Monday, May 17, 2010

Can gay actors make convincing straight romantic leads?

Posted By on Mon, May 17, 2010 at 7:31 AM

That's the question Newsweek writer Ramin Setoodeh posed in his article "Straight Jacket." His answer (no) stirred up a not-unsurprising storm of scorn from critics and actors across the world.

Back when we interviewed Broadway and 30 Rock star Cheyenne Jackson for a cover story on the Newport, Wash. native, we came across interviews discussing how his decision to come out as gay concerned former publicists. They worried it would cost him roles.

Yet, despite that, Jackson made his name playing romantic leads that wooed, won and loved the girl. Multiple critics praised the chemistry he had with his female partners. So it wasn't surprising that Cheyenne's name got brought up in the maelstrom.

We e-mailed Jackson for his thoughts. Jackson replied saying that he was already in the middle of it, and had already said his piece.

Indeed, reports Jackson and Michael Urie absolutely thrashing Setoodeh at a talkback after a performance of gay rights drama, The Temperamentals. Jackson was pissed: ---

It was infuriating on so many levels. Not only does [Setoodeh] say that a gay man can't play straight, he got personal, picking on Sean Hayes in Promises, Promises, [pointing out] certain scenes where he thinks [Sean] is stiff and uncomfortable. And then he picks on Jonathan Groff, who just came out. He's a young teen heartthrob [in Glee]. He's so talented and so delicious and needs our love and support. Instead, [Setoodeh] says he's not believable at all. It was very veiled self-loathing. Really upsetting.

Everytime we go forward, some asshole like this takes us back a bit... When straight actors play gay, they're so 'brave.' Why is it so f*cking 'brave'? It's a part and he's a good actor. I hope we can get to the day where the best actor gets the part. End of story.''

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"Cheyenne is part of a generation that is recognizing that being gay is just one aspect of humanity, and that’s the way it should be," duet partner and "keeper of the Great American Songbook" Michael Feinstein told us back in November.

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About The Author

Daniel Walters

A lifelong Spokane native, Daniel Walters is the Inlander's senior investigative reporter. But he also reports on a wide swath of other topics, including business, education, real estate development, land use, and other stories throughout North Idaho and Spokane County.He's reported on deep flaws in the Washington...