movie stars

Why We’re Proud to Say Ewan McGregor Is The Best Straight Man Playing Gay In Hollywood


Ewan McGregor is a class act, which is hard to find in Hollywood. And despite both gay leading roles in I Love You Phillip Morris going to two heterosexual movie stars, McGregor makes us thrilled that he’s playing one of us.

McGregor loves playing gay. Or he must at least loving getting paid for playing gay. He’s played gay in The Pillow Book and The Velvet Goldmine, and with his latest film opposite Jim Carrey, he plays gay again.

But McGregor’s shining role is not as a movie star, but as a genuine guy not so caught up with the stigmatization of sexuality. And he’s not sitting out on the controversies brewing over Morris, like criticism of the film being de-gayed en route to wide release. Or that Hollywood studios colluded for the proper timing: “There was talk that Disney fended off the release until after A Christmas Carol came out. They didn’t want kids thinking [Carrey’s] Ebenezer Scrooge was a bender,” he tells Joshua David Stein in Out.

That’s the same interview where he recalls, fondly, of kissing co-star Jonathan Rhys Meyers in Goldmine: “I remember when I kissed Johnny. It was just a rush at the end of the day. It was just an electrical moment, because you look around and some of the British electrician guys — who are all mainly closeted homosexuals, I think — were sitting around going ‘Fuck, no.’ But I like kissing boys on screen. As a straight guy, it’s quite an interesting proposition. Anything on a film set that takes you by surprise like that, that gets your blood up, is good.”

[flv: 420 240]

And this is the same guy who snogged Carrey in front of cameras at France’s National Order of Arts and Letters event.

It was that kiss, meanwhile, that brings McGregor even deeper into our clutches. Discussing that photo on Good Morning America with George Stephanopoulos, McGregor handily throws the news anchor’s uncomfortableness with the smooch back in his face. Because he is a professional. (The blog Towleroad, which pointed us to the clip, calls the exchange an example of “casual homophobia”; casual is the operative word here. But it’s really just an example of heterosexism, where images of celebrities kissing are expected to be of the heterosexual variety, and anything else is “weird.”)

That McGregor is a remarkable talent is enough to go see his films. But that he represents the gay community — as a straight man! — with responsible ease? Well, that’s reason to swoon.

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  • Cam

    I get the point of this article, but frankly getting excited about another straight actor who feels that it’s ok to play gay is kind of old news isn’t it? Without interviews like that OUT Magazine would have not had anything to print for the last 10 years.

  • dontblamemeivotedforhillary

    I’ve liked Ewan since ‘Trainspotting’ for obvious reasons. Does Out Magazine still exist? – it seems to have no relevance in the last 10 years as a glossy cologne-filled and model rag. I think if we hear more about straight actors who support our cause and lifestyles, it might prod that Hollywood cauldron lid of for the closeted gay actors.

  • Lucius vorenus

    He is lovely. One must also point out that he loves to show his dick in his movies. Full frontal, many times. The guy is fearless.

  • Meowzer

    I happy with the fact that actors like McGregor are comfortable enough with themselves that they can play gay and not think another thing about it. But that’s just the problem… they’re playing. If they had to actually walk a mile in our shoes, they’d know the homophobia and more that we have to face everyday… just to live our daily lives.
    Where are these actors, and the others that say they don’t have a problem with “gay people”, helping us push for gay rights. Where are the rallies, telethons and fundraisers to repeal such acts as Prop 8? While some are very good at talking the talk, can they walk the walk?
    We don’t more straight people understanding and accepting us, we need more fighting for us. Fighting with us.

  • ROBinNYC

    I caught MOULIN ROUGE on cable a week or so ago, and he’s so fucking brilliant in that movie. Utterly dreamy in every way.

  • Sam

    I think the point Queerty is making is that Stephaluffagus (who I’ve always thought seemed a little…mmm…fey) was trying to take a cheap humor shot by saying “guys kissing! ick! weird!” and McGregor wouldn’t let him. Not only wouldn’t let him, but called him out on it being homophobic.

    How many of the other actors who have played gay would do that? Quite a few of them make a big deal in the media about how “strange” it was to kiss another dude. But McGregor won’t go that route and should be commended for it.

  • AlanInSLCUtah

    I find it ridiculous to pose the argument you are suggesting. Most of us (as LGBT’s) don’t walk in the shoes of other discriminated classes (as we have our hands full with our own lives) to find out how their experiences are limited/affected due to others fears/misunderstandings. Why would/should we expect actors (like Ewan McGregor) to take on our lifestyle and live through the challenges we face simply because you feel they don’t truely understand our point of view? If they portray even a small amount of truth, that is a blessing in my eyes. Life is full of challenges, regardless of how you self identify. No person is exempt from these personal challenges. Just because you can’t see how someone on the outside of our community can associate themselves with our struggle and support our efforts without actually living our lifestyle DOES NOT make them someone we need to target as unworthy to represent themselves as an ally on behalf of our community.

  • Lucius vorenus

    Yeah, we cannot expect or demand everybody to fight for our cause, even if it is a just cause. A person can be extremely nice, moral and gay friendly, and has no obligation whatsoever to become a gay activist. We cannot demand everybody to fight. That is not fair. That would be absurd.

    Some readers here have no clue!

  • Lukas P.

    When’s Ewan gonna kiss Jude Law?

    McGregor doesn’t feel the need to blather on about his heterosexuality every time he gets interviewed about a snog with another man. He’s an actor, he’s good at portraying a character, and he doesn’t pull out that tired fake talkshow laugh that other st8 male actors resort to when recounting a same-sex scene. Yeesh, it’s not like they had their nut sac yanked on with plyers and barbed wire.

    I still am not a fan of Jim Carrey’s acting, but, no big deal. He has nice hair.

  • fredo777

    Gorgeous man + I am a definite fan of his.

  • Comeoutwhereveryouare

    He sure has more guts than Matt Bomer, Anderson Cooper, the whole male cast of “Gossip Girl” and all of Hollywood’s closet cases.

  • Eric

    Stephanopolous is a closet case. He seriously checked me out at a theater in NYC about 10 yrs ago… and I know when I’m being check out!

  • TheAwfulTruth

    Isn’t Stephanopolous a closet case?

  • Renee

    He’s playing gay so I suppose it doesn’t matter that he engaged in rape apologism regarding Polanski? Why can’t people ever see that isms are connected. If he is willing to oppress women what other isms is he willing to support? Ooops silly me he played gay so that stuff just does not matter right. I wonder how many lesbians and trans women think that rape is a real issue in their lives, or don’t you believe that their concerns are important to the GLBT community.

  • hephaestion

    Ewan McGregor is wonderful. “Down With Love” was the most gay movie ever made and I loved McGregor in it.

    We have few actors willing to say they are comfy kissing other men. In fact, I can think of none besides McGregor.

  • Renee

    @hephaestion: So the fact that he is willing to kiss another guy is reason enough to ignore the disgusting rape apologism he engaged in when he decided to support Polanski? I wonder how Polanski’s victim feels about all this support. Keep in mind she was only a 13 year old girl. Oh but girls don’t matter to gay men do they? But when you are being attacked with homophobia you are sure happy to have a woman call that shit out as unacceptable.

  • hephaestion

    @Renee: I didn’t mention Polanski. I don’t know Polanski or anything about him. So don’t assume I support Polanski. I have done more to fight violence against women than you will do in 5 lifetimes, so go spit on someone else, Renee.

  • Renee

    @hephaestion: What I am saying to you and every one that is celebrating McGregor is that they are celebrating a rape apologist. McGrergor has gone on record defending Polanski and no matter how many little kisses he has on camera supporting someone who could belittle the rape of a teenage girl is disgusting.

  • alan brickman

    Ewan was brilliant….

  • sal(the original)


  • Lukas P.

    @Renee: Gay men get raped too. Please inform yourself before throwing stones. Did anyone here say Ewan is perfect? Nope. Your harangue comes off as single-minded and as such might get better play on a site or thread that relates to your single issue.

  • rrr

    @Renee: I haven’t seen him being an apologist for Polanski’s rape. All he’s said is that he isn’t going to comment on Polanski’s case and that he wanted to work with Polanski professionally because he is a talented artist. That is not an endorsement of rape.

  • sebastien

    I don’t see any homophobia, the presenter is not shocked. The girl behind who says “ho” is not homophobic. You have i USA much more homophobic case to talk about , I think it’s a huge thing made out of nothing. Even myself, as a gay man, i would have say “ho” and smile.

  • spindoc

    @ hephaestion you said, “Ewan McGregor is wonderful. “Down With Love” was the most gay movie ever made and I loved McGregor in it.”…..

    So Down with Love is more gay than Brokeback Mountain, Beautiful Thing, The Wedding Banquet, All Over the Guy, The Broken Hearts Club, A Single Man, etc… Seriously?

  • fredo777

    Man, I loved All Over The Guy so, so much.

  • schlukitz

    No. 21 · Lukas P.

    Your harangue comes off as single-minded

    It’s not her first…and I am certain that it will not be her last.

    She seems to have an issue with gay men in general as this provocative comment she made in her post will attest to.

    Oh but girls don’t matter to gay men do they?

  • A now confused John from England (used to be just John but there are other John's)


    Dude, I hear you but it’s not the same thing!

  • Scot

    renee, ”
    I wonder how Polanski’s victim feels about all this support.”
    She’s not only fine with it, she’s one of his supporters. Try reading a newspaper before you climb on your fucking soapbox, will you.
    Also, Qieerty, when you listed McGregor’s gay roles you left out his best. Scenes Of A Sexual Nature deals with real life issues and Ewan plays a gay man with real life issues. Check that one out. It’s worth the effort it takes to find it. It’s the English – Hampstead Heath Park – version of Paris Je T’aime or New York, I Love You.

  • fredo777

    @Scot: Funny you should mention it, b/c I just downloaded Scenes Of A Sexual Nature the other day. Haven’t watched it yet, though.

  • Scot

    I don’t know if its going to drive you as nuts as it did me but the cute little guy that you almost hope gets laid in the movie is Tom Hardy. He’s been in some really good movies such as Black Hawk Down, Band of Brothers, but most notably in Star Trek: Nemesis as Praetor Shinzon.
    I about went nuts trying to figure out where I’d heard that voice before. Hope you like the movie.

  • fredo777

    @Scot: Oh, I know Tom Hardy. He’s sexy as hell. Looking forward to this one even more now. Thanks.

  • David Ehrenstein

    @Lukas P.: When’s Ewan going to kiss ME? He’s unspeakably adorable.

    As for Jim Carrey, have you seen “Doing Time on Maple Drive”? There’s a real actor inside that buffoon.

  • Cam

    No. 28 · Scot said..
    renee, ”
    I wonder how Polanski’s victim feels about all this support.”
    She’s not only fine with it, she’s one of his supporters. Try reading a newspaper before you climb on your fucking soapbox, will you.

    No she isn’t, she said that she is tired of constantly having her name dragged through the mud by Polanski supporters every time this issue is brought up and wishes it would just go away. Being tired of being attacked and wishing a problem away is not the same thing has her saying that she supports the guy who raped her when she was 13.

  • Klarth



    which means, #4, that McG is fighting for us after all.

    And playing gay roles as a straight man is in itself activism b/c so many guys are scared to do it b/c they feel it will kill their career, and Ewan is showing them how it’s done.

    I agree that it’s not the same as if he was gay, but then, let me remind you of the Clay Aiken thread. If Ewan WAS gay, he’d probably be closeted and not lifting a finger for us at all, and getting caught trolling for dick/ass like George Michael used to do.
    So, he might actually be more useful as a straight ally, putting cameramen and former Cabinet members-cum-talk show hosts in their place, and making gay love sexy and heartwarming instead of gross in people’s minds.

  • Daddy Grace Fish Sandwich

    Ewan McGegor is a great actor, but I truly believe, many actors in Hollywood are bisexual and like having sex with both male and felmales and especially when they are high off drug or alcohol.

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