Is Matt Bomer too gay to star in Fifty Shades of Grey?
Can an actor be too straight to play a gay role? Of course not: think Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Colin Firth, Sean Penn, James Franco, Tom Hanks, Leonardo diCaprio, and the stars of almost every gay Hollywood movie there is, who obviously weren't too straight.
So why is an openly gay actor unsuitable to play a straight role in a Hollywood film?
That's a question that Bret Easton Ellis claims to know the answer to. The author of Less Than Zero and American Psycho took to Twitter to disseminate his, um, wisdom upon the "ignorant" masses about why openly gay actor Matt Bomer cannot star in the movie adaptation of the S&M book Fifty Shades of Grey.
"Okay. Let's finalize this. Matt Bomer is totally hot and a very good actor. He is NOT right for Christian Grey and it complicates the role," Ellis tweeted. Ellis had just been removed from the list of screenwriters being considered for Fifty Shades of Grey.
Ellis then went on to add: "Fifty Shades of Grey: Matt Bomer: I don't care how good an actor you are but being married to another man complicates things for playing CG."
Ellis argues that the sexually charged role demands an actor who is straight in real life and an "actor that is genuinely into women". But according to him, he's not being prejudicial.
"Fifty Shades of Grey: Matt Bomer is NOT about discrimination. It's about an intensely straight actor wanting absolutely to screw Ana Steele."
He adds that Bomer "comes off totally gay in White Collar" and therefore could never play Christian Grey. He further went on to say that if Bomer got the role, "the international press tour will be an embarrassing fiasco".
Ellis also sent out this convoluted tweet (utilizing offensive terms):
"Jesus, the homophobia over Matt Bomer not being Christian Grey is so unsettling and aesthetically retarded. He's NOT right for Christian G."
(Presumably he meant to write "furor" or "outcry" in the place of "homophobia"?)
On the one hand, he says he likes the fact that female audiences are supportive of Bomer in the role of Grey ("I actually think it's cool that women want Matt Bomer as Christian Grey. It means that we've moved beyond stereotypes and that gay is hot..."). But on the other hand, he doesn't necessarily argue that Hollywood could or should recognize this shift in audience support.
Instead, he goes on to pose the question, rather confusingly: "Would anyone watch Brokeback Mountain if it stayed true to the original story where both characters are hideously ugly? No. Homo beauty WIN?"
(For some reason, he doesn't argue that openly gay actors should have been cast in the lead roles, to maintain consistency with his logic.)
Moving right along, he also fired off this sparkling little gem:
"Look, all actors are GAY: they put on make up and pretend to be someone else. That's just a fact. Rock and roll. Deal with it. Scientology?"
(Going by his logic on a literal level, if all actors are gay, why is it a problem for this film?)
Ultimately, Ellis appears to be trying to argue what he thinks Hollywood would most likely do. He says that "Hollywood is the most homophobic place in the entire world" and that, as his final word, "there is no way in hell that the makers of "Fifty Shades of Grey" will hire an openly gay actor to play Christian Grey".
Unfortunately, he never states at any point that he disagrees with this mode of thinking or argues that it should be challenged otherwise. If he states that Hollywood is homophobic and he agrees with it, what exactly does that make him?
He later tweeted that he has since been repeatedly called self-loathing and was spat upon while passing a free HIV–testing van in a West Hollywood parking lot.
In an interview with The Paris Review earlier this year, he had said that he doesn't identify himself as gay. But he did state: "I was fairly bisexual in college—I had girlfriends, I had boyfriends."
Well, if all goes as Ellis predicts, perhaps Bomer can instead star in the screen adaptation of Fifty Shades of Gay.
All that aside, Bomer and his partner Simon Halls of Slate PR, who are the parents of three children, will receive the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network's Inspiration Award at the eighth annual Respect Awards on October 5. The couple is being recognized by the organization "for their commitment to family and causes they care for, including GLSEN". DreamWorks Animation cofounder and CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg and his wife Marilyn will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award.