Several weeks ago when Bret Easton Ellis went on a public tirade on twitter claiming the immaculate Matt Bomer was too gay (there is no such thing as being “too gay) to portray a straight character, along with the subsequent backlash, a lot of questions in the tv/film business arised.
First, What goes into the writing of an LGBT character in Hollywood, especially when the majority of the writers, producers, and directors are straight? Also, how are the characters developed if they don’t have personal experiences with gay men and women? Do they seek outside help, like friends and families or do they hire other LGBT crews of writers to specifically cater to that character?
Let’s take this beautiful man Matt Bomer as an example to this train of thought. Say he has been asked to audition for an action film involving gay hero and the writer /director is say Steven Spielberg, who is straight. Would he be able to accurately write for the character? How would he be able to direct a gay character? He can’t just tell Matt “act gay” because in spite of Matt being gay, he can truly only be himself, not a sexuality. See my point?
Writer and actor David Blixt , who is also straight, discussed the natural process of writing gay characters in his playwrites and novels. Blixt feels that there is no difference, other then what gender the character is attracted to, in how attraction begins with any two people in love:
First and foremost, love is love. Writing about the excitement of a kiss, of a caress, is the same across the board. Thinking about a first meeting of lips, or even a touch of a hand, is an electric, heart-hammering human experience. The best part is acknowledging what fools we are for love, how desperately grateful and fearful we are when it’s dangled before us.
Blixt also discussed the fluidity and malleability of characters in works throughout history like Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet and how cross dressing was not seen so much as a sexual reference, and more about our human experience. That the concept of love is universal, and therefore transcends our gender.
My point is that Hollywood should be focusing on writing a character, and sexuality is merely a descriptor, not this all encompassing personality trait. And some writers and producers are acknowledging this point as well.
Ali Alder, producer of NBC’s new upcoming new comedy, The New Normal, made note that although the premise of the story is about a gay couple and their surrogate, that it’s NOT the one and only focus of the characters. They’re complete personalities and not some exaggerated and inaccurate stereotype.
The character most of all should be as realistic and multidimensional as possible. If it’s a love scene, write it as two people in love, not some inaccurate caricature that’s been played out in the media. And I presume that it’s what Matt Bomer, Zachary Quinto, and other openly gay actors and actresses look for in characters that are gay. The should be authentic; real. It’s definitively something to think about…plus I just wanted a reason to write about the Adonis that is Matt Bomer. I mean LOOK at him.