On a promotional tour to promote his new film, “The Martian,” actor Matt Damon ruffled some feathers by stating that gay actors might have better careers if they stayed in the closet.
In an interview with the Guardian, Damon said he felt that actors should try and keep their personal lives as private as possible because of the impact it can have on their careers.
While discussing his role playing Liberace’s lover, Scott Thorson, in the HBO film “Behind the Candelabra,” Damon spoke about being straight and playing gay, before reflecting on the impact of an actor’s sexuality can have when it comes to getting roles.
Damon noted that years ago his relationship with long time friend Ben Affleck created gossip that the two of them were gay.
“When Ben and I first came on the scene there were rumours that we were gay because it was two guys who wrote a script together,” he explained. “It’s just like any piece of gossip… and it put us in a weird position of having to answer, you know what I mean? Which was then really deeply offensive.”
Damon then turned to being gay in Hollywood and how it might hinder an actor, using his friend Rupert Everett — who was once considered a front runner to play James Bond before the role was handed to Daniel Craig — as an example.
“I don’t want to, like [imply] it’s some sort of disease – then it’s like I’m throwing my friends under the bus. But at the time, I remember thinking and saying, Rupert Everett was openly gay and this guy – more handsome than anybody, a classically trained actor – it’s tough to make the argument that he didn’t take a hit for being out,” Damon said.
“I think it must be really hard for actors to be out publicly,” Damon continued. “But in terms of actors, I think you’re a better actor the less people know about you, period. And sexuality is a huge part of that. Whether you’re straight or gay, people shouldn’t know anything about your sexuality because that’s one of the mysteries that you should be able to play.”