an off the rack inexpensive unstylish McGregor jacket from Penny's or somewhere like that. It filmed too red in Technicolor (or Deluxe or whatever they were using) so they dipped it in a vat of coffee. James Dean made the jacket, the jacket didn't make James Dean.

    Posted by: emjayay | Jun 23, 2014 1:05:12 AM


  15. That's a photo of Alan Ladd on Sal' locker.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Jun 23, 2014 8:41:26 AM


  16. Nice article.

    Read "Live Fast, Die Young -- The Wild Ride of The Making of Rebel Without A Cause" by James Frascella an Al Weisel for the whole story. Dean wasn't "rumored to be bisexual" Outside of a couple of brief dalliances with women (Betsey Palmer and Dizzy Sheridan -- Jerry's mom on "Seinfeld") he was GAY, GAY, GAY! He went everywhere with his little slave -- a guy named Jack Simmons who had a small, wordless role in "Rebel" and worked with Dean in New York TV as well. In the book Jack Larson ("Superman's pal Jimmy Olson")recounts how Dean and Simmons tried to pick him up for a three-way at the Ranch Market that used to be at the corner of Sunset and Highland. Jack is gay but the Dean-Simmons come-on freaked him out. This greatly annoyed his friend poet Frank O'Hara who was obsessed with Dean.

    As for Sal, during the shoot he was having an affair with Nicholas Ray.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Jun 23, 2014 8:51:21 AM


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