Ramin Setoodeh wrote something again

Timothy Kincaid

January 3rd, 2011

Newsweek’s Ramin Setoodeh has run another article about how openly gay men do not make good actors, or something. Basically its a riff on his last ‘no one wants to watch a gay actor‘ article, this time with a ‘blame the studios and the straight actors’ twist.

It’s been nearly eight months since anyone noticed Setoodeh’s existence, and this was what got him the most attention, so he went with a rewrite. Read Setoodeh’s opinion piece if you like, but it really isn’t worth the two paragraphs I’m giving it. I guess I should be content that at least this time he isn’t defending neo-Nazi murderers of gay children.


January 3rd, 2011

Not reading it, not even thinking about it.


January 4th, 2011

having worked in Hollywood (on the behind the camera side of things), he’s really not far off the mark this time. Hollywood casting is decidedly conservative despite the liberal attitude of most film people. “Will it play in Peoria?” is still a question asked by execs. He’s not wrong in pointing out that no openly gay actor has won an Oscar and none are likely to be nominated and certainly not for a leading man role (or leading lady). Hollywood does what it knows works and tends to avoid what it knows doesn’t. Execs still remember how audiences stayed away in droves at Ellen Degeneres playing straight in a standard romcom and even the biggest Box Office draw of the last century, Harrison Ford, couldn’t get people to believe Anne Heche was an object of romantic interest.

Audiences allow straight people to play gay because they know they are “acting” and it’s not real – that is, they don’t have to acknowledge a real person’s sexuality. But if Nathan Lane or Rupert Everett play gay, it cements in audiences mind that “yup, he’s gay” and makes it that much harder to buy them as a straight character later.

Is this right or fair? Obviously not, but it’s the reality of Hollywood. In this case while we may not like Ramin Setoodeh, don’t shoot the messenger when the message is true.


January 4th, 2011

For now, people more strongly and persistently connect the word “gay” with a person then they connect the word “straight.” It’s easy to see a straight guy playing a gay character as acting. It’s less easy to see an openly gay guy playing a straight character because the audience doesn’t forget he is gay.

I think it’s unfair to characterize this article as contending that gays don’t make good actors.

Priya Lynn

January 4th, 2011

Desiree said “He’s not wrong in pointing out that no openly gay actor has won an Oscar and none are likely to be nominated …”.

Its a given that discrimination is not the sole, or perhaps even the main, reason for that. Openly gay actors are a very, very small percentage of the total number of actors out there. On that basis alone gay actors are very unlikely to be nominated for, or win an Oscar.

Regan DuCasse

January 4th, 2011

In the pioneering days of Hollywood, many of the industry’s Jewish contingent, whether behind or in front of the camera, changed their names, and physical appearance and their associations as to stream into the power base without much challenge.

There is still sometimes a lot of unveiled anti Semitism within Hollywood’s upper and lower echelons.

In a way, it’s sort of what Jews had to deal with, unless they did some runaway hit making, such as on the music end of things mostly.
This is true of some gay producers, if not actors.
Such as the Merchant/Ivory producing team and the guys who brought us the film versions of Chicago.

It’s the culture of Hollywood to create illusion, magic tricks and suspending disbelief.
We’re ALL told a lot of bullshit while the same old boy’s school runs things.

Women and people of color are still shut out. In terms of accomplishment and the opportunities, there is a great deal that is taken for granted and inequality.
Even inside a certain list.

It IS patently wrong, that even gay actors can’t play gay, when straight actors get to.
It’s not always about who opens a box office, and the cycle is so fast that rather than let certain smaller, indie movies cook to reach their potential, it’s taken for granted that a certain kind of cast, will only appeal to those who are like them in the audience.

But like black moviegoers, gay dollars go into the pockets of the film industry, even with a dearth of people to represent either minority before and behind the camera.
Another example of the lie that they only need appeal to a niche market and the wider won’t care to attend.

It’s about the WILL to do it and real creative ability to appeal and circumvent inner and outer production and audience prejudice (or assuming the ARE as prejudiced and narrow as producers are). The market, is hungry.
Producers and their market researchers get it wrong a LOT.

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