Chad's on the case
BY Advocate.com Editors
August 15 2005 12:00 AM ET
By the same token, though, have you felt some frustration
at doors being closed to you because you are an
openly gay actor?
It’s a question that gets asked of me a
lot. I’m not naive enough to think that it
hasn’t had an effect; I’m sure that it has.
The truth is that the doors that get closed probably
get closed so far ahead of me actually seeing it that
I don’t even know [about it]. I’ve been acting
since I was 5 years old. I’ve done five top-10
television series in the last 25 years that
I’ve been at this. Are things different now? Yeah,
absolutely. My sexuality is talked about constantly
[regarding possible projects]. I was told seven years
ago, when I came out, that I would never work again,
and the truth is that my career is more interesting and
fun for me than it has ever been. I love what I’m
doing more. So I don’t see it as doors closing.
It just seems to me like those [projects that
aren’t available to me] are things that I’m
not supposed to do. And I’m certain that
I’ve had to work probably 10 times as hard to get
what I wanted.
If this is your first gay role, your love scene in the
movie was the first time you’ve done one
with a guy, wasn’t it?
[Brightens] Uh-huh. I was so excited!
I’ve done innumerable sex scenes and love
scenes [with women]. My very first kiss in life was with
a girl in a kissing scene in a TV show a million years ago
that I can’t even remember the name of.
[Breathes deeply] I was very excited to
finally be able to do a love scene with a man. My partner in
the film is straight [in real life], so I was a little
bummed about that [laughs]. He had a lot of
fear about it, which I get, but I wasn’t
willing to compromise on us making a beautiful, sexy love
scene. It sounds odd because actors are always saying,
“I just wanted to get that part over
with.” But I struggled for a long time with
understanding that my sexuality was good, and I want
beautiful, positive representations of gay male
sexuality out there. So it was very important to the
director, Ron Oliver, and me to make a really good sex
scene that wasn’t gratuitous or gross but was
healthy, sexy, and beautiful.
walking through some fears for both of us because inevitably
there’s fear, specifically for Sebastian [Spence, the
actor playing Timothy], who’d never kissed a
man before. It was kind of cool because I was able to
be like, “Now you know how I felt” being on
the other end [with women]. I was like, “Dude,
you’ve got a good imagination. You’ll be
fine.” But he was scared, and I don’t think
he’d mind me saying that. When it was all said
and done, he threw his arms around me at the wrap
party and was like, “Thank you, thank you.
You’re the only person I could’ve done
this with; you made me feel so comfortable.”
The plot of the film revolves around Strachey protecting
a gay man named John Rutka (Queer as
Folk’s Jack Wetherall) who has
dedicated his life to outing other gay men. This must
have struck a chord with you, given that you were
outed by a tabloid.
Absolutely. My character in the story is
adamantly against that, and so am I. One of the issues
that came up specifically is that when this book was
written, outing was very popular in the civil rights
struggle. It’s become a bit passé now, so
we had to figure out a way to bring [the story] up to
where it was relevant.
Do you think it’s a damaging any more to out
someone in that way?
I don’t know if it’s as damaging
on a public level, but I’m certain it’s
damaging on a personal level. I’m absolutely certain
that forcing any young person or not-so-young person
into dealing with the issue when they aren’t
ready to or simply don’t want to is damaging to the
soul. It’s just not right.
In dealing with Rutka especially, the script is often
quite direct in speaking to gay issues.
There’s not a lot of finessing when he starts
preaching about gay issues surrounding medical care,
say, or the indifference of local police.
What I think is interesting is that you get this
Rutka character, who’s a
grandstander—“The medical system is this and
does this and this”—[and] you oftentimes
get me standing there rolling my eyes. It’s not that
Donald doesn’t think that those things [Rutka rails
against] are true. He agrees, but he lives in a very
different world than Rutka. Donald and his partner
live a very suburban gay lifestyle, and to tell you the
truth, a lot of those issues don’t touch him
directly most of the time. So it’s easy for him
to shrug his shoulders and roll his eyes and say,
“God, you’re such a throwback to another
time.” So what’s interesting about that
to me is not that either side is particularly correct, but
the fact is that the issue [of the divide among gay
people] exists, and you have some very different
perspectives on it.
So if it creates
conversation, great. What I liked about it is that
we’re at a time when you can go down to gay
pride right now and find guys in buttless chaps, drag
queens walking the street, and guys dressed in
[mainstream] clothes like you have on, saying, “This
is ridiculous. What is gay pride all about?” We
have the luxury of rolling our eyes right now. It
doesn’t mean that this journey is over, but it is a
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