Jane Lynch: America Isn’t Ready For Gays To Play Straight. And It Might Never Be

I don’t know when or if [gay actors in leading roles] will ever happen. I think because since most of the world is straight — and maybe we’ll get to a place where this will happen — most of the world is straight and we want the audience to project their hopes and dreams for love and romance onto those actors. And if it’s not in some way possible, maybe never probably, in their mind that it could never happen, then they’re not going to do it. You know, most people are straight, and I think that’s probably why…. This is a business of projection and desiring people from afar. And watching people go through trials and tribulations, so there has got to be some truth to it, in terms of, “I could see myself with that person.” Because the leading man and lady are the person we want them to fall in love with, and most of the audience is straight. So for right now, we can only use straight actors.

—Jane Lynch, who doesn’t think audiences are ready for gay characters playing straight lead roles, evidently disagrees with Will & Grace creator Max Mutchnick, who doesn’t “think the audience is as homophobic as the media” — and Jane Lynch — “would have us believe.” [via AE]

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  • Simon

    So not true! What about Matthew Bomer, NPH (Barney FTW!), Daniel Craig (yep, he’s definitely gay) ?

  • scott ny'er

    Not a fan of her Glee character but I am a fan of her now.

  • Midtowner

    I’ll probably get smacked down for this, but have to agree with her…

  • alan brickman

    ummm..Mathew Bomber? He could break that cycle…

  • alan brickman

    OOh Matthwe bad..

  • Drew

    With his movie idol looks and great talent Bomer will break the horrible cycle – if you read the blogs, his female fans all know and could care less.

  • alan brickman

    Oops! Matthew Bomer…once again…

  • redball

    I don’t buy this. Art and Hollywood can be so much more than pandering to the hopes and desires of the moviegoers.

    The audience is constantly asked to suspend disbelief for the sake of a movie’s storyline. Maybe it’s time to see if audiences can also suspend judgment of a character by refusing to fixate on the sexuality of that real-life actor. Movies are about the art of creating a fantasy, a world unto itself. Weird that you should be focused on who was in Rupert Everett’s bed last night while watching his on-screen character.

    Just sounds like an excuse for marginalizing non-hetero actors and it’s all very bizarre to me….

  • alan brickman

    Love Jane too…bring back morning goods…see what happens when people who wouldn’t date themselves take control…

  • Candid guy

    It will progress over time and change thankfully. Agree on above,guys like Bomer will make it happen.And on a side note, that man can sing too!

  • hmmm

    Love Jane, love her Glee character!

  • PopSnap

    I LOVE Jane but I disagree with her. Straight people do it just fine. look at Brokeback Mountain. In about 50 years or so it may just be remembered as one of the greatest gay movies of all time, if not the greatest.

  • Ealan75

    Simon, neither of them were out when they took on those roles.

  • afrolito

    What does Brokeback Mountain have to do with anything Jane said?? It was a film directed by a straight man, and starring two straight actors, about two closet cases. The audience didn’t have to take a leap of faith, because no one outside of gay blogs assumed Heath and Jake were/are gay. What Jane is talking about is her belief in the audiences inabilty to accept openly gay men in leading man/lady roles in films, and she’s absolutely right.

    Let’s be real. If Brad Pitt was openly gay, there is no way he would have ever had the career he’s had. Most women would not be able to sit in a dark theater swooning over him, if they knew he was off somewhere sucking cock. Like it or not, people project their own fantasies and perceptions of reality onto these stars.

    Since when is Daniel Craig definitely gay? And even if he is, he’s not open about it, because if he was, he would never have been cast as James Bond.

    Matthew Boomer or however it’s spelled is not openly gay the last I checked, he wasn’t a movie star.

    NPH is not, never was, and never will be a major star. He stars on a mid level sitcom on CBS, and as soon as that is done, he’ll either host award shows, or go back to musical theater.

  • JAW

    Sadly… Jane may be correct… we do not have any Out leading men.

    Neil Patrick Harris is gay and Out… but he is a Comedian… NOT a leading Man… AKA Sex Symbol…

    I would love to know who is gay in TV, Movies,and Sports, but for most of them to come Out would/could cost them millions of dollars and perhaps there career. Funny people can get away with coming out. Men and Women who want to be leading men and ladies need to stay in the closet for now. Sports figures are also not able to come out yet and keep their endorsements.

  • jak

    This woman is suffering from oxerexposure and an inflated ego. It is not her place to put limits on an entire sexuality from her own myopic “us versus them” mentality.

  • Paramount G

    She’s right for now but it is changing. Younger people don’t see the world in that restrictive a sense.Agree on NPH, love him but no leading man.Daniel Craig is really kind of common knowledge,at least on the business end of the business.Matt Bomer will be a huge star, he’s well on his way,much studio buzz with him,wading in scripts.It’s a long road but times are changing however slowly.We’ve been patient,just need to wait a bit longer.

  • Biff

    Can I wade into the waters of gender distinctions? Female (lesbian/bi) actors can more easily pull off playing straight. Look at Angelina Jolie. Male non-straight actors, once known that they can snog with another dude, seem jinxed. But I hold out hope.

  • Jose

    Exactly! This is why i hate it when straight actors play gay roles!

  • David Ehrenstein

    I love Jane but I think she’s wrong.

    And Boemer isn’t out so to bloddy hell with him !

  • J.

    The only thing holding openly gay actors back is other gay people.

  • Sarah Jane

    Actors should keep their private lives private. In the case of gay male actors it is also smart business sense unless ensemble, gay, or Glee guest roles are okay for you. God and nothing worse than actors peddling their personal crap to the press. Suri, Brad and Angolina’s kids etc., surrogate kids, horrible for the kids.

  • jacknastion

    Um WTF? Didn’t she just win an Emmy for playing a straight woman? I know Sue isn’t exactly a sexpot on Glee but there has been plot lines that have specifically dealt with the fact that she is attracted to men. Also many of Jane’s characters have been straight, what a weird ass thing to say.

    Also Matthew Bomber, Guillermo Diaz, NPH, all seem to be getting tons of work playing straight people.

  • testington

    @afrolito: Why are you so jealous of Neil Patrick Harris? Any time somebody mentions him you spew this irrational jealous hate. The dude has won Emmy’s, Golden Globes and People’s Choice awards in the past 3 years…which puts him above 99.9% of the people working in his profession. That makes him a huge success by any definition…sorry you’re not at the top of your game.

  • ForeverGay

    Sarah Jane, STFU. Haterosexuals peddle their sexuality non-stop. And it’s haterosexuals that are keeping gay people from living their lives because of the reality of losing job opportunities, friends and family.

  • Yuki

    I fear Jane may be right, but we can always hope for the best. I mean, it /is/ called “acting” for a reason.

  • Charlie

    Oh Queerty.

    Now… I didn’t like the way Ramin Setoodeh (sp?) said us homos could never be believed.

    I also didn’t like the way you, yes you, Queerty followed up that story by suggesting that Sean Hayes’s sexual orientation wasn’t an obstacle but effeminacy is. I don’t see how you can get on Ramin and then call Sean a nancy boy.

    Working gay actor/actress have one after the other said that Hollywood is not ready for gay actors to play straight leads in major motion pictures. And every time they say it you tell them they are being homophobic.

    If I said that a gay man or lesbian could not get elected president of the United States in the next election am I being homophobic or realistic?

  • Obama DID say DADT would happen on his watch... (John From England)


    WTF? She mentioned Brangelina!!!? Are they not hets?

    Read her very interesting interview where she talks about herself and why she’s ables to do it. She’s a character actor. And she’s a lesbian. Like it or not, lesbians will always be accepted more in society then gay men.

    I agree with you up to a point. You don’t know how to spell Bomer, so it’s assumed you don’t know anything about him. He is openly gay. He plays a leading man in his TV show and is playing in a new movie with Justin Timberlake, Amanda Siergerfed-don’t know how to spell her name. He was also going to also going to play superman but the role went to Brendan Routh when Singer came on board as Director.

    So he isn’t one yet, you’re right but he is moving into that direction. I will be very interested to see how he handles all the fan base. So far 90% of his female fan base on the fan blogs don’t care that he is gay and there is always the mentally 10 who are obsessed with it and have said they have stopped fancying him because of that.

    Also, especially on Just Jared, the female commenters there are really nasty about the fact he is gay, so much so it’s like relentless bullying. Just check any Bomer post and the comments.

  • Obama DID say DADT would happen on his watch... (John From England)


    You’re realistic Charlie. Check out the dictionary for the difference between the concept of realism and homophobia.

  • jason

    Fuck off, Jane Lynch. Most of the world is NOT straight. Haven’t you heard of Kinsey? Kinsey found that most men have feelings for both genders. In any case, why are you trading on the assumption that a straight guy can’t suspend disbelief when watching a romance featuring a gay guy playing a straight guy? Audiences suspend disbelief all the time. For instance, I might watch Clooney playing a murderer even though I know he’s really not.

    Therefore, in summation, let me say the following to Jane:

    You’re a moronic cunt who basically props up homophobia. You’re basically making excuses for homophobia. You’re a product of Hollywood, you stupid bitch. And you’re a woman. What right does a woman have to speak for men? You women have had it relatively easy with the bisexual double standard favoring your expressions of sexuality over ours.

  • Daez

    @JAW: I think its a different scenario for women. I think that women can quite easily come out as lesbian or bisexual at this point and not have it hurt their career. If anything, they just manage to excite even more support from straight men, and women don’t really care as much because curiosity amongst women is supported by this culture.

    @jak: Nope, it is your place because you have so much experience in Hollywood, in movies and in television…OH WAIT!

    @testington: He isn’t disparaging NPH, he is simply saying that he is not a leading actor in Hollywood. He is by no means A-list. He is an excellent actor, but NPH doesn’t have the looks to ever get a leading role in a movie that isn’t a B-rated comedy sketch.

    @Obama DID say DADT would happen on his watch… (John From England): While he is out, he is not exactly promoting being gay. He has often declined to comment. His television show is on a second rate cable network and is most likely to be compared to Silk Stalkings (we all see where Chris Porter and Rob Estes got right). His casting as a side kick in a JT movie proves nothing. JT is the star that everyone is supposed to swoon after in that movie. Why not cast a gay star when you already have JT (who is probably a closet case) in the lead role. That right there should tell you something, since its arguable that JT can’t really act. Also, the real question you should be asking is why he got denied a role after a director came on board. Was it because of his homosexuality, perhaps?

  • afrolito

    @Obama DID say DADT would happen on his watch… (John From England):

    Matthew Bomer has never to my knowledge come out as gay. If I’m wrong, show me a source where he states it definitively. Being coy, and dancing around the question is not being out.

    I guarantee that most people who are fans of his show, probably have no clue about his personal life, or post on his internet forums.

  • Daez

    @jason: Oh, dear sweet Jason. Anything a woman says can’t be right because all women suck. Damn dude, you need to get treatment for your issue.

    It doesn’t matter that she has a career in television and movies. You know better just because you have a penis.

    As usual, I’m sorry your mother left you to be raised by your father who is a misogynistic drunken pig, but take that out on your mother not all women.

  • Daez

    @jason: Oh, dear sweet Jason. Anything a woman says can’t be right because all women suck. Damn dude, you need to get treatment for your issue.

    It doesn’t matter that she has a career in television and movies. You know better just because you have a cock.

    As usual, I’m sorry your mother left you to be raised by your father who is a misogynistic drunken pig, but take that out on your mother not all women.

    NOTE: I seriously can’t believe that QT, a gay website, will allow me to say fuck but not P E N I S without filtering it.

  • skzip888

    Believe it or not, I think audiences can appreciate a well-acted main character without immediately trying to “ship” with them. How many people really go into a Groucho Marx or Woody Allen movie thinking “geez, i wonder which girl he’s going to end up with.” Sure, I know Allen usually spends half the time trting to get with Mia Farrow or Diane Keaton, but, if he didn’t, I doubt most of us would miss it. I know some might not consider Sue Sylvester a “lead” character, but she’s a perfect counter-example. Despite Sue’s many achievements and brilliant evil schemes, she’s still a loser at relationships, and that’s part of why the audience allows themselves to like her.

  • JAW

    @Obama DID say DADT would happen on his watch… (John From England):

    Sorry John…. Matthew Bomer is NOT OUT. We know that he has a partner and kid… but 98% of the straight world does not have a clue.

    People in high profile groups, like Gays or Catholics or Democrats etc. know all of the details of their groups, but most people outside of the group do not have any clue, and members of the group THINK all of the outsiders know all of the details and the outsiders do not have a clue.

    There is a long list of celebs out there, like Matthew Bomer, that have Not come out, but we on the inside have some info on them.

    Until we can guarantee that a celeb will not lose jobs or money, we need to let them keep their private lives private.

  • Same Old Stuff

    @Obama DID say DADT would happen on his watch… (John From England): Perfect comments on all points.I have seen the jared stuff too,I think one crazy homophobe that camps on there under different names.Mr.Bomer is handling his rapid career assent perfectly and should not deviate from his privacy approach until films kick in which is beginning to happen.Anyone who has heard of him is aware of his story and as mentioned above somewhere,with looks and talent like his, his orientation is just moot, which is great.

  • ChiGuy76

    I think Ms. Lynch has a point. However, no one has actually tested this line of thinking out. Big Hollywood, like Ms. Lynch and the public at large, seems to rely on the “conventional wisdom” or “common knowledge” that an openly gay lead in a straight role will not succeed. Consequently, no studio has ever tried to put out a big budget movie with an openly gay lead. I don’t understand why they don’t at least attempt to promote an openly gay actor/actress in a lead role for a big budget picture. If the movie bombs (which the majority of big budgets do anyway), then they have their “proof” that the viewing public is not ready yet and they can continue to argue against the openness of gay actors. However, if the movie succeeds then they get piles of money, a bankable A-List Gay, and the LGBT community off their backs about not having gays in leading roles. Really it’s a win/win situation for the Hollywood establishment. But, I sometimes think they are more worried about being proven wrong in thier beliefs than about making history and shattering the pink ceiling in Hollywood. Such is life in the battle for equal rights and treatment.

  • Cam

    I guess Neil Partric Harriss Character on “How I met your Mother” isn’t straight now?

    Thats the problem with some of the people who have been in Hollywood for too long, they’ve still totally bought into the Hollywood homophobic mindset.

    Brokeback Mountain made a fortune, but we never saw any other gay themed features from any major studios.

    Will and Grace was a huge sucess, the audience didn’t rise up en masse and picket the studio for producing it.

    If Hollywood TRULY believes that the audiences can’t just watch a movie and not take the actor out of their heads, then why did they keep casting Mel Gibson after his first racist rant? Why did Tom Cruise continue to get jobs after his crazy scientology rants? Why is Winnona Ryder popping up in movies?

    I think Jane Lynch is just trying to excuse her co-star in Glee for staying in the closet.

  • Rob

    @Cam: Loved your last line, good one! no one ever mentions that anywhere, bizarre.

  • ChiGuy76

    @Cam: Which costar is that?

  • Laura

    Re. Matt Bomer not having made a public statement about being gay, it’s irrelevant, as he was very publicly outed by the publishing of those photos on the internet of him French kissing an old boyfriend. And if anyone with the slightest interest in him googles his name, mentions of his being gay are right there on the first results page.

    So, it’s out there, and all his fans know. But, as has been mentioned above, 90%+ don’t care. (I’d really say 100%, because realistically, how can you be a fan of someone you disapprove of or don’t find attractive?) Bomer has a huge female fan base who couldn’t care less about him being gay, and also don’t have a problem with him portraying the very straight Neal Caffrey on White Collar.

    The sooner people get over this idiotic assumption that the audience cannot separate fact from fiction, the better. Of course some people cannot, but then they’re going to have problems with all sorts of actors who have high public profiles that conflict with the parts they play.

  • SteveC

    When people like Lynch make these blanket statements, have you noticed that they never say:

    “America will never accept openly gay leading characters, which is why we must insist as a community that gay roles are ONLY played by openly gay actors!”

  • afrolito

    Like someone else stated, 98% of the public have no clue about Matthew Bomer being gay. People in here are DELUSIONAL if they think he will ever come out, and have a mainstream leading man career in Hollywood. Don’t hold your breath waiting for Matt Bomer to become the gay equivalent of Brad Pitt.

  • Roger

    @afrolito: well that would be sad since he’s far more talented and better looking than Mr. Pitt

  • Obama DID say DADT would happen on his watch... (John From England)


    No, there still is a good ten percent who DO NOT like him being gay.

    Like you do, go google. Best place to start is not that fan places like ONTD, which are obsessed with him and post by the 100’s, go to the celeb site on Washington post that discussed the Richard chamberlain quote. There was 100’s of comments, the biggest they ever had about can Hollywood expect gay leading men.

    60 percent were okay but there was a strong 40 of women who were not happy at all and were saying that they want to feel that the guy they are swooning over would be with them.

    This is people!

  • David Ehrenstein

    @afrolito: Don’t hold your breath for this closet case to have a big “mainstream” acting career. He’s a on a TV show thatfew are aware of much less watch.

  • afrolito

    @Roger: “he’s far more talented and better looking than Mr. Pitt”. Based on what criteria? Brad has a film resume filled with great roles, and great films. He’s the movie star Bomer can only dream of ever being.

    As far as looks go, I’ll take Brad any day of the week.

  • HJT

    @David Ehrenstein: I do TV numbers for a living so let’s clear this up.The true stats for White Collar show that it was in 2010’s top 15 scripted cable shows at 5.5M viewers per week with another 2M watching the rerun episode the next day.It beats ABC/CBS in its very tough time slot in coveted 18-49 dems which is THE key TV number so actually the show does quite well in addition to being a darling of critics as “smart tv.”.I know you have issues with any gay person that does not get on a pulpit and announce to the world his or her orientation, but I think even you Mr. E have enough years left in you to see this guy hit the big time since it is coming so quickly.

  • Samson

    Didn’t Brad’s career only take off after establishing high profile relations with Jen and Angelina?

  • Latebrosus

    God, you people are hilarious. “98% of the public have no clue about Matthew Bomer being gay.” Yeah, when did Gallup or Pew run that poll?

    “60 percent were okay but there was a strong 40 of women who were not happy at all and were saying that they want to feel that the guy they are swooning over would be with them.” You tallied those comments yourself?


  • Samson

    @Latebrosus: LOL,yes with a margin of error of 95%

  • Obama DID say DADT would happen on his watch... (John From England)


    If you bothered to read what I said which you didn’t, you would see where I am citing my stats from, so stop being a pathetic lazy arse and go look at this sites.

    Some of us are not like most of the Queerty brigade who have emotional non based evidential factual opinions on EVERYTHING.

    You have google, google, [email protected]afrolito:

    Good for you! Everyone knows Brad slept his crap acting way in Hollywood with all and sundry, so it’s good we finally have an outlook of your objective intellectual capacities on the mirage that is Hollywood actors.
    @David Ehrenstein:

    Blah, blah…blah. One man agenda brigade.

  • Max Campbell

    No. 30


  • Max Campbell

    Daez, stop deny obvious things! Stop deny double standards! You are ridiculous!

  • Max Campbell

    Certainly, double standards are very convenient for lesbians!

  • sonia

    get off the air Jane Lynch …. boring. Everything you say and do is only for press. if you want to make a change , do it !

Comments are closed.