Will & Grace Creator Max Mutchnick: (Bad) Gay Actors Still Not Welcome In Hollywood

I don’t think the audience is as homophobic as the media would have us believe. Neither is Hollywood. I’ve never denied an actor a job because he was gay. But I have denied actors jobs because they suck. … There is no blacklist that forbids gay actors from playing straight roles. Convince us you’re in love with her and we’ll hire you. And I promise we won’t care who you’re cuddling up with when you’re off camera.

—Max Mutchnick, creator of Will & Grace and $#*! My Dad Says, defends Hollywood against the homophobic reputation that Richard Chamberlain and Rupert Everett keep talking about [via]

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  • justiceontherocks

    He’s fibbing. When he says “convince us you’re in love with her and we’ll hire you” what he means is: “if we think audiences will believe you’re in love with her we’ll hire you.” If the accountants believe it will cost them at the box office, or with advertisers, they’ll go with the guy perceived by the public to be straight every time.

    The facts are that the number of gay actors dwarfs the number of out gay actors. There’s a reason for that. It’s the money.

    It’s always the money.

  • frankie

    Well, if the public perceives the actor to be straight in the role, then he is doing a good job and should be hired. If he is not believable, then he is not doing a good acting job and should not be hired. Makes sense to me.

  • Mr. Enemabag Jones

    Convince us you’re in love with her and we’ll hire you. And I promise we won’t care who you’re cuddling up with when you’re off camera.

    Why do gay actors always have to “convince” people that they have chemistry with women? And why do straight actors never have to convince anyone they have chemistry with men?

    With douchebags like Mutchnick assuming gay men can’t play straight convincingly, but hets can play gay convincingly, it’s no wonder out gay actors can’t get a break.

  • Brenden

    He’s lying. It’s just easier to cast a straight actor in a straight role – no chances on failure in their eyes. We have a couple of great gay actors playing straight men on tv right now – but the sad rules still apply to narrow hollywood. Maybe one day…

  • Mr. Enemabag Jones

    And why do straight actors never have to convince anyone they have chemistry with men?

    The above should have read:

    And why do straight actors never have to convince anyone they have chemistry with women?

  • jason

    Matt Mutchnick basically states that Hollywood is about the marketing of heterosexual fantasy. This confirms what I’ve said all along. Keep in mind that Hollywood was started by dirty old men who cheated on their wives by dating the starlets they later gave roles to. The whole thing is like a cesspool.

    As for Hollywood not being homophobic, I have to disagree with Matt. Name me one movie in the last 4 years that has incorporated male-male sexuality in a mature, integrating fashion. I honestly can’t think of one. Sure, there have been movies that the critics refer to as “gay movies” – usually small and financed on a shoe-string budget – but where are we in the mainstream movies?

    We still seem to be the comic punch line – totally un-erotic and there for laughs.

  • scott ny'er

    I read this piece in EW and was disgusted. 1st off he said Hollywood but he really is talking about episodic tv not motion pictures. 2nd his examples were not A-List. His arguments didn’t hold any water.

    It’s always about the bottom line. Which he never mentioned. He’s all about creative which is part of the process. But the bottom line rules all. Those who control the purse, have a lot of power.

  • Charlie Jackpot

    What a load of old bollocks – if Zac Efron came out of the closet then his career as it is progressing would be over

  • scott ny'er

    @Charlie Jackpot: Hmmm. I wonder what would happen if Bieber came out, taking your thought process to the music industry.

  • missbaby4love

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  • Gary B.

    another sincere gay rights supporter thrown under the bus by a bunch of queerty folks who will never be happy with anything bitching about it. how stunningly original.

  • hephaestion

    Queerty totally misrepresented Mutchnick’s statement in their headline. Why?

  • divkid

    right or wrong i’d do him.

    — yep, shallow as an actual teaspoon.

    i think he’s channelling that pre orgasm face just for me. also, completely and utterly scientifically you understand, just by looking at his hot nerdy face im reading: hung. anyone else? no?

    please tell me he’s not flaming. or lie to me. i had similar problem with that cohen bravo guy clocked him before i actually heard him squeal — dear readers i canceled the wedding.

    i must be entering my a nerdy jew daddy phase. and i’ve never so much as licked a mazah ball!

  • Sam

    While I find this unashamedly accusatory and simplistic assumption that openly gay actors are treated the same as their hetero counterparts (and are judged entirely on their merits) to be entirely false, there are many openly gay actors whose careers haven’t been hurt by their sexual orientation, nor has it prevented their on-screen performances with female characters from being believable. Guillermo Díaz (to mention an out gay actor younger than Rupert Everett) has been openly gay for many years, but this doesn’t make his interactions with female characters look forced, because he’s a good actor!

    The film industry is certainly homophobic in their uneasiness around gay actors in straight characterizations, to the point of allowing only the very best to be cast (while less-skilled straight actors like Jennifer Aniston, Orlando Bloom, Selma Blair and Sam Worthington get a free pass, even with their woodenness, so long as their good looks draw in the shallow tweens) but this isn’t just an industry problem. The audience are the ones who part with cash to see a film, and are the ones who have to believe the action on-screen is genuine; as the main collective source of income that must ultimately (if indirectly) cover and exceed the cost of producing of a film in order to give the studio a profit, Hollywood must pander to this basal need.

  • jason

    And what, pray tell, did Max Mutchnick ever do for the GLBT community? His Will and Grace was stereotype central, the largely asexual gay guy a mere handbag to the sexually active heterosexual woman. It was totally unrealistic.

    I’m sorry to say this but I think Max is as much a contributor to homophobia in Hollywood as is the right wing.

  • Gary B.

    @jason: Yes, there were gay stereotypes on Will and Grace, but there were two major characters on a very popular show, giving much need visibility. Could it have been a more realistic portrayal of gay people? Of course, but the show was full of caricatures and highly unrealistic scenarios anyway. It was what I like to call “FUN.” Ever heard of it?

    I swear, some people just want to bitch and complain and look on the negative side of everything. Oh thank you, a cold drink, but oops, it’s Pepsi, not Coke. Oh thank you, a cold Coke, but there’s too much ice. Oh thank you, an ice-cold Coke, but it’s only a small. Can’t people be happy with smaller victories and people’s good intentions and support and not have to pick away at everything because it isn’t exactly perfect and the way THEY want it? Jeez louise…

  • justiceontherocks

    @Gary B.: Insulting stereotypes like the gay boys on W & G perpetuate harmful myths about gay men. They don’t give “needed visibility.” As insulting to gay people as the minstrel shows with blackface performers were to blacks.

  • Jimmy

    @Jason – That’s bullshit. I knew, and still know, many guys like Will and Jack. Those characters resonated because we all knew someone like them, or saw something of ourselves in them, beyond the sexual politics. Your consistent stridency on this forum is bizarre. What are you trying to prove?

  • jacknastion

    People need to get over this obsession with not being “a-list” A-List is a dying breed. There really aren’t A-List actors anymore, not like there were in the 80’s and 90’s where one star could make or break a movie.

    There are lots of great gay actors who get work. Just last night I caught Cop Out on TV and the main villain was played by the openly gay Guillermo Diaz who plays everything from comedy to drama and from sweet kind characters to cold blooded killers.

  • Queer Supremacist

    I agree with Jason on Swill and DisGrace. To think that Amos ‘n’ Andy, which dispelled at least as many stereotypes as it reinforced 20 years before the era of Norman Lear’s black sitcoms (and unlike its radio equivalent, provided work to actual black actors), will never be seen again, but this crap will be rerun on cable for eternity, makes me ill. I tried to watch this show and it made me angry. I didn’t think it was fun or funny. And breeders love shit like this, Queer as Folk, Queer Eye for the “Straight” Guy, and Glee because it reinforces their heterosexist and heteronormative stereotypes and makes it easy to single us out, mock us, and condescend to us. Even Billy Crystal’s character on Soap was less of a stereotype (although he started out as one, his stereotypical traits disappeared over a fairly short period of time; he even became a father!) and a far more believable character on a far superior show.

    Katie Couric said we needed a Muslim Cosby Show. Bah! We need a gay one more. A realistic, well-written, believable show about a gay couple/family that is not dripping with stereotypes and not focused around their being gay. Modern Family is the closest thing we have to that right now. The black gay guy on Spin City was also not a stereotype, although I never really cared for that show as a whole.

    As for gay movies, the gay characters played by Robert Preston and Alex Karras in the late Blake Edwards’ brilliant Victor/Victoria, nearly 30 years ago, were leaps and bounds above most gay characters today. Karras’ character was probably the first bear in American cinema.

  • justiceontherocks

    @Queer Supremacist – very well put.

  • Gary B.

    Some people will just never be happy. It makes me sad. Oh well, I’m done with this thread. Enjoy bitching and never being satisfied.

  • So gay...

    Get over it….

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