Almost as soon as America got its pudgy little fingers on E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey, rumors started circling about who should play the book’s seductive male lead, Christian Grey, in the inevitable film adaptation.
One actor’s name has risen to the top of the short list: Matt Bomer, the co-star of the fan-generated faux trailer above and a fake Entertainment Weekly cover.
But now Internet gadflies are wondering if the Magic Mike actor can pull off the role—what with him being a gay and all. Even Brett Easton Ellis, who was rumored to be writing the screenplay, tweeted that casting Bomer in the movie, “is the equivalent [of] casting Jesse Tyler Ferguson.”
Gee, and you wonder why Ellis has a reputation for being a jerk.
With more and more actors living openly, questions about gays playing straight roles are inevitable—but they still feel insulting. No one took a poll to see if Heath Ledger could convincingly play gay or if Kevin McHale could convincingly play a disabled kid. International Business Times polled its readers about whether gay Matt could play straight Christian. (If you’re curious, 77% of respondents said it’s not an issue.)
Sure there are some gay actors who couldn’t pull off a heterosexual male lead, just like there are some straight male actors that couldn’t pull off the role of a brain surgeon or a college professor. (No offense, Channing.) But the question about Bomer isn’t so much about his acting ability or how flaming he is (not very). It’s about the audience’s ability to forget what they know about a performer’s personal life when they see them onscreen.
And that’s on us, not him.
“What we really have to do is stop the adjective before the job title—whether it’s ‘black actor,’ a ‘gay actor’ or ‘anything’ actor,” Bomer recently told E! online. “Everybody thinks that equality comes from identifying people, and that’s not where equality comes from. Equality comes from treating everybody the same regardless of who they are.”
True enough. Meanwhile, we’re still Team Skarsgard
Photo: USA Network