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In Velvet Buzzsaw, Jake Gyllenhaal Plays Queer But Is No Jack Twist

In Velvet Buzzsaw, Jake Gyllenhaal Plays Queer But Is No Jack Twist


The actor discusses the sexuality of his first queer character since 2005's Brokeback Mountain -- but don't expect an epic romance.

Jake Gyllenhaal plays a queer art critic in Netflix's upcoming satirical-thriller, Velvet Buzzsaw, his first gay role since 2005's Brokeback Mountain.

The film, directed by Dan Gilroy, starts streaming Friday and parodies the Los Angeles art world through camp and gore. The cast, which also includes Rene Russo, John Malkovich, Toni Colette, Natalia Dyer, and Zawe Ashton, portrays narcissistic art world insiders who encounter a possessed art collection. Gyllenhaal's character, Morf Vandewalt, is a conceited and pretentious art critic, who begins the film in a relationship with a man.

While Vandewalt's sexuality is never explicitly stated in the film, the character gives a rare example of sexual fluidity as he quickly becomes enamored with Zawe Ashton's character, a gallerist named Josephina. Gyllenhaal appears naked with both his male and female onscreen partners, creating many steamy moments in the film.

While any opportunity for bisexuality to be shown on-screen increases visibility, Gyllenhaal, while speaking to Variety, warned that his character may not be a particularly positive representation of a bisexual man:

"I think you have to be careful in that this is a satire. For me what was interesting in trying to create this character was the idea of a gay man going straight for a woman and the reasons why. He says something very specific: 'We have a taste relationship.' It's a relationship not necessarily based on the intimacies that you would hope for; it's based on the fact that they both like the same kind of work. And there's sort of vapidness within each character."

The film also continues the trend of straight actors playing LGBTQ roles. This year's Oscar nominations include nominations for seven actors who play queer characters in the major acting categories. Gyllenhaal and his co-star, Heath Ledger, were also nominated for Oscars for their performances in Brokeback Mountain.

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Alexander Modiano