UPDATE: Monday, Sept. 28 (8:48 p.m. ET) – Matt Damon taped an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show today (set to air tomorrow) in which he addresses his comments to a British newspaper suggesting it may be better for a gay actor’s career to not be so open about his or her sexuality.
Explaining that he was discussing how “actors are more effective when you know less about their personal lives,”; he admits to feeling like “you have to address it and then it’s like, “Well, I’m not gonna throw my friends under the bus, who are gay, and act like it’s some kind of a disease.’
“You know, how do you even address it, so you’re always in these kind of weird things. But in this day and age I said this thing to The Guardian… and I was just trying to say actors are more effective when they’re a mystery. Right? And somebody picked it up and said I said gay actors should get back in the closet. Which is like, I mean it’s stupid, but it is painful when things get said that you don’t believe. You know what I mean? And then it gets represented that that’s what you believe. Because in the blogosphere there’s no real penalty for just taking the ball and running with it, you know what I mean?”; Watch:
In a new interview to promote his latest drama The Martian, Matt Damon opens up about a past role that landed him both critical acclaim and controversy when he played a gay con man in The Talented Mr. Ripley.
Speaking with The Guardian, Damon (who also played gay in HBO’s acclaimed Liberace biopic Behind the Candelabra) was asked about whether he thinks it’s more difficult for actors in Hollywood who are openly gay.
“I’m sure,” he affirms. “When Ben [Affleck] and I first came on the scene there were rumours that we were gay because it was two guys who wrote a script together.”
He adds: “It’s just like any piece of gossip… and it put us in a really weird position of having to answer, you know what I mean? Which was then really deeply offensive. I don’t want to, like [imply] it’s some sort of disease — then its like I’m throwing my friends under the bus. But at the time, I remember thinking and saying, Rupert Everett was openly gay and this guy — more handsome than anybody, a classically trained actor — it’s tough to make the argument that he didn’t take a hit for being out.”
In fact, Damon believes that an actor’s sexuality should have no bearing on how well he or she can play a role — and the less the audience knows about the actor’s personal life, the better.
“I think you’re a better actor the less people know about you, period,” he says. “And sexuality is a huge part of that. Whether you’re straight or gay, people shouldn’t know anything about your sexuality because that’s one of the mysteries that you should be able to play.”
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