sick of this shit

I knew it was only a matter of time before I saw an offensive quote from one of the actors in Brokeback Mountain. In an article in Entertainment Weekly, we get this gem from Heath Ledger about filming a gay sex scene:

“For me it was a little easier than it was for Jake. Any kind of nerves I had about approaching that scene, I didn’t have to hide. We were like, ‘F— it, we took on this story and there’s no point in shying away from it.’ Neither of us wanted to do it again any time soon. But in the end, it was just like kissing a person.”

Wait. What? Was he kissing a llama? A doorstop? A turnip? OH. He was kissing Jake Gyllenhaal. I guess Jake is a cyborg? No? Oh, right. Gays aren’t people. Well fuck you, Heath Ledger. Thanks for perpetuating the hate.

I also found this quote from Jake Gyllenhaal pretty effed up.

“What made me most courageous was that I realized I had to try to let go of that stereotype I had in my mind, that bit of homophobia, and try for a second to be vulnerable and sensitive. It was f—in’ hard, man. I succeeded only for milliseconds.”

The entire article (as well as almost every other article about this movie in other publications) is about how BRAVE and COURAGEOUS the two actors are for portraying gay roles on film. And he’s gonna call himself courageous for DOING HIS FUCKING JOB? An actor is paid to act, to effectively portray a character. I’m sure it’s just as uncomfortable for a straight actor to make out with some actress he barely knows in front of a crew of strangers and make it look hot, but does everyone—including the actor and actress themselves—go ON AND ON about how BRAVE and COURAGEOUS they are for doing it? No. Because they’re just doing their job. Shouldn’t it be the same for two male actors? What happened to “not shying away from it?” Why can’t that apply after the movie has wrapped, during publicity? Be a man and just say, “Yeah, we kissed each other. What of it?”

And no, I haven’t read the book. Maybe when everyone shuts up about it—or when I find a copy that doesn’t have that stupid “Now a major motion feature” shit all over the cover—I might get it and enjoy it. But I’m willing to bet that it’s a tragic love story. One of the cowboys probably dies, right? Because gay stories aren’t made into major motion pictures and major star vehicles unless the gay character is afflicted, tormented or dies a tragic death. RENT, Philadelphia, The Hours, A Home at the End of the World…death, torment, tragedy. It’s all palatable for the straight viewers, because the gay guy gets it in the end. And not that end, thank you very much.

What would be revolutionary about this damned movie is if it was released, people saw it and they didn’t say one frickin’ word about it other than that it was a good film. I think that would be fantastic.

What would be BRAVE and COURAGEOUS of these two actors is if they’d donate their entire salaries from the film to LGBT related charities, perhaps recognize the real brave and courageous people—LGBT persons who stand up to their attackers, only to be sent to the hospital; LGBT persons who stand up in courts of law, begging for our rights as citizens in this country; LGBT persons who are vocal about HIV/AIDS, in a time when nobody wants to hear it.

But hey, as long as we’re afflicted, tormented and dying…

About timothyjlambert

Timothy J. Lambert is allegedly a writer.
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46 Responses to sick of this shit

  1. Oh, as you know, I could go on and on about this topic and have a ton of stories about my reactions to Philadelphia (and I don’t necessarily mean that in a negative way, just a balanced way).

    That movie was twelve years ago, and I’m still waiting for the film with gay or lesbian characters that every critic and fan raves about because it’s such a great romantic story with a heartwarming ending, and so fresh and so funny! You know, the film where Julia Roberts and Kate Hudson end up together, or maybe Hugh Grant and Benjamin Bratt, and after the movie wraps, the actors do tons of interviews where they say, “I had a blast making this picture, Kate (or Hugh) is an AMAZING kisser, and I hope we make tons of money and I get to be in the sequel.” And Sandra Bullock and Reese Witherspoon (or Brad Pitt and Matt Damon) are mad because they wanted to do the film, so they do one sort of like it except they set it in England. Now THAT might be refreshing and would indicate progress, no?

  2. oaktaurus says:

    Brokeback Mountain (hb), is 55 pages, which included large font, small pages, a hefty price at 14.99 (hb) or 10.99 (pb) … and yes, it is everything that you had expected, but (being pre-HIV/AIDS epidemic) ‘they’ used a tire iron.

    Will there come a time when the LGBT community is portrayed as happy, healthy, productive, members of society?
    Have women stopped being objectified and written in submissive roles? (in some ways, yes, but others, no)
    Have African Americans stopped being stereotyped as poor, impoverished, criminals? (maybe in some ways, yes, but in many ways, no)
    This is an ongoing struggle, one which the LGBT community is not alone in the fight.

    • Anonymous says:

      As you know, I was never a fan of the book. Tragic love stories tug at my heart when the characters TRY to change their lives but can’t. The main character in Brokeback Mountain is such a dead end personality, he hides behind a fear caused by some event in his childhood and accepts it. I am sorry, I can’t accept that anyone living through the 80′s (the story takes place from the 60′s to the 80′s) can feel that he has no options ESPECIALLY since he has no real job to hold on to and no family he feels responsible for ( you would think that having a wife and kids MIGHT just might give a person a sense of responsibility, financial if not emotional, but not our Ennis). Why get stuck in homophobic Wyoming (if indeed it was) when San Francisco is but a few hours away?

      On the other hand, a lot has happened to gay movies since Philadelphia. A recent example is Latter Days which received great reviews, is played by two straight actors who were pretty cool about it (though in the comments on the DVD, the gay director is the one who makes a big deal out of filming their first kiss. He took them to an empty room and had them “rehearse” so the shock of the first time won’t show up on cam … phuleeeeze). The Sum of Us, a not so new movie is also about your average Joe gay man who does not die and finds happiness. Billy’s First Hollywood Kiss is another sweet movie. The list goes on.

      Besides, that will give you the motivation to try and sell the movie rights to your books!

      Michelle

      • “A recent example is Latter Days which received great reviews, is played by two straight actors who were pretty cool about it (though in the comments on the DVD, the gay director is the one who makes a big deal out of filming their first kiss. He took them to an empty room and had them “rehearse” so the shock of the first time won’t show up on cam … phuleeeeze).”

        One of the (straight) actors on the Latter Days dvd extras also expressed his discomfort at kissing another man, much in the same way Heath and Jake did in that Entertainment Weekly article. Which totally ruined the movie Latter Days for me. I’m sorry, but do they spring these gay sex scenes on the actors at the last minute? No, I don’t think so. Get over it, do your job, collect your paycheck and be happy you were in a successful movie.

  3. I was also pissed as I read the interview. Granted, those quotes might have been just a passing comment out of several hours of dialogue, but it still says something that the big-name Hollywood actors feel the need to “justify” their craft when they play gay leading rolls.
    Do we boycott the movie because of the idiot actors or do we flock to the movie in hopes that more stories that tackle the lifestyle in a positive manner get filmed.
    The main reason I enjoy the TJB books (and the Cochrane/Lambert book I read), Greg Herren’s books, Christopher Rice books, John Morgan Wilson books, etc. (if you have any suggestions, please send them my way) is because they are “normal” stories involving gay men in a positive light (with a plot)that doesn’t harp on the stereotypical coming out, bashing or dying of AIDS.
    Thank you!

    • No, thank YOU.

      On http://www.timothyjamesbeck.com there’s a page called Other Authors that you may want to visit; authors we’ve met, or whose books we enjoy, or both.

      • Great! I’ll check some of those out!

        I mentioned in Greg Herren’s blog about Huntington’s Book Revue for his upcoming release, and now I’m passing this info onto you. If you (and the rest of the TJB team) ever make it up north for a book signing, and venture out to Long Island, the Huntington Book Revue would be the place… :)

        • Yeah, I have their Web site bookmarked and have recommended them to L.I. readers looking for a good bookstore. It’s definitely on my list of bookstores to visit one day. =)

          • Great… I haven’t been there often, but the Archives where I work is down the block from them and I always see announcements for booksignings. I attended Anne Rice’s Servant of the Bones booksigning there, and it was amazing!

  4. n8an says:

    Damnit. Now I don’t want to see it.

    Entertainment Weekly had it on the cover as “the year’s most daring love story.” Um. Daring? *sigh* Daring to me means “on the edge, just shy of abnormal, just enough to upset people…” Oh, wait, right. That is what they meant. Damnit.

  5. Don’t forget the not-having-sex. In THE HOURS, for instance, the only sex scene is between the gay man and the lesbian having sex together int heir youth. Oh, and there’s a chaste kiss between two women, as well. But that’s it.

    I didn’t see the film of THE OBJECT OF MY AFFECTION, but as I recall from Stephen McCauley’s first three novels (which I enjoyed well enough, although I haven’t botehred reading TRUE ENOUGH yet) much of the story revolves around the gay main characters not-having-sex.

  6. _jandy_ says:

    brave and courageous?!

    HA.

    huh. that’s not what i would describe those boys as for taking a job.

    then again, maybe i’ll start saying i’m very brave and courageous for walking in to work every day. i mean, i’m for real gay, so shouldn’t that count more? or do you have to be pretending to be in order to show that gays are kinda ok?

    idiots. that’s too bad, cuz i was really kinda excited to see that movie.

  7. rhondarubin says:

    Face it. Since “Philadelphia,” playing gay means you’re Oscar-worthy. In Nicole Kidman’s case, playing gay with a bumpy nose means you get an Oscar.

    So a straight actor kissing another straight actor, and thereby “going against his sexual orientation” is brave and courageous? Wow…think of how brave and courageous Rock Hudson, Tab Hunter, and Telulah Bankhead were!

    Or wait…are they saying that PLAYING gay is brave and courageous? Wow…I LIVE gay, so just think how brave and courageous *I* am. So, with that said, I’d like to thank the Academy…

  8. I’ll just chime in again here because…I can. I agree that there have been some good and positive movies based around gay characters over the years, but they don’t get the hype this one has. (And even with many of those, the actors hasten to assure the world of their heterosexuality.) They don’t have everyone screaming, “Play gay and win an Oscar!” Most of them build a slow following among GLBT viewers and never make it into mainstream consciousness.

    Those movies that are mainstream–”Birdcage” comes to mind–have basically sexless characters who are gay in a way that doesn’t make straight viewers uncomfortable. (And don’t get me wrong, I laughed through that movie and repeat many of Agador’s best lines, but still…)

    As for “The Object of My Affection,” the book was about a gay man who had a straight female friend. The movie was about a straight female who had a gay friend, and there was a most uncomfortable near-romantic scene between the two of them that I don’t think was in the book. But I’ll give them credit that when they did let the gay character have a relationship with someone other than his ex, they were selfishly adorable (like any couple falling in love) and their sexual relationship was on par with most romantic comedies (nothing graphic, more implied, but definitely there). But they were still the secondary couple, which diverged from the book.

    And “Fried Green Tomatoes” totally obliterated the truth about the love between the two women when it got moved from book to screen. It was a long and loving friendship, but the romantic love between them had disappeared.

    I’m sure I’ll see “Brokeback Mountain.” I remember being affected by the story when it was first released, and I’d like to see how it gets adapted for the screen. But still, I’m with Tim–just make the movie and promote it without apology as a good movie and without hammering us over the head with how difficult it is to play gay. If you’re an actor, it’s your job to convince us that you are what you play on screen while you are on screen. But in the end, it’s just a role like any other role wherein you wouldn’t constantly feel the need to convince us that it’s not really YOU, just a part you played.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree certainly that there is a long way to go. I just wanted to acknowledge the progress, one step at a time though it may be. I know we are in the heterosexual minority that doesn’t get what all the fuss is about in the first place. What I would like to see is for some gay and lesbian actors to come forth and tell us about the courage it took to play straight characters (as long as Anne Heche keeps her mouth shut thank you very much). Of course there is still, unfortunately, reason enough for them to avoid the whole ordeal, though maybe if enough did so, there wouldn’t be an ordeal left to avoid. One reason I liked the movie Happy Endings is that the convoluted plot included every combination of coupling and then some without being judgmental and without any preferential treatment for any specific cause. It portrayed a bunch of people being normal in their eccentric ways.

      Michelle

    • The closest I can remember are Jeffrey, which was intended to poke fun at the stereotype, and Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City film adaptations. ToTC was a British/Cable production, and it was damn good one! Of course, that was right about the same time when the “Contract On America” gained fuel and eventually took over…
      Its the two-steps forward, three-steps back scenario – progress is being made, but very slowly.

      • Anonymous says:

        Here’s one

        “Big Eden.” I thought it was sweet, and the scenery is beautiful, and it has Louise Fletcher in it too. And I’ve always had the hots for Arye Gross, don’t ask me why.

        Jeffrey dba Gatsby’s Ghost

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