30 Straight Actors Who Have Gone Gay For a Film Role
While Richard Chamberlain and John Travolta might agree that Hollywood is still not a safe place for leading men and women to be open about their sexuality, the entertainment industry has embraced and rewarded the heterosexual men and women willing to play gay on-screen. The latest example is Mickey Rourke, who has confirmed that he too will join that bandwagon by playing Welsh rugby star Gareth Thomas (who announced that he was gay just last December) in an upcoming biopic. In honor of this role -- which, hell, might win Rourke the Oscar that evaded him for The Wrestler, when he lost to someone on this very list -- Movieline reviews which hetero actors have gone gay or transsexual for a role, and which were awarded Academy Awards along the way.
· Robert Redford, Inside Daisy Clover (1965)
Redford received a Golden Globe nomination for playing a closeted homosexual married to a recording star (Natalie Wood) in this box office failure from Robert Mulligan.
· Marlon Brando, Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967)
This John Huston film featured Brando as a repressed homosexual (married to Elizabeth Taylor's character) on an Army base in the 1940s. Although this movie failed to win Brando any Oscar nominations, footage of his character was later recycled in Apocalypse Now for Young Kurtz. Fun fact!
· Al Pacino, Cruising (1980)
A critical disaster from William Friedkin, Cruising was based on a novel about a NYC serial killer who targeted gay men involved in the 70's S&M scene. Pacino's character is a cop who goes deep undercover to investigate.
· William Hurt, Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985)
Héctor Babenco's adaptation of the Manuel Puig novel won William Hurt an Oscar for playing a pedophile who falls in love with his South American cell mate (Raúl Juliá).
· River Phoenix, My Own Private Idaho (1991)
This Gus Van Sant indie featured Phoenix as a narcoleptic gay street hustler who travels with his best friend (Keanu Reeves) back to his hometown in Idaho.
· Forest Whitaker, The Crying Game (1992)
As a British soldier in this psychological thriller, Whitaker's character convinces an IRA soldier (Stephen Rea) to check on his girlfriend back home -- only for the soldier to realize that the girlfriend is actually a foxy transsexual.
· Tom Hanks, Philadelphia (1993)
This pivotal role in Hanks's career -- as a closeted homosexual lawyer who contracts HIV and is consequently fired -- won him an Oscar and a Golden Globe.
· Will Smith, Six Degrees of Separation (1993)
Legend has it that Denzel Washington warned Smith not to kiss another man in this film for fear of ruining the Men in Black star's career. Here, Smith stars as a con-artist feigning to be Sidney Poitier's son -- and who does not kiss another man onscreen.
· Leonardo DiCaprio, Total Eclipse (1995)
Based on a Christopher Hampton play, this feature starred DiCaprio as a 19th century French poet Arthur Rimbaud who engaged in a fiery romantic relationship with peer Paul Verlaine.
· Robin Williams, The Birdcage (1996)
Robin Williams starred as the owner of a South Beach drag club who, along with his partner (Nathan Lane), feign heterosexuality for his son's disapproving future in-laws.
Pages: 1 2