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How can straight actors be more authentic when playing gay characters?


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#1 TopBilled

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 03:32 PM

There were a few recent developments in the storyline about Aaron & Robert on Emmerdale. Aaron is still behind bars, appealing his sentence. But he's been doing drugs in prison to get through it. When Robert found out about this, he became upset and they had a very strained conversation in the prison visiting room.

 

Though they were recently wed, Robert now feels as if he and Aaron are finished. So he goes home and trashes a room, then gets drunk. And one of the couple's female friends comes over. Apparently, she had a slight history with Robert before he got with Aaron and realized he was gay.

 

The episode cuts to other plots, then at the end, the writers come back to Robert and the girl. And he's really drunk and still angry at Aaron, and feeling aroused. He tells the girl he and Aaron are done, and he starts to come on to her. She says she wants no part of this and gets up to leave. But he tells her he knows she wants him. And of course, he ends up having sex with her, which in the next episode he decides has been a mistake.

 

When I started this thread, I felt as if the actors in the storyline were not playing it authentically gay. But now if the writers are making Robert actively bisexual where he can go back and forth, it sort of changes things. The seduction scene with him and the girl was very hot, and it felt like the writers were clearly defining that this character will take sex any way he can, especially when he needs comfort. So if we're dealing with that sort of character, the orientation is almost incidental, because he cannot be defined by either. 

 

It was one of the rawest moments I've seen on a soap. And since the actor who plays Robert is straight in real life, it felt like he got off on making Robert seem straight for a few minutes. So there are all sorts of dimensions in this story, though I wonder if people in the viewing audience relate and if it is authentic for them.


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"The truth? What good is the truth if it destroys us all..?" -- Mady Christians in ALL MY SONS (1948).


#2 Jlewis

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Posted 15 March 2017 - 02:18 PM

Unless I see what is happening below the waist line (and not just somebody's bottom exposed), I will always assume that clever editing is involved. No doubt the infamous scene was shot like an Olive Garden commercial.

 


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#3 jaragon

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Posted 13 March 2017 - 05:48 PM

Now, now... we have been reminded that it was all just clever editing and there were no love-children as a result.

If you are referring to the Christie - Sutherland love scene from "Don't Look Now" that is still hot


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#4 Jlewis

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Posted 12 March 2017 - 11:26 AM

Now, now... we have been reminded that it was all just clever editing and there were no love-children as a result.


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#5 jaragon

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Posted 12 March 2017 - 11:13 AM

Not only that, but Harrison is nitpicky about Burton's body when he stands up in his tub. At least when Julie Christie comments on Donald Sutherland gaining some pounds in their Don't Look Now bathroom scene, we get plenty of action in the bedroom.

Yeah but Christie and Sutherland had chemistry in and out of he bedroom.


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#6 Jlewis

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Posted 11 March 2017 - 06:54 PM

I've tried watching this movie at it really doesn't work- Burton and Harrison have zero chemistry.

 

Not only that, but Harrison is nitpicky about Burton's body when he stands up in his tub. At least when Julie Christie comments on Donald Sutherland gaining some pounds in their Don't Look Now bathroom scene, we get plenty of action in the bedroom.


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#7 Jlewis

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Posted 11 March 2017 - 06:50 PM

Bringing these comments from the other thread...

 

 

Christopher Reeve was EXTREMELY PERSUASIVE as a young gay man in "Deathtrap".

 

Quite obviously, he had no trouble with his scenes.

 

Christopher Reeve on playing gay:

 

"I think the problem is with other people. I've been used to straights playing gays and vice versa all my life so it seems pretty ordinary to me. People aren't freaked out by homosexual characters on the stage or the screen if they emerge as compelling, real people that the audience can identify with on other levels."

 

 

"Brokeback Moutain"did not open the flood gates to studio made gay theme films- they are still trying to get " A Different Runner" produced.  I think liberal Hollywood is more comfortable with backing projects that deal with race relations- look at "Moonlight" it was not only after the film got it's well deserve Oscar for best picture that gay angle was mentioned.

 

Although his wikipedia bio doesn't specify that he is dating a woman, Andre Holland is insinuating he is heterosexual in this interview. Some of his comments do remind me a little of Christopher Reeve mentioned above.

 


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#8 jaragon

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Posted 11 March 2017 - 06:38 PM

"Staircase" directed by Stanley Donen and starring Rex Harrison and Richard Burton - the material is ugly, the direction is ugly, the performances are ugly - in its tiniest details, like Rex Harrison's mom eating prunes, the film is ugly - how could Richard Zanuck of 20th Century Fox think that this film would be a hit film - wasn't he watching the dailies - a deep, deep stain on everybody's career.

I've tried watching this movie at it really doesn't work- Burton and Harrison have zero chemistry.


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#9 jaragon

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Posted 11 March 2017 - 06:37 PM

Later that year, in the autumn, Richard Zanuck put Myra Breckinridge into production. 20th Century Fox had literally... gone to lunch. That is why they were deeper in the red by early 1970 more than any other studio. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, M*A*S*H and Patton each made a profit that got lost in a sea of red ink.

But "Myra" is a such a bizarre movie a true disaster in every possible way even the scene in which Myra rapes the straight guy doesn't work - but in Vidal's novel the scene is disturbingly erotic


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#10 Jlewis

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Posted 11 March 2017 - 06:20 PM

Later that year, in the autumn, Richard Zanuck put Myra Breckinridge into production. 20th Century Fox had literally... gone to lunch. That is why they were deeper in the red by early 1970 more than any other studio. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, M*A*S*H and Patton each made a profit that got lost in a sea of red ink.


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#11 rayban

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Posted 11 March 2017 - 06:18 PM

In 1968, Stanley Donen gave us "Two For The Road" and "Bedazzled" - two films which were dominated by their creators, Frederic Raphael and Peter Cook/Dudley Moore, respectively - in 1969, he gives us "Staircase, which is dominated by the original play by Charles Dyer.

 

Stanley Donen could be a first-rate collaborator. 


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"I was born the day she kissed me.  I died the day she left me.  I lived a few weeks while she loved me." - Humphrey Bogart in "In A Lonely Place".


#12 rayban

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Posted 11 March 2017 - 06:03 PM

"Staircase" directed by Stanley Donen and starring Rex Harrison and Richard Burton - the material is ugly, the direction is ugly, the performances are ugly - in its tiniest details, like Rex Harrison's mom eating prunes, the film is ugly - how could Richard Zanuck of 20th Century Fox think that this film would be a hit film - wasn't he watching the dailies - a deep, deep stain on everybody's career.


"I was born the day she kissed me.  I died the day she left me.  I lived a few weeks while she loved me." - Humphrey Bogart in "In A Lonely Place".


#13 rayban

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Posted 11 March 2017 - 05:57 PM

"Staircase" directed by Stanley Donen and starring Rex Harrison and Richard Burton - the material is ugly, the direction is ugly, the performances are ugly - in its tiniest details, like Rex Harrison's mom eating prunes, the film is ugly - how could Richard Zanuck of 20th Century Fox think that this film would be a hit film - wasn't he watching the dailies - a deep, deep stain on everybody's career.


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"I was born the day she kissed me.  I died the day she left me.  I lived a few weeks while she loved me." - Humphrey Bogart in "In A Lonely Place".


#14 Jlewis

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Posted 11 March 2017 - 08:05 AM

Hmm...never thought about it that way.

 

Anyway, I'm leaving this thread. I'm a straight female (not homophobic), so I shouldn't be getting involved in the thread's topic. I don't know what it's like to be homosexual.

 

(Besides, ever since I subscribed to this thread, my email provider has been sending all the TCM notifications directly into my spam folder. Anyone else have this problem? If I check on this thread again, it'll be without the notifications.)

 

Just un-follow a thread so you don't get bombarded with emails.

 

Not everybody posting here is gay. Granted, you really don't know what any of us do in our sex lives. Some of us may not do much of anything either way, seeing less "action" than the Vatican. Don't get shy all of the sudden. You can reply as you would a discussion of characters belonging to a different race or religion than you. No, you may not know what it is like to be in one's shoes, but you are just as capable of imagining it just like Scout Finch with Boo Radley.

 

In any case, the stars being discussed didn't identify as gay either and most were not homophobic. Otherwise they wouldn't be taking on the roles discussed.

 

Which brings me to STAIRCASE, which I did watch last night. That cast was very homophobic, but we must realize that this was filmed pre-Stonewall and everything that followed. I think director Stanley Donen's intentions were admirable, since he liked the original play's sympathetic characters and likely wanted another WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? featuring an over-the-hill married (in a sense) couple who were acidic with each other but still depended on each other. (Cue ending with one trying to go to his court trial alone without the other and suddenly can't... just as he couldn't live without Eliza Doolittle because "I've grown accustomed to his face".) Yet the Zanucks at 20th Century Fox got neurotic on how the public would react and a major publicity campaign emphasized how much Rex Harrison and Richard Burton were heterosexual in real life. (Not that it was necessary with one's marriage with Liz being so internationally known and SHE had to be on the Paris sets when not shooting THE ONLY GAME IN TOWN.) This ultimately turned off a great many people of all sorts of orientations. Also there wasn't any more of a connection between these two stars here than there was when they played Julius Caesar and Marc Anthony in CLEOPATRA.

 

Had they trimmed a few lines, this would have merely been a sixties knock-off of a Laurel & Hardy comedy... if hardly their best effort since there wasn't all that much humor in it. Burton seemed to be enjoying himself, spending the entire time cleaning bathrooms, fixing dinner and taking care of bed-ridden mommy (whom we learn isn't as "out of it" as we think and is quite happy her son found love). The mirror in her room showcases activities outside as reality versus how the characters perceive themselves.

 

(Speaking of their two mothers, I like the relationship between Burton and bed-ridden Cathleen Nesbitt, more famous for her bit role in AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER, since he genuinely cares about her and even helps make her beautiful with make-up. In contrast, Harrison's mom is in the nursing home and goes on the war-path despite NOT being bed-ridden. This reflects how Harrison behaves in his relationship with Burton.)

 

Burton also had the best line and most memorable moment in the movie. While waiting out a springtime storm in a park building, he sees two teenagers getting naked and comments to Harrison "look... they are making love!" This suggests that the guys weren't making love all that much as they used to. Obviously they would be less successful getting away with it in a public park than the heterosexual pair. Curiously they was hypercritical of the kissing heterosexual pair early in the movie outside their barber shop.

 

Rex Harrison reminded me of how Ted Cruz might have played this part had he decided to take up acting (based on how often he repeated lines from THE PRINCESS BRIDE on his campaign trail). Even though he was very aloof with females in other sixties films like MY FAIR LADY and DR. DOOLITTLE, he views Burton as another unnecessary "woman". He also plays this curious stereotype of gay men being fussy about his appearance with more beauty products than Joan Crawford ever had in her bathroom and clipping his toenails in bed.


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#15 kjrwe

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 10:54 PM

 

It's similar to my reaction when I'm told someone's teen is pregnant and they reject termination because of their religious faith. But how did they follow their religious faith when they had premarital sex?

 

Hmm...never thought about it that way.

 

Anyway, I'm leaving this thread. I'm a straight female (not homophobic), so I shouldn't be getting involved in the thread's topic. I don't know what it's like to be homosexual.

 

(Besides, ever since I subscribed to this thread, my email provider has been sending all the TCM notifications directly into my spam folder. Anyone else have this problem? If I check on this thread again, it'll be without the notifications.)



#16 Jlewis

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 08:28 PM

The last time I checked we were living in the 21st century not the 1 B.C.

 

Even though some got stoned to death back then, many others got to do what they wanted without any politicians getting involved. All you need to do is visit Pompeii.

 

Which reminds me... I still haven't seen ALEXANDER with Colin Farrell. That one was set earlier though.

 

Oh... by the way, STAIRCASE is airing tonight. Maybe I should satisfy my curiosity.


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#17 jaragon

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 06:16 PM

I do go overboard on my posts at times. Sorry. Need to control myself. TopBilled is probably pounding the ol' head against the wall over some of them.

 

Actually there are passages in the Old Testament that support the termination of pregnancy simply because the ancient writers didn't view a fetus as a "life" like so many today. Therefore Mike Pence was talking nonsense during the VP debate back in October. To be fair, the Earth is also flat with angels residing in all four corners and was created in seven days, so I guess everybody is entitled to pick and choose what they want to agree with in ancient scripture.

The last time I checked we were living in the 21st century not the 1 B.C.



#18 Jlewis

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 08:00 AM

This is something I have picked up with people who say their religious faith is why they are intolerant of gays. If Leviticus is as important as they say it is, they wouldn't be eating out at Red Lobster.

 

That is the funniest thing I've read on these boards. ^^^^

 

It's similar to my reaction when I'm told someone's teen is pregnant and they reject termination because of their religious faith. But how did they follow their religious faith when they had premarital sex?

 

I do go overboard on my posts at times. Sorry. Need to control myself. TopBilled is probably pounding the ol' head against the wall over some of them.

 

Actually there are passages in the Old Testament that support the termination of pregnancy simply because the ancient writers didn't view a fetus as a "life" like so many today. Therefore Mike Pence was talking nonsense during the VP debate back in October. To be fair, the Earth is also flat with angels residing in all four corners and was created in seven days, so I guess everybody is entitled to pick and choose what they want to agree with in ancient scripture.


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#19 TikiSoo

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Posted 10 March 2017 - 06:49 AM

This is something I have picked up with people who say their religious faith is why they are intolerant of gays. If Leviticus is as important as they say it is, they wouldn't be eating out at Red Lobster.

 

That is the funniest thing I've read on these boards. ^^^^

 

It's similar to my reaction when I'm told someone's teen is pregnant and they reject termination because of their religious faith. But how did they follow their religious faith when they had premarital sex?


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#20 jaragon

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Posted 09 March 2017 - 06:50 PM

On "Days Of Our Lives", all of the four actors who were involved in the gay storyline, gave very competent performances.

 

And, while I didn't believe that any of them was actually gay, that fact did not distract from their "authenticity".

 

Even in their "intimate moments", they were convincing.

 

And, in an on-going soap opera, since there is so much more time to explore these relationships than in the average film treatment, I did feel that these particular actors were always up to the challenge.

 

Would actors that seemed genuinely gay to me have been more persuasive?

 

No, in this case, on "Days Of Our Lives", I do not think so.

 

Sometimes, mere talent can win out.

 

And, seriously, is it that hard to portray gay men who are attracted to other gay men?

 

Is there that much difference between heterosexual attraction and homosexual attraction?

Love in love of course- but we are talking about acting- this goes back not just to the talent of the actor but how he feels about his sexuality these days actors like  Russell Tovey ( who is gay) can be convincing in both gay and straight roles


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