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Colin Firth Says Hollywood’s Still Not Accepting of Openly Gay Actors

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What’s a gay actor to do in Hollywood, when coming out could equal more lost job opportunities than Lindsey Lohan on a bad day? Last week  Rupert Everett advised young actors to stay in the closet and now, straight actor Colin Firth, who plays a gay college professor in fashion designer turned director Tom Ford’s A Single Man talked to Parade about Hollywood’s attitude towards being gay. He said:

If you’re a straight actor who takes on the role of a gay man, it’s obviously not the same as being one in this business. I think there are still some constraints against being openly gay. It is to do with whatever sexual taboos are in place. In Hollywood, I know that some actors are far more circumspect about keeping that secret hidden. There are not a lot of openly gay leading men.

Firth’s performance in the film is already getting rave reviews and it’s ironic that despite all the rampant homophobia going around Hollywood that the obvious choice for male actors looking for the kind of acclaim that gets rewarded come Oscar season is to go gay.

It worked for Sean Penn in Milk and Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhall for their portrayal of doomed lovers in Brokeback Mountain. For a second, when that movie became a hit in 2005, it seemed that the pop culture landscape would be altered for the better. And then it wasn’t. It’s hard to say though, whether the fault lies with the studios, or that the right project just hasn’t come down the pipeline.

Since it’s been a few years since a major Hollywood release featuring a gay character, it seems The Weinstein Company is playing it safe with the marketing campaign for A Single Man by downplaying the main character’s sexuality.

Firth told Variety the fact that the character was gay wasn’t his main consideration when crafting his approach to the role. He said:

It’s a love story, and love is love. George misses the love of his life, and that’s that. It could be a woman, it could be a man. His being gay is not the salient feature of what Tom wanted. George is struggling with an awful lot but not with his homosexuality. There’s a lot of dignity in that.

It’s hard to tell what the movie’s about based on the trailer, which doesn’t feature any dialogue. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

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