More and more celebrities are coming out as gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, and all other kinds of explorations in sexuality. It is 2016 and it is becoming more and more okay for people to freely be themselves and open up about their romantic relationships, desires, and sexuality. Even straight actors and actresses are finding themselves fully supporting LGBTQA rights, and they are proof that a person doesn’t have to identify as an LGBTQA person to support the cause. To show you what we mean, we have compiled a list of 15 Celebs Who Did Gay Roles. Yes, we know about Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal in Brokeback Mountain. It was a huge deal for two gay guys to play homosexual cowboys in Wyoming. But now we are in a new day and age, and Brokeback Mountain is no longer going to phase us.
Keep reading to see some of the most iconic straight actors and actresses delve into challenging and intriguing roles as bisexual, lesbian, trans, and gay characters. They span ages and genres, but their characters are certainly intense and interesting. Who knows? You may have some new movies to check out this weekend, even if these films came out years and years ago. The cool thing is that these movies range from historical fiction and biopics, to straight up narrative and fantasy, even thrillers and horror films. There is something for everyone, so grab some popcorn and a comfy seat on the sofa.
15. Dennis Quaid – Far From Heaven
The 2002 drama Far From Heaven featured the often manly Dennis Quaid portraying a gay lover. Not only did this film break barriers in terms of sexuality, but it also called attention to bi-racial relationships. In the film, Quaid’s character Frank is caught kissing another man by his wife, Cathy. Cathy then goes on to pour her grief on the family gardener, a black man named Raymond (and played by the delightful Dennis Haysbert). So, not only is Cathy committing a social taboo by being seen publicly with a black man, but Frank needs to try and cover up his homosexuality; this is 1950s America after all. The story was a great way for Quaid to expand his repertoire and believe it not, he did a good job in the role. We also get a supporting role from Viola Davis in this film, which is another perk. If you haven’t seen it, give it a try.
14. Robert Pattinson – Little Ashes
Perhaps Robert Pattinson will always be remembered as Edward in the Twilight saga. Whether or not that is the case, the young actor continues to seek out more interesting roles to prove his versatility as an actor. He appeared in the 2008 biopic Little Ashes, which tells the story of the outlandish and intriguing Salvador Dali. What an interesting choice to have Pattinson play this famed artist. All in all, it was an okay movie, and Pattinson did his best as a challenged painter in 1920s Spain. The film is part drama, part romance, as Dali and his writer friend Federico Garcia Lorca find themselves in a deep male friendship. Interestingly enough, most of the biographical books about Dali tell a slightly different tale. It wasn’t Dali who fell for Garcia Lorca, but vice versa. Given this movie came out in 2008, it was probably a way to draw more attention to homosexuality.
13. Christina Ricci – Monster
The 2003 film Monster got a decent amount of praise upon its release, and it starred Christina Ricci and Charlize Theron as Selby and Aileen, respectively. This drama is not for the faint of heart, as it is based on the true story of Aileen Wuornos, a Floridian who turns to prostitution and crime. Ricci plays the main character’s lesbian lover, who needs to compete with the men that her girlfriend entices in the prostitution ring. More than that, she ends up killing these men in the end. Ricci’s character is like a beacon of hope to Theron’s Aileen, who would like to change the tide and get a real job, but just lacks the resources to do so. It is definitely a movie that will make you think, and although the lesbian couple is played by two straight women, their acting is very impressive and convincing.
12. Philip Seymour Hoffman – Capote
Achieving a high rating on the tomatometer, the 2005 biopic Capote managed to snag audience’s attention and give them a glimpse into the life of the famed Truman Capote. Philip Seymour Hoffman plays a convincing title character, who is at both times ruthless and empathetic. You want to root for this guy, but you also feel bad liking him. Capote heads to little old Kansas to investigate a murder for his next editorial piece in The New Yorker, but he ends up falling for one of the murder suspects and finds himself wrapped up in the story of the crime. This movie is full of mystery and suspense and will have you believing every word and action. Hoffman was at his prime in this film, even if he had to fake the homoeroticsm. Don’t expect a one-hundred percent accurate biography, as creative liberties were taken, but you can expect a solid story.
11. Joseph Gordon-Levitt – Mysterious Skin
Aliens, blackouts, and hustling…sounds like Mysterious Skin is worth watching just for the crazy subjects it touches on. Besides that though, there is decent acting from Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Brody Corbet. These two boys grew up together playing on the same Little League team. Years later, they are teaming up once again to discover what traumatic event happened in their childhoods that left them with just an inkling of knowledge. Different points of view and flashbacks make this movie one that you will want to pay attention to. Where does the homosexuality come in? Sexual promiscuity and R-rated behavior take place in this drama movie. Gordon-Levitt does a good job of playing a tragically disturbed youth who struggles with accepting his homosexuality while also dealing with sexual abuse from his baseball coach. Other big names like Michelle Trachtenberg make supporting appearances. Definitely not a movie for the faint of heart, but a good one to make you think.
10. Robin Williams – The Birdcage
There is no role that Robin Williams could get wrong. In 1996’s The Birdcage he played the owner of a gay nightclub who needs to feign his heterosexuality when his son comes over for a visit. Williams’ character is Armand Goldman, whose love, Albert, is the star of the drag show (Starina). If there was ever a straight dude who could play a flamboyant gay guy, it would be Robin Williams. He did a superb job in this role, and the film is a comical adventure into the twisting of heterosexual and homosexual lifestyles. Albert and Armand need to keep their gayness under wraps when Armand’s son arrives to introduce his new fiancee (who happens to be the daughter of a politician). The only reason Armand has a son in the first place is because of a one-night-stand he had with a woman two decades ago. Truly a delight, you will want to watch this for your next movie night.
9. Charlize Theron – Monster
The gorgeous Charlize Theron is practically unrecognizable in Monster, in which she plays the deranged prostitute Aileen Wuornos. After defending herself against a violent client, Aileen ends up fatally harming the man and being filled with a sense of power. From then on, she decided to lure men to her promiscuous services, only to beat and kill them so she can take their money and possessions. That is, until she meets Selby (played by Christina Ricci). The two develop a lesbian relationship and Selby may just be the driving force that Aileen needs to turn away from violence, prostitution, and crime. But is it enough? Both Ricci and Theron did a great job portraying these interesting women. While not a movie for everyone, it will open your eyes for sure. Moreover, if you are into girl on girl action, then you will probably not want to miss this 2003 crime thriller.
8. Jared Leto – Dallas Buyers Club
Lately Jared Leto has been all about playing the Joker in the recent film Suicide Squad. The actor has even spoken out saying that gay actors don’t get nearly as much screen time or roles as straight actors. If you thought that Leto was just hopping on the bandwagon, think again. Three years ago he starred in Dallas Buyers Club, in which the topics of transgender and HIV/AIDS are explored. Leto played Rayon, who was a transgender female inflicted with AIDS. True to his commitment to his craft, Leto chopped off his beard, fasted to drop 30 pounds, and did his research within the trans community. He wanted to ensure that he portrayed his character vividly and accurately. It paid off because he received an Oscar nod for his efforts. And we must say that Leto made a very convincing trans woman. The only question is…does he look better as a blonde or a brunette?
7. Benedict Cumberbatch – Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Actor Benedict Cumberbatch already seems a bit on the spectrum as far as sexuality is concerned…but the truth is that he is a straight actor with a wife and baby of his own. Even so, in the 2011 drama Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Cumberbatch was utterly convincing as Peter Guillam, who aids George Smiley (Gary Oldman) as he investigates who is outing them to the KGB. The film takes place during the Cold War and is based off of the novel by John LeCarre. Interestingly enough, the character of Peter Guillam was not originally a homosexual. Yet the producers chose Cumberbatch for his queerness and eccentricity, which easily allowed Guillam to slip into the world of homosexuality. Through scenes, imagery, and dialogue, we surmise that Guillam is in a same-sex relationship with a lover, who ends up leaving him in the end. Dramatic and historical, this movie is worth a watch.
6. Megan Fox – Jennifer’s Body
A total flop for actresses Megan Fox and Amanda Seyfried, Jennifer’s Body was supposed to tell the story of a high school cheerleader who possesses women’s bodies in their sleep and has sex with them. When her best friend finds out, she tries to put an end to the deranged behavior. Sounds lame? That’s because it was, but people went to see it because it had two hot actresses getting it on with each other. In actuality, both Fox and Seyfried ended up laughing a lot during the filming of this movie…so much so that the director started to get fed up with it. It turns out that making out with another woman when you don’t have those feelings just ends up being funny! Even so, a couple of years later, Fox revealed that she was bisexual, but Seyfried remains on the straight and narrow. Maybe Jennifer’s Body helped her come to that conclusion.
5. Leonardo DiCaprio – Total Eclipse
Is there a role that Leonardo DiCaprio hasn’t taken? Seriously! Back in 1995, he starred in Total Eclipse, in which he played a young genius (Arthur Rimbaud) who seduces a soon-to-be father (Paul Verlaine). If you haven’t heard of it, then there’s a reason why. It’s not the best of DiCaprio’s movies, and you’d be much better off watching something like Titanic or Inception. Anyway, in Total Eclipse, Paul is a supposedly straight man who is trying to be there for his pregnant wife. When Arthur comes into town, things get turned upside down, and the two men end up having a secret rendezvous together. The film takes place in the 1870s, making it a historical fiction that will be right up someone’s alley. If you don’t dig this movie, it’s okay. We just thought it was interesting that the famed Leo DiCaprio played a gay guy. Cheers to that!
4. Rooney Mara – The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
If you’ve read the book, then you know that The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’s Lisbeth is a lesbian weirdo who gets tangled up in a relationship with a magazine journalist. Lisbeth is an extremely pained and confusing character, as she was subjected to fierce sexual abuse and psychological testing during her youth. At some points she seems to be in love with Mikael Blomkvist and at other times she prefers her lesbian lover. Lisbeth was played by Rooney Mara, who clinched an Oscar nod and reputable recognition for her portrayal of the character. That’s the least she could get for such a disturbing film role. And while she is willing to pursue a sequel to the film, it doesn’t look like it will be happening anytime soon. For now she is focusing on her other projects, as well as her romance with Charlie McDowell. Upcoming film projects for Mara include Weightless and The Discovery.
3. Amanda Seyfried – Jennifer’s Body
Actress Amanda Seyfried was trying to branch out and take on more mature roles, so she turned to… Jennifer’s Body. Okay, that wouldn’t be our first choice for her, but whatever. It turns out that Seyfried got some press for the work in this movie, but it was mostly about how she was lezzing out with Megan Fox. When you have two hotties who are deemed straight and then they have a makeout scene together; well, you’re going to get some media attention! Seyfried spoke out about the kissing scenes saying that she and Fox seem to have similar “kissing styles” and that the whole thing was quite “sexy”. Ooh lala! Is someone turning over a new leaf? After all, Fox has since come out as a bisexual, so what about Seyfried? Apparently she is straight as a toothpick, and she’s engaged to Thomas Sadoski. That’s right – she’s taken!
2. James Wilby – Maurice
This indie film from 1987 was under the radar (and still is) but it featured a storyline that would be very popular today. Maurice tells the story of Clive and Maurice, two men who are deeply in love with each other, but are struggling with accepting and proclaiming their homosexuality. Clive ditches Maurice and ends up marrying a woman as a cover-up. As for Maurice, he ends up falling in love with a new man: Alec. The film actually garnered a decent amount of positive feedback from film critics, although it’s a gay love story that we don’t hear about often when we think of movies that deal with this topic. James Wilby played the character of Maurice Hall and makes bold statements such as “he came to me at my weakest” and “he’s got me in his power”. Pretty heavy stuff for 1987; you should give it a watch and see how you like it.
1. Hugh Grant – Maurice
Finally we have James Wilby’s co-star in the film Maurice, Hugh Grant. Often cited as a ladies man with boyish good looks and charm, Grant took his attractiveness to the opposite side of the spectrum for this movie. He plays the character of Clive, who ends up leaving Maurice and marrying a woman (whom he dislikes and finds insufferable). Even at 56 years of age, Grant still finds filming sexy scenes a huge turn-on. Even though he has been typecast as the lovable and endearing romantic comedy character, Grant finds the full-on sexual scenes to be easier to shoot than romance and coy intimacy. Anyway, Grant spent 13 years with Elizabeth Hurley before turning to Jemima Khan. An affair with a Chinese receptionist gave him a daughter, Xiao Xi. Despite being unmarried, he had another child with this receptionist as well as two children with Anna Eberstein. The guy gets around.