Bret Easton Ellis Revives Hollywood Homophobia
Author Bret Easton Ellis went on another Twitter rampage today, criticizing the possible casting of Matt Bomer as the male lead in the film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey as "absolutely ludicrous" because the actor is openly gay.
Earlier this year Universal purchased the rights to E.L. James's best seller for $5 million and, via his Twitter account, Ellis quickly made clear his interest in writing the screenplay, as well as his thoughts on casting the film.
On August 5, Ellis, who last month noted that he sometimes tweets after taking Ambien, commented on fan hopes that Bomer would be cast as protagonist Christian Grey. "Casting Matt Bomer is the equivalent as casting Jesse Tyler Ferguson..." he wrote.
In the erotic trilogy Grey is described as "young, handsome, intelligent, business-savvy, and charming," a "control freak with a dark side." Bomer has not been officially cast, but has been near the top of short lists of possibilities for the coveted role, along with Ryan Gosling and Ian Somerhalder.
Today Ellis further expounded on reasons he thinks the gifted White Collar star is unsuitable for the character. "I don't care how good an actor you are but being married to another man complicates things for playing CG," he tweeted early this morning in reference to Bomer and his partner, publicist Simon Halls.
"Okay I'll say it," Ellis added. "Matt Bomer isn't right for Christian Grey because he is openly gay. He's great for other roles but this is too big a game."
Ellis, who penned Less Than Zero, a novel about a jaded trio of young Angelenos which mesmerized the nation upon publication in 1985 in a way not unlike James's guilty pleasure, announced on August 7 that he is no longer in the running to write the screenplay for the film adaptation. Although he previously tweeted that he'd met with the film's producers there is no indication he was ever being seriously considered.
“It’s a very major disappointment to announce that I’ve somehow been taken off the list of possible screenwriters for Fifty Shades of Grey,” he wrote, adding, “Thanks to the fans for the months of intense support. Your awesome enthusiasm and great suggestions were instructive and meaningful to me.” The same day The Hollywood Reporter announced that four screenwriters —Dan Fogelman, Veena Sud, Karen Croner and Kelly Marcel—are being discussed to adapt the first book.
Perhaps sensing the archaic tone of his comments and obviously responding to real or imagined criticism, Ellis sent a series of tweets to clarify his position on Bomer. "I am NOT discriminating Matt Bomer because of his sexuality," he wrote. "Fifty Shades of Grey demands an actor that is genuinely into women. Get it?!?" He followed with "I think Matt Bomer is incredibly handsome and a good actor but I think he comes off totally gay in White Collar. And that is why no to CG..."
Ellis reiterated that he thinks Bomer is "sexy" and "a good actor," but "If you think Universal is going to hire an openly gay actor to star in the adaptation of the biggest novel of all time: YOU are ignorant..."
The writer later tweeted that his ideal casting for Christian is porn actor James Deen, who is currently filming Ellis's screenplay The Canyons opposite Lindsay Lohan for director Paul Schrader. In between he praised last year's gay-themed romantic drama Weekend and made a few cracks at casting attractive actors as rugged gay cowboys in Brokeback Mountain.
This isn't the first time Ellis has stunned the Twittersphere. In 2011 he compared watching Glee to stepping "into a puddle of HIV?" He has long eschewed labeling his own sexual orientation but earlier this year admitted to The Paris Review, "I was fairly bisexual in college — I had girlfriends, I had boyfriends."
Bomer, a talented, photogenic actor who headlines USA's White Collar, an engaging television drama about a former criminal now employed by the FBI, and costarred as a very heterosexual stripper in the summer hit Magic Mike, will be honored along with Halls with the GLSEN Respect award in October. He is also expected to costar in Ryan Murphy's film adaptation of Larry Kramer's landmark play The Normal Heart.
In June, Bomer told E! Online's Marc Malkin that labeling actors as "gay" is regressive. "Everybody thinks that equality comes from identifying people, and that's not where equality comes from," he stated. "Equality comes from treating everybody the same regardless of who they are. I hope the media and the press catches on to that because it's time to move out of 1992."