Kit Harrington – Photo: Gage Skidmore.
“[Hollywood] can’t have someone in a Marvel movie who’s gay in real life and plays some super hero. I mean, when is that going to happen?”
—Game of Thrones actor Kit Harington, speaking to Variety about queer representation in Hollywood at the Toronto Film Festival. Harington appeared in a videotaped conversation with his co-stars Emily Hampshire and Thandie Newton from The Death and Life of John F. Donovan, as well as the film’s director, Xavier Dolan.
“There’s a big problem with the idea of masculinity and homosexuality, that they can’t somehow go hand in hand,” Harington said of Hollywood’s attitudes towards queer actors, a theme that is central to the plot of the movie about a brooding, closeted actor — played by Harington — tormented by his struggles with his sexuality.
“And then you cast gay characters, but you still hear things like, ‘He’s too gay,’ or ‘He’s not gay enough,'” chimed in Dolan.
Newton pointed to the sports industry as an example of positive changes that are slowly taking place with regard to greater acceptance of the idea that a person can be both masculine and gay, especially as more athletes continue to come out.
“It is changing, but we have to get behind those changes and keep pushing it,” she said.
Dolan spoke about how advances in social media have helped LGBTQ actors and actresses come out. But he also said that doesn’t mean that Hollywood has necessarily changed its attitudes in how it views those actors and actresses, or whether it is willing to hire them for big projects.
“A lot of these people are my friends, and they say, ‘I’m now free, but I also know that I’m not going to get the career I once wanted,'” Dolan said, “‘But I’m at peace with that, because at least I can be who I am.’ And that’s what the movie asks: Can you live your dream and life with integrity at the same time? Ideally, you should.”