Randy Harrison: Randy Does Andy
BY Brandon Voss
December 04 2009 6:55 AM ET
For a Vanity Fair cover story in 2003 called “Gay-Per-View TV,” you participated in a glamorous photo shoot that featured the major cast members of Queer as Folk, Will & Grace, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, The L Word, and Boy Meets Boy. What was it like to play such a major part in that watershed moment for our mainstream media visibility when you didn’t even feel a part of your community?
For me, it all felt like a fluke. Now, looking back, I can sort of see how that kind of visibility was progress to some extent, but I remember doing that shoot and just wanting it to be over.
Are you serious? In one photo you’re inches away from Megan Mullally and hanging on Thom Filicia while Jennifer Beals is serving face in the corner. That shoot looks like it was a blast.
Really? Oh, my God, no. My memory of it is that it was stressful and nerve-racking. But I have a difficult time with photo shoots period.
Do you wish you could’ve achieved your current marketability in the theater world without actually having to do Queer as Folk?
Not really, because the only reason I’m financially stable is from having worked in television. I’m sure Queer as Folk opened up a lot of doors for me, even if it closed some too, so I’m grateful for it.
Echoing the controversial statements gay directors Todd Holland and Don Roos made earlier this year, Rupert Everett recently advised gay actors to stay in the closet, saying, “The fact is that you could not be, and still cannot be, a 25-year-old homosexual trying to make it in the ... film business.” As a former 25-year-old homosexual who hasn’t done much film work since Queer as Folk, do you think he’s right?
I’ve never really tried very hard to be a part of the film industry, so I don’t know if he’s right or not. Queer as Folk was a fluke, and then I just went back to theater. I’ve been significantly more satisfied with the work I’ve been doing since Queer as Folk ended. It’s been almost all theater, but that was my mostly my intention, so I’m doing what I always wanted to do.
But do you feel like your coming-out has hindered your career in any way?
I don’t know what decisions are being made behind closed doors in casting sessions or what people think of me, so I don’t know what kind of difference it would’ve made or what kind of career I would have now if I hadn’t come out. I just know that not coming out was something I wasn’t capable of doing. I don’t regret it. The one thing that’s been frustrating for me is that coming out has forced me to have to talk about my private life, which is something that I have no interest talking about in general. I don’t feel like actors should ever be obligated to open up about that. I want to be out because it’s important to me socially and politically, but at the same time I don’t think it’s anybody’s business who I sleep with.
Then it must have been strange when New York magazine put you on the cover of its 2002 “Gay Issue” and labeled you “The Post-Gay Gay Icon.” What did that mean to you?
At the time — and I was feeling this a lot when I was doing Queer as Folk — I was frustrated with how much ghettoizing there was of the gay community: The “us versus them” mentality as far as gays and straights. So I sort of understood the idea of “post-gay” as being beyond labels of sexuality.