Everyone knows about the stereotypes regarding the gay community and movies, theater (particularly musicals), and other entertainment. However, it seems that there is a such thing as being ‘too gay’ for our own realm, according to a Hollywood director’s experience regarding his new film starring Michael Douglas and Matt Damon.
Behind the Candelabra, a film about the life of the legendary Liberace, has apparently been deemed ‘too gay’ by many Hollywood studios, according to director Steven Soderbergh. He was reportedly “stunned” by the response. The biopic was finally picked up and is now set to air on HBO.
Soderbergh told The New York Post:
“Nobody would make it. We went to everybody in town, and they all said it was too gay.”
Matt Damon, who play’s Liberace’s (Michael Douglas) partner says that the love between the two men was real.
”These two men were deeply in love and in a real relationship — a marriage — long before there was gay marriage…The script is beautiful and relatable. Their conversations when they’re dressing or undressing or having a spat or getting ready for bed? That’s every marriage.”
Now, I could be stunned like Soderbergh, by the reactions of these studios, but honestly? I am not. While we as LGBT Americans have certainly made great strides in recent years, we are still on the fringe of the entertainment world. While we have had shows like Will and Grace and Glee be immensely successful, those are still safe portrayals. They embrace many stereotypes, and they certainly do not touch on marriage – like situations. The problem with a film like Behind the Candelabra is simple: it shows that we are just like you.
It shows a marriage, a real marriage, long before anyone would have even thought of suggesting things like marriage equality for LGBT Americans. It gives a reason to give us the same rights everyone else has. It shows that there should be no us and them, because, other than the gender of the person we love, love is love and that’s that. Things aren’t so foreign and different after all. It highlights how silly it is to believe that there is any real difference in the first place, which highlights how silly bigotry is. That, ladies and gentleman, is the reason this film from these two amazing actors and this Oscar- winning director has been deemed “too gay.”
We might be able to parade around on stages, or even make it to the silver screen with movies like Brokeback Mountain, but the second we are portrayed as normal, rather than something different and exotic, or worse, a way for straight America to take a walk on the wild side and show how “tolerant” and “cultured” they can be, all bets are off.
We’ve come a long way, but the reaction to this film is exactly why we have a long way to go. No matter what laws are passed or struck down, or how many versions of Jack from Will and Grace are parading on Prime Time TV screens in America, we will never be truly equal until the sight of two men or two women kissing is no longer shocking or a novelty, and when the majority of straight Americans really do realize that we are just like them.