Saturday, 19 January 2013

The Hollywood Closet: The Silence of La-La Land

Gay British actor Rupert Everett was recently on the BBC's Hard Talk warning that young male actors who were ambitious should not come out if they wanted to play leading roles.
When Rock Hudson died from an Aids-related illness in 1985, commentators bemoaned the intolerance of the old studio system that had compelled him to remain in the closet.
"Forty years ago, the world was a very different place and there were virtually no publicly available gay men or lesbians in any walk of public life," notes Brian Robinson, senior programmer at London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, of the period in which Hudson was working. "Now, lots of things have changed. A whole generation has grown up with an idea of normalcy about gay identity."
Even so, Hollywood is still in the business of making "four quadrant movies" – that's to say ultra-mainstream films appealing to males and females, young and old. When a studio spends $100m on a mainstream movie and an equivalent amount in marketing it at home and abroad, anything that can jeopardise its box-office performance is frowned on. Agents put pressure on their clients not to "come out"...

Geoffrey MacNab in The Independent on the Hollywood closet - a subject that obsesses the straight press almost as much as the sports/football closet does.
It's a bit of a brisk gallop from Valentino to producer Iain Canning, often veering off-course by introducing barely relevant quotes and anecdotes from the likes of screaming Tarantino.
MacNab doesn't come to any real conclusion beyond; "It's pressure from the risk-averse, profit-driven studios, innit?"
And it's sprinkled with more than a little irony as two of the three people he speaks to for the piece - a "gay writer" and "an industry insider" -  are both unnamed and anonymous.
Fingers crossed, they exist.

This article was one of several "inspired" by Jodie Foster's apparent coming out on Sunday - there have been eleven on the Independent online alone!
Some were gushy old guff, but several gay commentators have been rather sniffy and sour, leading Fagburn to invent a new word "Out-righteous, to describe a privileged gay man who looks down on a celebrity who's just come out for not doing so sooner.
It's yet to catch on.
The most offensive comment piece about all this was Amanda Platell in the Daily Mail, Why Jodie's Silence Spoke Volumes.
Do lesbians and gay men really need to be told by straight people - especially Daily Mail columnists - where they went wrong and how we should live our lives?

PS Have to admit Rupert Everett was very good on HARDTalk.

PPS Sorry about the forced pun in the title, I'll try and think of something better.

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