Should Milk Have Starred a Gay?
A lot of people have been running around buzzing, "It's a crime Milk didn't star any gays!" Well, as I mentioned in my column last week, this is a complete fallacy since Denis O'Hare and Victor Garber, to name just two of the supporting cast, are totally sisters. And anyway, when was it written into law that every time there's a gay role, it must be played by someone who takes it up the ass? Would it really help the gay cause if only homosexuals played each other and, by the same reasoning, they could never possibly be given a straight role? Isn't there something called acting involved--you know, where a performer can play all SORTS of things that he or she might not actually be in real life? I mean, when they cast Hannibal Lecter, did they search around for actual serial killers? (Don't answer that.)
Director Gus Van Sant told me he did try to cast as many gays as possible in the film, but for the role of Harvey Milk, there were no out actors who would have gotten a green light from the money people. Van Sant said that even with Sean Penn starring, it wasn't that easy to get the project launched, but it would have been impossible with, say, an Alan Cumming. And let's face it, Nathan Lane, Harvey Fierstein, Rupert Everett, and Neil Patrick Harris probably wouldn't have been quite right either, as wonderful as they all are.
But Van Sant conveniently left out the one out gay star who would have been totally bankable: Rosie O'Donnell!