Ryan Phillippe: Cool Intentions

Now flexing his comedy muscles in MacGruber, Phillippe gives us his gayest look — Leno be damned — at his own life and livelihood.

BY Brandon Voss

May 12 2010 5:00 AM ET

Since its premiere at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, I’ve read reports that MacGruber is rife with gay jokes.
There aren’t that many gay jokes. I took my best gay friend with me to the screening and he loved it. The funny thing about MacGruber is that he’s a deplorable human being—he’s sexist, a little homophobic, a bit racist, and a bumbling idiot—but somehow, and it’s a testament to how good of an actor Will Forte is, you still like him. The only source of any gay joke comes from what an asshole MacGruber is. When you see the WWE wrestler Big Show kiss another dude, it’s pretty awesome.

The MacGruber screenwriters are writers on SNL, which also has a tendency to rely on gay jokes — like when MacGruber’s son, played by host Shia LaBeouf, came out of the closet armed with a vibrator and anal lubricant. As a recent SNL host yourself, where do you draw the line when it comes to homophobic humor?
I have my own meter as to what is and isn’t offensive, but I might bounce something off of my gay friends to get another perspective. You’re right, SNL does do that, but it’s all in a decent spirit. I know a lot of those writers who are incredibly liberal and supportive of gay rights.

What else did you and your gay buddy do in Austin?
We ended up going to a gay bar there, but I don’t even think anyone noticed me. I was kind of shocked. Maybe my gay fans are just better behaved than my straight fans.

You weren’t worried about sparking gay rumors?
Who cares, man, in this day and age?

You were a major contender for the lead in The First Avenger: Captain America, but the part ultimately went to Chris Evans. Are you bummed?
It’s something I would’ve loved to do, especially for my 6-year-old son, who would’ve thought it was the coolest thing in the world. The child within me really loved the idea of it too. There are very few things I’d get that excited about, but as an actor you have to move on. At some point I’d love to do something action-oriented like that because I’ve been in martial arts since I was eight.

You’ll be wearing spandex tights in no time.
I hope so, man. Before I get too old.
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