Actor Ben Whishaw is Straight in One Magazine, Gay in Another


Don’t you hate when a magazine’s angle is that a hetero actor is playing gay, and how very wild that is?

Don’t you also find it distasteful when the magazine assumes the actor playing gay IS hetero?

And what’s more, when the actor seems to go along with it?

Meanwhile, in another magazine, the same actor–in this case, Ben Whishaw from Bright Star and Brideshead Revisited–isn’t very straight at all!

There are so many layers here, and I’ll leave it to Out editor Aaron Hicklin to explain them all for you.

Hicklin tells me, “Clearly the editors at New York magazine haven’t caught up on their latest issue of Out, which features a profile of Whishaw (posted on Out.com last Monday), in which he essentially outs himself. Asked why he has appeared in two consecutive plays that explore homosexuality, he says, ‘Of course the choices you make express something about you to the world, and of course the work I do is all about me, but rather than me standing up and making statements about myself and things, I’d prefer to let the work do the speaking.’

“When the interviewer asks whether he thinks it’s important for young gay people to have positive role models, Whishaw is even more direct: ‘I really agree with that, and I feel in my heart that it’s important, but I don’t quite know yet the way to go about that. Maybe that’s the transitional thing I feel I’m in the middle of at the moment. It’s something I think about, but it’s important for me to do it at the time that’s right for me. And I’m not there yet.’

“In New York magazine, however, in which he’s interviewed with his off-Broadway co-star Hugh Dancy, the headline gives an entirely different spin: ‘Dancy and Whishaw, Heterosexual British Actors, Sometimes Hug,’ it reads. The first question in the interview takes Whishaw’s heterosexuality for granted: ‘You’re both straight. Did you have any hesitations about taking explicit gay roles?’ Whishaw doesn’t correct the interviewer’s assumptions.

(One day, fyi, I’d love to see a reversal of this question: ‘You’re both gay. Did you have any hesitations about taking explicit straight roles?’)”

Me too! I’d also love for them to make assumptions that actors are gay. “So, Harrison Ford, as a gay, were you wary to play straight again?”