Author Bret Easton Ellis (American Psycho, Less Than Zero), who has been touting himself as a potential screenwriter for the upcoming film adaptation of E.L. James’ erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey has been taken off the list of potential screenwriters for the much anticipated movie.
And now, it seems Ellis has taken to trash the remainder candidates to participate in the project, specifically USA Network White Collar's Matt Bomer, who’s been named as one of the front-runners to play the coveted role of Christian Grey – along Ryan Gosling, Ian Sommerhalder and Alexander Skarsgard. Namely, Ellis says Bomer cannot play sexually dominant business tycoon Christian Grey because he is openly gay.
"Matt Bomer is totally hot and a very good actor. He is NOT right for Christian Grey and it complicates the role," Ellis tweeted. "I don't care how good an actor you are but being married to another man complicates things for playing CG."
Bomer is in a relationship with publicist Simon Halls, and they have three sons via surrogacy. Though Bomer claims that he never hid his sexual orientation, he “came out” in February 2012 when he thanked Halls and their children during his acceptance speech for a Steve Chase Humanitarian Award.
Still, Bomer has so far escaped the stereotypical portrayal of gay characters to which openly gay celebrities have been relegated historically. In White Collar, he plays Neal Caffrey – a skilled forger and thief who was imprisoned after being captured by FBI Special Agent Peter Burke. Caffrey is straight, and his girlfriend Kate visits him in prison to end their relationship, right before he is released on the condition that he becomes an undercover FBI consultant. Recently, Bomer played Ken, a heterosexual (and married) male exotic dancer in Steven Soderbergh’s Magic Mike, starring Channing Tatum (another potential Christian Grey) and Matthew McConaughey.
That is why Ellis’ rant comes across as a sore loser’s reaction. His sudden trashing of Bomer is also hypocritical, as Ellis’ own sexual orientation has been subject of debate throughout the years – with the author himself admitting he can’t commit to either being gay or straight “for artistic reasons.”
However, those dwelling on the sexual orientation of Ellis, Bomer or anybody else potentially involved in the upcoming production of Fifty Shades of Grey the film may be missing the point, as currently there are other openly gay actors who play heterosexual roles (and vice versa) without affecting their performances. Two good examples are Neil Patrick Harris, who is openly gay and plays a womanizer in CBS’s How I Met Your Mother; and James Franco, who is heterosexual and played Harvey Milk’s boyfriend in Gus Vas Sant’s 2008 Milk – about the life of the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in California, as a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
It is unclear if Ellis was dropped as potential screenwriter for Fifty Shades because of his public criticism of Bomer (which would mean producers are seriously considering the star of White Collar as a probable cast for Christian Grey), or if they just got tired of Ellis tweeting incessantly about his desire to write the screenplay for the movie (and racking up Twitter followers and air time as a result).