Is “Fame”‘s Gay Character Gay or Not?

In the original 1980 version of Fame, the gay character of Montgomery (Paul Crane) is a depressed, shy young man tortured by his sexuality. Given that nearly thirty years have passed since then — marked by huge strides in gay visibility and gay rights — it’s to be expected that the remake of Fame would drop the tortured gay storyline for its gay teen dancer.

But the new version of Fame still has a gay character, right? Not according to Paul McGill (pictured below), the actor playing the part of Kevin, a student attending the performing arts high school in which much of the movie takes place.

During an exclusive interview with McGill, asked about Kevin being gay. Said McGill, "Originally, in the original sides, in the original
script, he was gay. But it’s not the case anymore. That’s not in the
movie. That’s false information, actually, that’s on your website."

The news Kevin wasn’t gay came as a bit of a shock as we’d reported the news the character was gay as far back as February, and it was something we had confirmed with the studio’s publicity department. 

But wouldn’t the actor know, especially since the movie was done filiming? Wanting to make sure I was absolutely understanding McGill, I pressed him asking again, "So he’s not a gay character?"

Said McGill:

I kind of took, when I was doing this character, I took from people that I know and experiences that I’ve had, you know, just growing up in a dance studio with teachers who weren’t great to me, and with making friends at the Performing Arts High School that I went to, and I kind of took from that, sort of…about my character. But it’s never mentioned in the movie. …

Was the character gay when he auditioned for the part? "Originally, he was," said McGill, who explained that the character also started out as "campy" and "superficial" but evolved in rewrites so he now has  "… the darkest moments in the movie. The most …emotional scenes in the movie."

Asked if Kevin has a romantic interest of any kind, gay or straight, McGill explained, "His storyline is really about the work and about the determination.There are two different love stories between the ten characters. But, you know, Denise and Joy and Neil and Malik and Kevin, all are really, they don’t have that sort of romantic flair to them."

Seeking clarification on the matter, I arranged to speak with the movie’s twenty-five-year old director, Kevin Tancharoen. After explaing what McGill had told me, Tancharoen said,  "That’s weird. I haven’t spoken to him [McGill] in a while, but that’s completely incorrect. His character is definitely gay, and is very clearly obviously gay in the movie. I mean, he was cast as a gay character in the film and we never changed that."

Pressed as to how the actor could not know something so basic about his character, Tancharoen explained some scenes had been edited out of the movie saying, "We cut out a lot of scenes, but we cut out a lot of scenes for time."

Tancharoen cut one scene in particular that he thought might account for McGill’s confusion. 

I think the scene that he’s talking about, we removed in the film because, one for timing, and two, because quite honestly I felt like it did cross the line of being too campy. It was a scene where his [Kevin's] best girlfriend confesses that she’s absolutely in love with him, and that she’s always been in love with him. And his reply was supposed to be, “If you were a guy, then we would be together.” I just felt it was too cheeky. So I took it out. But that doesn’t mean he’s not gay in the film anymore.

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