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You Can Ask But Should They Tell? Do We Care If Our Movie Stars Are Gay?

By Cindy Davis | Lists | March 22, 2011 |

By Cindy Davis | Lists | March 22, 2011 |

People, there’s a lot of crap out on the interwebs and I probably read too much of it. But, even the goofiest rumors can lead to serious thought, which in turn can prompt a Seriously Random List and perhaps some interesting discourse over what we want from our movie stars. Do we really care if they are gay, straight, bisexual, married or single? Me, I couldn’t care less. An actor’s sex appeal might have bearing on whether or not I buy a ticket, but his sexual preference certainly does not. Should an actor feel the need to hide? At this point, plenty of people in Hollywood have come out and their careers continue to thrive. But what about the ones who are known for their “macho” or “movie star” leading roles—do the same rules apply? Would a gay Brad Pitt have the same box office appeal? What if our action stars have wives in name only or their significant others are a public cover; would it matter?

According to the gossip world (and Ricky Gervais), these actors are the top most speculated over; rumored to be gay or bisexual:




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Cruise has made a profession of playing “manly” men like Maverick in Top Gun, Mission Impossible’s Ethan Hunt and Ron Kovic in Born on the 4th of July. Travolta’s career has afforded him more diversity and he hasn’t seemed afraid of playing up different sides of his personality, with roles from Edna Turnblad in Hairspray to Face/Off’s Sean Archer, a dancing Tony Manero and a greaser who prances and sings. Smith seems to be interested in serious or earnest everyman roles, with a little bit of action star on the side. The two younger actors, Bradley Cooper and Jake Gyllenhaal, have been setting up their leading men careers, perhaps in the hopes of being the next Tom Cruise or John Travolta. Each has been building up to starring roles, with Gyllenhaal poised to take on the Bourne series if he gets the chance and Cooper being groomed in the public eye as the next swoon-worthy leading man.

Some think these men could never be the stars that they are if they were openly gay. If the rumors are to be believed, Hollywood still thinks we won’t accept a gay action star or a homosexual starring in a romantic, heterosexual role. But wouldn’t successfully playing such a part make someone an even better actor? After all, Tom Hanks and Sean Penn have both won Academy Awards for their roles as homosexual men, surely the accolades will flow in the opposite direction?

There are still so many ignorant people out there, even in the acting community itself. To wit, here is former “SNL”er, Victoria Jackson, waving her bible and expounding over the offensiveness of a recent kiss between two boys on “Glee”:

In these times, when so many young people are struggling for the right to be who they are without fear, wouldn’t it would be glorious and inspiring for a macho action star to come out? Or am I being naive; would you be less likely to buy a ticket to see the next film in the Bourne or James Bond series if the actor playing the lead was gay?