Monday, September 10, 2012

50 Shades of Little Dog Laughed

I was doing some research on The Little Dog Laughed for some background and ran across an interview with the playwright, Douglas Carter Beane, from 2009. Here's the excerpt that initially interested me.

Julie White won a Tony for playing the ruthless agent in Little Dog Laughed who's desperate to keep her movie star client in the closet
Which, by the way, is so dated!  I joke. Certain reviewers say the play is so dated and I think, "Do you want the list?" What I was making fun of was the rules. At one point, the character says,  "I think I want to come out as a gay actor" and his agent says, "Are you British?  Are you knighted? If not, shut up!"  Now you can be on television, but you have to be the comedic character, you can't be the romantic character. So there are certain rules to it. 

And I was feeling that as a culture, maybe we've made progress in this arena. Neil Patrick Harris is probably the most visibly "out" actor in Hollywood, and he's been terrifically successful on the television comedy How I Met Your Mother as (straight) lothario Barney Stinson. Matt Bomer, the leading man on the cable television show White Collar,  recently came out as a happily partnered gay man in a long term relationship. He plays the (straight) hunk Neil Caffrey on his show to little outrage. Or so I thought until I read an online rant by Brett Easton Ellis, the author of, among other novels, American Psycho.

Here's the backstory. Ellis was up to write the screenplay for the film adaptation of the book Fifty Shades of Grey (and we're not even going to talk about that). Ellis had been publicly talking about how much he wanted the job, was fantasy casting online with his fans, and so on. Then Ellis announced that he'd met with the producers and he was out of the running. A number of ladies are suggesting that Matt Bomer could easily take on the lead role of Christian Grey. Ellis started Tweeting that, basically, no, Bomer couldn't be Christian Grey because he "comes off totally gay in White Collar." He then said "I am NOT discriminating Matt Bomer because of his sexuality. Fifty Shades of Grey demands an actor that is genuinely into women. Get it?!?" Ellis also Tweeted that "Hollywood is the most homophobic place in the entire world."

So maybe Beane's 2009 interview stands.

I think it's kind of funny, Christian Bale played Patrick Bateman in the film adaptation of American Psycho and nobody thought "you know, he's not really a serial killer." We have actors regularly playing superheroes, vampires, doctors, and scientists and nobody bats an eye. (I mean, Denise Richards played a nuclear physicist named Christmas Jones in that James Bond movie.) It's called acting - you're playing a part. Does an actors' personal life really matter? If a woman hasn't had children should she never play a mom? Where's the distinction made? Why is it that "playing it straight" still raises some eyebrows?

Watch the play and tell me what YOU think.

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