Monday, February 13, 2006

Sure guys... sure

So here is an effort on Heath Ledger's part to explain his bizarre behaviour during that uncomfortable presentation with Jake of the Brokeback Mountain ensemble clip at SAG (scroll down to "Much Ado About... Heath at SAG"). Not that I don't feel the apology isn't genuine (or that the issue is being a little blown out of proportion, even though the delivery made me raise an eyebrow myself), but this whole thing has just affirmed for me how immature the both of them (as well as the media - *cough*Oprah*cough*) have been acting this whole awards season. I am reminded of an excellent Advocate article by Charles Bouley - "It's very brave of them". This piece does a good job of exposing how ridiculous and regressive the reaction has been to Ledger and Gyllenhaal's work, calling them both courageous and incredibly daring (for what? Having to kiss?). Indeed, why is it so "brave" of them? Bouley argues that rather than bravery, he sees fear and homophobia on the part of the press and the film's two leads themselves. He questions the two actors for having to constantly assert their heterosexuality ("The idea that I had to make out with Jake... just wasn't the easiest thing to do" and "These aren’t gay guys, they’re two souls that fall in love." [huh?]), and I rather agree. It's pathetic how Heath and Jake constantly have remind us that they're straight and that playing lovers was oh-so-daunting and took a great leap of faith. Shut up, both of you. You're actors, it's your job to play people not like yourselves. Stop pretending you've done society a favour. Stop worrying that everyone thinks you're gay (we know you're not). Just stop talking.

Here's how the article ends, and they're my sentiments exactly...
Seems Hollywood is full of more cowards than heroes. So yes, kudos to Jake and Heath and Ang. But let’s get to a point where we can talk about the movie itself, not the sexuality of the characters playing the roles, as Jake and Heath have been trying to do. And let’s also get to a point where playing a gay person is not more courageous than playing a child molester or murdering mob boss.

5 comments:

JavierAG said...

I actually found their intro at the Globes quite funny (I thought it was pretty obvious that they were laughing at the ridiculous stuff they had to say).

However, this...

"These aren’t gay guys, they’re two souls that fall in love."

LOL did they actually say this? Because if so, I'm like "huh?" as well.

Don't know what is so "brave" about their work here, either (don't get me wrong, the acting was spectacular but brave?) and I don't recall Gael Garcia Bernal saying this kind of thing after "Y tu mama tambien" or "Bad Education" (that's an actor right there).

David Shultz said...

You bring up so many good points. Sometimes I wonder why the media so widely acknowledges how "brave" these straight men are for pretending to be gay when the same media rarely takes notice of how truly brave it is to accept that you really are gay. Coming out is such a difficult, life-altering thing, but I guess it's more shocking that men are even remotely putting their masculinity in question.. *rolls eyes*

NATHANIEL R said...

well for what it's worthy guys, having watched this sort of thing happen for the past two decades with EVERY single gay film ever. this has been the least disgusting ever in terms of "HOW BRAVE!!!!" i mean seriously. This is model citizen behavior on their part and on the part of the media but you wouldn't know that if you haven't been watching what goes on for every film for the past two decades.

this is NOTHING like what it used to be. I mean you don't even want to know how disgusting the press was for like "In & Out" and how obnoxiously homophobic , say, Tom Selleck made himself out to be when he had to discuss the kiss.

so take heart. BBM and its young actors are representing major progress for the media, hollywood, and the public in this regard. even if it is still kinda awkward.

Ali said...

Javier - Good point about Gael Garcia Bernal; I don't recall either him or Diego Luna repeatedly stressing how horrifying it was to make out in Y Tu Mama Tambien.

Re: The "two souls in love" - I'm just as flummoxed as you are.

David - I hear you. The "brave", self-congratulatory rhetoric would be fine if it worked both ways; why aren't gay actors heralded for having to do straight sex scenes?

Nathaniel - I totally understand what you're saying (it could be worse). I'm sure that things have come a long way in the last few years. Brokeback has been good in many ways for us in dispelling stereotypes, breaking into the mainstream, etc. Still, it drives me nuts with these two constaintly having to downplay the gay elements of their film. Own it! Stop apologizing for your work! At least Ang Lee, James Schamus, etc aren't beating around the bush.

NATHANIEL R said...

i agree with what you're saying. but i'm in my 30s. Heath and Jake are ANGELS about this compared to past stars.

Jake has called it one of the most moving love stories he's ever read. I've never heard ANYTHING like that from a straight actor playing a gay role before. I think this is a miracle. Even if it's not as miraculously evolved as actual out and proud gay people are ;)