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.”

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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.