So says Newsweek.
While it’s OK for straight actors to play gay (as Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger did in Brokeback Mountain), it’s rare for someone to pull off the trick in reverse.
Really? But also
Most actors would tell you that the biographical details of their lives are beside the point. Except when they’re not. As viewers, we are molded by a society obsessed with dissecting sexuality, starting with the locker-room torture in junior high school.
For gay actors, why should sexual orientation limit a gay actor’s choice of roles? The fact is, an actor’s background does affect how we see his or her performance—which is why the Tom Hankses and Denzels of the world guard their privacy carefully.
It’s not just a problem for someone like Hayes [‘Jack’ in Will & Grace; currently playing the straight lead in Promises, Promises on Broadway], who even tips off your grandmother’s gaydar. For all the beefy bravado that Rock Hudson projects on-screen, Pillow Talk dissolves into a farce when you know the likes of his true bedmates.
See, if we know you’re gay, we have trouble pretending you’re something that you’re not. Because, you know, we’re not used to pretending actors are things they aren’t. That’s just weird and we can’t handle it.
Kristin Chenoweth (Annabeth Schott in The West Wing & Hayes’s costar in Promises, Promises) has posted comments in reply to the article, which can be read in their entirety here.