Thursday, February 09, 2006

Just a Thought

Dear Mr. Pitt,
I was delighted to read recently that, after seeing the success of Brokeback Mountain, you asked your representation to find you a "gay project." I applaud this step. A case could be made that you came pretty close with Interview with a Vampire though you’re right not to consider it truly gay; the passion may have been vaguely homoerotic, but the sex was metaphorical at best. Still, it was the first movie of yours I had ever seen, it was surprisingly hot at times, and it was probably the best way to win me over. I’d previously not found myself particularly attracted to blondes, so your darkened tresses and silver-green eyes grabbed my attention long enough for me to notice your many other gifts. It's thanks to you that my attractions have now expanded to include people like Matt Damon and Jude Law (to think I might have skipped The Talented Mr. Ripley, were it not for you).

While we’re on the subject of hair, I have to note that you had a particularly good relationship with the hairstylist for that movie. She didn’t just settle at making you look great, she also seemed intent on making the other two stars look bad. Tom Cruise was a mere ukele away from looking like Tiny Tim, and Antonio Banderas, who really has to work to be anything but breathtaking... well, what was the deal with that wig? Why was he forced to wear a dead beaver on his head? To his credit, he rocked that look as well as anyone could; when you and he shared the screen the sparks flew, and the desire was unmistakable. But you were the uncontested beauty of that film.

So I think it’s fair to say you have already put one toe in the gay-for-pay world. It undoubtedly helped to be doing it with Banderas, who had previously played several gay characters by that point, including one we see deflowered in the missionary position. If a young up and coming actor (in macho Spain no less) is willing to be filmed with his ankles on another man’s shoulders, I think it’s safe to say he’s not particularly frightened of this issue. I’m sure he was a great help and comfort to you as you tested the waters. I understand why you two didn’t actually kiss, it was dramatically much more powerful to leave it unresolved, but now it’s time to explore a little farther, as you have decided yourself.

So again, I’m very pleased to read that you’re ready to take this next step. Sure it may look to some like blatant capitalizing on the surprising success of Brokeback, but you’re a great actor, and a total babe, so no one is really going to object for long. However, one has to point out that Brokeback set the bar pretty high. If you’re wanting to make your mark on this supposed openness in Hollywood, then you’re going to have to work some new angles. If you were actually gay, a gay movie would be a great opportunity to announce the fact, but that only works if it were true. The same is true if you were bisexual, though it’s riskier. Most people don't really know what the term means, so a lot of folks might think you were using one drunken kiss with your High School best friend (or George Clooney) as an excuse for shameless publicity seeking. So let’s just assume you’re a straight boy at home with his desires, open to artistic exploration. What can we do to make your film stand out from the soon to be pack of Brokeback wannabes?

I have a suggestion. Why not cast yourself opposite an up and coming actor who actually is gay but (and this is the clincher, stay with me here) of average looks, and body? Your beauty alone can carry a film, that has been proven time and again already, so no worries there. And yes, you could probably find plenty of pretty boys willing to play your lover (though Hollywood is constantly telling us about all the gay actors who are still afraid to read for gay roles), but then what do you have? Two gorgeous guys making out on film, face it, it’s been done, not only with Brokeback, but also Longtime Companion, The Broken Hearts Club, and Velvet Goldmine just to name a few. No, I think the real drama will come from seeing you fall madly in love with someone for his personality. He needn’t be Quasimodo, I understand we can’t strain credulity too much, but seeing an Adonis like you fall for an average, even plain guy, well, that would be a new story, don’t you think? The beautiful woman falling for a plain guy is a story as old as time; we have even seen the beautiful man falling for a plain woman done, at least in theory. If we accept the premise of Janeane Garofalo as ugly, then having Ben Chaplin fall in love with her in The Truth About Cats and Dogs has broached that territory already. (I will not acknowledge the film adaptation of Frankie and Johnny; they took the plain girl role away from Kathy Bates? And gave it to Michelle Pfeiffer?)

So, that’s one suggestion for how you make your mark. And I think I know just the guy; enclosed you will find my headshot and resume. As you can see, perhaps I’m not ugly, but I am definitely Hollywood ugly, Janeane Garofalo ugly, I think I could be just the look you need as foil to your beauty. And it just so happens I am also openly gay (bet you didn't see that coming), have been for twenty years now, and if I ever was tempted to go back in the closet, a wide network of friends, family, college classmates, and random strangers would be on hand to call me on my hypocrisy, going to the National Enquirer if necessary. We could even work that angle, if you think it would be helpful.

I really think this arrangement could be mutually beneficial. You could show me the ropes of a Hollywood movie set, I could show you the ropes of playing a believable gay man. I might not be able to tap you into any new press; you’re already the darling of the gay mags, but they would rally behind you even more if you were seen as helping a gay actor break into Hollywood, thereby increasing the number of openly gay American actors almost to an even dozen.

Please feel free to contact me if you would like to discuss this further. I’m available to read sides with you at your earliest convenience. For the record, I am also happy to shoot anywhere in the world. In fact we could combine the gay thing with an epic adventure, thus giving us an added angle for claiming new artistic terrain. I’ve always wanted to see New Zealand. Do you know what Peter Jackson is up to?

I look forward to hearing from you,


Patrick Lacey.


eric said...

Patrick, This is absolutely fantastic! It made me laugh, but it's also quite serious. What a great piece! I mean the post... You should consider this for submission somewhere. I don't know... Maybe The Advocate? Or The Village Voice?

Greg said...

(A nice day to visit your archives!)

This really is great...did you ever submit it anywhere further? You absolutely's fun, insightful and just a little biting.

Such great writing, my friend, so here's my question: do you compose on screen, or do you work from previously sketched out notes? I suppose that could be a sanity-saving subway pastime...