Our post about gay actors playing straight characters got us thinking about the flipside, straight actors playing gay characters.
But a list of straight actors successfully playing gay would be obvious (Tom Hanks, Heath Ledger, Phillip Seymour Hoffman) and frankly dull. So we decided instead to sharpen our knives and make a list that’s a hell of a lot more fun.
Straight actors who crashed and burned attempting to play gay.
Most of these performances rely on cliche and stereotype, and to be fair, a lot of our favorite gay performances from straight actors do lean heavily on the flamboyant. But actors such as Eric Stonestreet (Modern Family) manage to inject warmth, heart, and sincerity into the theatrics.
These actors, on the other hand, either try way too hard, or not hard enough, and embarrass themselves … and us.
Mark Adair-Rios and Peter Oldring, Love That Girl
If you’ve never seen TV-One’s debut sitcom Love That Girl, you should definitely check it out, if only so you can say you were witness to one one of the worst shows in the history of TV (and coming from someone who managed to see the good in Small Wonder, She’s The Sheriff , and Woops!, that’s saying something).
Appalling in every regard (this show is so lazy that the same laughtrack is applied to every single joke), Love That Girl manages to up the ante by featuring a pair of nosy gay neighbors named Adonis (Mark Adair-Rios) and Fabian (Peter Oldring), who are Lenny & Squiggy circa In Living Color.
Leering and lewd , they would need to tone it down just to get to offensive.
John C. McGinley in Wagons East and Wild Hogs
It’s not often an actor can lay claim to playing both ends of the gay cliche spectrum, but Scrubs star John C. McGinley managed that … honor.
In the abysmal 1994 comedy Wagons East (which was so bad John Candy died during filming), he played Julian, a blatant caricature whose cringeworthiness may have stood out more in its offensiveness if the movie itself weren’t so offensively stupid.
Even worse was his performance in Wild Hogs, in which he played that other chestnut, the predatory gay. Each time his cop character met up with the lead foursome (Tim Allen, Martin Lawrence, John Travolta, and William Macy), creepiness ensued, thanks to his camera mugging and bizarre line readings. I don’t know what the hell he was going for, but if it was “skin crawl expert,” he succeeded brilliantly.
Kevin Bishop in Food of Love
Kevin Bishop played Paul in this 2002 coming-of-age drama, a talented music student working as the page turner for a concert pianist. He and the pianist embark on a relationship, which leads to complications, of course, especially when Paul’s nutty mother (Juliet Stevenson in a entertainingly over-the-top performance) finds out.
Unfortunately, Kevin is wooden and bland, and plays the gay love scenes as if he’s holding his breath waiting for it to be over. Even the occasional butt shots lose their interest, as we’re too busy looking for the stick up his ass to really appreciate it.