How retro is this? Just as entertainers are starting to kick open the closet door, here comes the advice of Todd Holland. Here’s Patrick Range McDonald of LA Weekly.
At Outfest on Sunday afternoon, three-time Emmy winning and openly gay director Todd Holland told a small audience that he advises young, gay male actors to “stay in the closet.” The remark came during a panel at the Directors Guild of America titled, “Taking It to the Streets: LGBT Directors Get Political.” Outfest, which pushes the slogan “protecting our past, showcasing our present, nurturing our future,” is one of the premiere gay and lesbian film festivals in the United States.
Holland, who was talking as one of the featured panelists, and who once worked as a director on the critically acclaimed HBO sit-com The Larry Sanders Show, explained that it’s a necessary career choice if a gay actor wants to succeed in Hollywood.
Fellow panelist and gay filmmaker Kirby Dick, director of Outrage, a 2009 documentary about gay politicians who stay in the closet to further their political careers, told Holland: “I know where you’re coming from, but it’s a regressive argument.”
…Holland’s comments underscore a decades old problem in Hollywood, where gay and straight studio executives, agents, and other major players often advise up-and-coming gay, male actors to live in the closet. Rarely, though, has someone like Holland been so public with that advice.
Is it really true that audiences cannot be convinced that an openly gay actor or actress can play straight and be believable? That’s the crux of the question. This seems ridiculous advice in this day and age, but maybe I’m wrong — Hollywood is still, at its core, homophobic because they believe the perception, not the reality, might affect the almighty dollar at the box office.
I think a telling quote comes at the end of the article when person who didn’t want to be identified (!) said: “What kind of message is that for an older gay filmmaker to send to young gay filmmakers? It’s the kind of thing that will keep people in the closet.”
What do you all think?