Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Straight Male Actors and Gay Kissing

Amusing article about male actors who've had to kiss other men in movies, focusing on James Franco, who plays Harvey Milk's boyfriend in the new biopic, "Milk". Why Can't a Kiss Be Just a Kiss? This article by Hank Stuever, who's always funny, talks about how such male actors are always grilled incessantly about "what it's like" to kiss another man (shock! horror!). And that they invariably must hate it, and that "a gay kissing scene must be the worst Hollywood job hazard that a male actor could face". The assumption is that everyone, including the audience, is totally grossed out. Yet, it's not that funny to gay people. The article quotes Corey Scholibo, entertainment editor for The Advocate, a gay magazine: "At a certain point, the joking about it...just isn't funny anymore...And it's disappointing for gay people. [especially since Prop 8 - paraphrasing]."

The article points out that no one ever asks gay actors what it's like to have to kiss women when they're playing a role. And I have the perfect clip of a gay actor making this very point. This is John Barrowman talking about Torchwood, which features a few male/male kisses, about which the straight actors are quizzed repeatedly (he's the only gay actor on the show). Barrowman makes the point that no one ever asks him what it's like for him to kiss a woman.

And here's an interview with Gareth David-Lloyd, a straight actor who plays Ianto Jones, the love interest of Barrowman's character on Torchwood. He has a refreshingly non-homophobic attitude.

Part of what sets 'Torchwood' apart from 'Doctor Who' is the fluid sexuality of each of the characters, and the matter-of-fact same-sex relationship that Gareth's character, Ianto, enjoys with John Barrowman's Captain Jack Harkness.

The relationship has translated into a large gay fanbase for Gareth, including a spot on's annual Hot 100 List. When I bring up the list, Gareth's eyes light up mischievously. "I did beat Brad Pitt and David Beckham. Just for the fucking record."

Not too shabby for a man who wasn't even on last year's list.

He's also very proud to be known as a gay icon, even though he's straight. "As a straight man, I'm just as flattered being a gay icon as I would be being a straight icon or whatever," he shrugs. "I'm of a mindset and philosophy that same sex relationships just aren't a fucking issue for me."

To his credit, he doesn't shy away from the subject; in fact, he's pretty passionate about making his opinion known. "It's not as much of an issue [in the U.K.] at all. I don't get it, I don't understand why it's controversial, I don't understand why it's anyone's business or why it becomes anyone's problem where you stick your dick," he states, with bracing candor. "Because it's not an issue for me, I don't really see us as pioneers. If we are viewed as pioneers, I just feel sorry for the people that are just coming 'round, because the wankers should have grown up much longer ago.

"There's nothing wrong with [two men kissing] and the fact that people are interested in [Jack and Ianto's] relationship – I'd like that to be because of the chemistry. That's the reason I want it to be popular, not because, oh my God, it's a SciFi show with a gay relationship. I know people are going to be like that, but because it's not an issue for me, I sort of haven't got time for people it is an issue for."

Trailer for "Milk", which has gotten fantastic reviews:

Here's Franco on the David Letterman Show, in which he now famously kisses Dave on the cheek and talks about kissing Sean Penn. Funny quotes: "I never dreamed that I'd be kissing Spicoli." (Sean Penn played the stoner Spicoli in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High"); Dave says, "We're registered at Target."


That's MIZZ Gypsy To You! said...

Since I already commented on your Live Journal post I don't have much to say except that I'm disappointed in Letterman. He's usually a much less uncomfortable host. At least he was able to laugh a little, though. (And I have to admit, the thought of kissing Spicoli is kind of weird for me, too...)

BTW, you aren't the only one to keep politics on Blogspot and TW on Live Journal. Great minds and all that...

crabbyanne said...

I went on LJ initially because of TW, so f-list and everything on there is about TW. I'd like RL friends to be able to look at this blog, too, and none of them are on LJ that I know of, so it made sense to start up something new on blogspot.

K said...

I read this article too. Kind of interesting to see the double standards between how the women and men doing same sex kisses are treated.

I think it's a big step that same sex kissing is starting to show up on the main stream big screen.

crabbyanne said...

Yeah, the double standard is fascinating. I agree about the movies, of course, but I think the bigger step is same sex kisses on TV (as in the video of Torchwood above). Or Brothers and Sisters.