Bret Easton Ellis vs. Matt Bomer: There Should Be No Such Thing as ‘Too Gay’ for a Role if You’re Actually a Good Actor

Bret Easton Ellis, renowned writer of American Psycho (and juicy tidbits involving Rielle Hunter, Molly Ringwald, sex and cocaine), has been pretty vocal on Twitter about wanting to write the screenplay for Fifty Shades of Grey.  Obsessed Christian Grey fans have asked him who he would cast, and he has offered up his opinions and suggestions regularly.  As of yesterday, it became official  that Mr. Ellis won’t be involved in the screenplay whatsoever.

That didn’t stop him from advising the writers who were hired, however. This morning, when asked if he thinks Matt Bomer, of White Collar and Magic Mike fame, would make a good Christian Grey, Mr. Ellis responded with:

“Ok, I’ll say it.  Matt Bomer isn’t right for Christian Grey because he’s openly gay.  I am NOT discriminating Matt Bomer because of his sexuality.  Fifty Shades demands an actor that is genuinely into women.  Get it?!  I think Matt Bomer is incredibly handsome and a good actor but I think he comes off totally gay in White Collar.”

After I read the entire Fifty Shades trilogy (and I am only publicly admitting that I read it because Bret Easton Ellis’ response pissed me off that much), I performed the perfunctory Google search related to possible movie casting.  I hadn’t heard of Matt Bomer prior to reading the books, but when I saw him pop up in Google images, my vagina and I couldn’t believe that the exact person we pictured in our minds (and fantasies) existed in human form!  Apparently lots of other vaginas agreed with mine.  I saw a few blurbs about him being openly gay, but my vagina doesn’t discriminate and neither do I.

In 2010, Newsweek ran an article (written by an openly gay reporter) about Sean Hayes being “unable to play straight” in his debut as the lead in Promises, Promises.   I happened to see Promises, Promises with my own two eyes on Broadway that year, and I can tell you that in my opinion, Sean Hayes did a decent job portraying a heterosexual, nerdy, Charlie Brown-type character.  I believed him in it.  After getting over my initial giddyness about seeing Jack McFarland and Kristin Chenoweth in the flesh, I let myself fall into the story and I was thoroughly entertained.

You know why?  BECAUSE WHEN YOU’RE A TALENTED ACTOR, IT DOESN’T MATTER IF YOUR’RE GAY OR STRAIGHT.  Not all gay actors act like Charles Neson Reilley while performing.  I’m pretty sure that Sarah Paulson doesn’t require that she only wear tool belts and flannel in any of her performances.

To give Mr. Ellis the benefit of the doubt as I had never actually seen Matt Bomer act in White Collar and because I think Mr. Ellis extraordinarily talented, I watched a few clips on YouTube.  Other than one particular scene of one episode that had Matt Bomer’s character wear a tilted fedora for no reason, I saw nothing gay about his performance!  That was just a bad wardrobe call.  Let’s leave fedoras to Britney Spears and private investigator parodies, ok?  And while we’re at it… why don’t we leave casting decisions to the actual directors and producers of the film?  Sheesh.

(Photo: C.Smith/

You can reach this post's author, Cassandra Hough, on twitter.
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    • M Sny
    • Kelley

      “I am NOT discriminating Matt Bomer because of his sexuality. I am simply saying I believe he is incapable of playing this role because he is gay. But I’m not discriminating!”
      What an ass.

      • Blossom

        Ellis is a jerk but on this, he’s actually right. Even before he officially came out, I wouldn’t have bought Bomer as passionately in love with a WOMAN. He can’t even pull off that fantasy on White Collar – and I really LIKE the guy. Believe me, I’m a heterosexual woman and I haven’t been wrong in the Who’s Gay game yet – and it’s not a unique skill among single heterosexual women. We are not easily fooled. We know when the passion (*waving hand across face*) IS NOT THERE.

      • BM

        I completely and utterly disagree with everything you have to say on this topic, and clearly so do many others, but mostly — please stop talking as if you speak for all women. I’m a heterosexual woman and would never wish to have you speak for me or to be included in your “we”. Why do so many ignorant homophobes who are unable to distinguish fact from fiction insist on speaking as if they speak for everyone? It’s so offensive.

      • Daniella

        Why can’t I like this comment more than once? Thank youu

      • Paulee

        Please!!! Doesn’t even make sense what you’re saying…

    • keepthis100

      Anybody watching white collar will have absolutely no idea that matt bomer is gay, I sure as hell didnt .He is a fantastic actor

      • Blossom

        You are out of your mind! I knew Bomer was gay IMMEDIATELY. It was and is perfectly obvious. It always is, to me. Can’t imagine how anyone could miss it (nobody I know does, actually).

    • OtotheA

      I want Matt Bomer as far away from this farce of a fan fiction and p̶o̶r̶n̶o̶ movie as possible. But, Brett Easton Ellis is an idiot. I know full well MB is gay and yet that doesn’t diminish the believability of him with women on White Collar even a little bit.

      I will go into meltdown if MB is cast in this plagiarizing piece of trash, but it shouldn’t be because he’s “too gay” – whatever that means.

      Poor MB, having people think he looks like a fanfic sociopath.

    • Michelle Puthoff

      Brett Easton Ellis thinks he’s the next great American writer because he’s got a penis and all most of the book reviewers have a penis. Everything I’ve ever read, Meh!

      While I won’t go anywhere near 50 Shades (mostly because it is a Twilight rip-off and I hate Twilight), Mr. Ellis’s opinion means dick to me!

      It is my greatest fantasy that Matt Bomer play Roarke from the J.D. Robb “In Death” series.

      • Blossom

        You haven’t read it or you’d know 50 Shades has ZERO in common with that stupid Twilight crap. I love when people talk about things of which they know nothing.

      • Karen Brown

        Actually, the writer admitted that the book started OUT as Twilight fanfiction, and they pretty much just changed the names.
        The publishing industry’s current overnight sensation, erotica author E.L. James, began writing her best-selling book “Fifty Shades of Grey” as “Twilight” fan fiction. She began posting her X-rated take on Ms. Meyer’s tame paranormal romance online three years ago. Her “Twilight” homage, titled “Master of the Universe,” evolved into a series starring a powerful CEO and a young woman in a sadomasochistic sexual relationship. The books were acquired by Vintage, a Random House imprint, this spring and have sold 15 million copies in less than three months. Now, in a sort of literary infinite feedback loop, fans of the trilogy have begun writing their own takes on “Fifty Shades,” including an inevitable parody that mashes up “Fifty Shades” with “Twilight.”"

      • OtotheA

        You obviously never read Twilight. The innumerable similarities are “perfectly obvious.” You don’t even have to know the fact that it IS Twilight fan fiction to see them.

    • Blossom

      Ellis is a d*ck (I’m THRILLED he’s out of this) and Bomer is a sweetheart. That said, I get nuts thinking of a gay man (he’s not the only one after this part – oh yea, we know about The Other One…) playing the fantasy heterosexual of every heterosexual woman’s dreams (I’m on my third read-through now). Half my friends are gay and they totally get why this one role has to be played by a straight man; why so many of us would be destroyed by a gay Grey. I have never seen a gay man (on or off screen, actually) fake passion for a woman. In every scene with Rachel Ward, I knew iRichard Chamberlain was gay in The Thorn birds. That THING was just… missing. Same with Bomer in scenes with women on White Collar. No heat at all… His body language with women is all “I really LIKE you… as a FRIEND.” I continue to be stunned at heterosexual women who, for whatever reason, don’t pick up on what’s missing. But the fact remains, most of us DO. Look, I’m sympathetic. The big screen is way overdue for a hot, sexy gay love story with REAL gay actors playing gay people… no hetero actors faking it in the name of challenge. That said, if a vocal segment of the gay community desperately wants a cause celebre then, for God’s sake, WRITE ONE. But leave Christian Grey is OURS. And, mercifully, James has final say on casting and would never destroy her own story in this way.

      • Pamela

        First of all, Matt has never once expressed interest in this role, not once, thank god. Some are desperate like Ian, etc. although with his back story not sure why he would want the scrutiny. Matt plays straight perfectly well, Chuck, Tru Calling, Traveller, White Collar. He has millions of straight females fantasizing about him. I hope he declines, not sure how he would squeeze it in as he has two movies to film this winter. He’s a great actor that can pull anything off, comedy, drama.

      • emil

        Ian, Jessie, Colin and others have acknowledged their supporters and tptb by saying they’re interested. It’s not desperate, it’s smart. Matt’s not said a word because unlike his fans he knows he’d be out of his depth playing such an enigmatic character. He sounds perfect for the movies I hear he’s starring in, one in particular. Btw, “back story”, you mean gossip and with Ian’s looks who cares.

    • Blossom

      Only one man IS Christian Grey and that’s Jessie Pavelka. I know women at book signings have asked and James has said Jessie (who’s HUGE in England) was her inspiration for the character. HE is PERFECT.

      • Amy

        I don’t really give many fucks about this alleged movie, but I just did a google image search on Jessie Pavelka and it made reading all this comments worth it.

      • Drew

        LOL, he can’t act! This is a complex role that an actor like bomer or cavill should play, not an inexperienced model.

    • Karen Brown

      I’m not a big fan of the book, piece of dysfunctional Twilight fanfiction that it is. But that’d be the reason I’d say an actor I LIKE shouldn’t be in the role. If they’re a good actor, then they’re good at being something they are NOT. That’s part of the job description. Sheesh.

    • AnnH

      So many closeted gay actors play straight characters all the time (and have for decades), and you don’t know it.
      In fact, even when we do, we still fantasize over some of them because, whether they are into men or women, we’re never going to have sex with these actors anyway, so that doesn’t make any difference what they are into, as long as we have our imaginations. Worst case scenario, we can pretend everybody in Hollywood is bisexual if we really need to think these actors can be as attracted to us as we are to them.

      BEE’s Twitter account is full of hateful, drung-induced tweets anyway.

    • Rosana

      Brett Easton should just go way and shut the f…k up. Matt is Christen Grey. He is what i envisioned Christen to look like. OMG is so Hot….has those piercing eyes. He is one of the most handsome men i’ve seen. To be honest I have not seen a more beautiful man in my life. Love ya Matt…You’re Christen Grey.

    • Daniella

      This is getting so ridiculously out of hand that I can’t even express it. Everything Ellis has said is utterly ludicrous, homophobic, discriminatory, and a shame and utter disgrace to our society. What on earth does it mean to be “too gay”? Honestly, what the heck does that mean? Matt Bomer is a phenomenal actor who is beyond talented, humble, kind as anything, and absolutely convincing in any role. It appears Ellis is either severely discriminating against Matt or- isn’t a true fan and therefore shouldn’t be voicing an opinion that is based on being ignoranct and uninformed.
      I am an avid White Collar fan. Matt Bomer is WITHOUT question convincing in his role and shows just what it means to be a real, talented actor. Acting often means portraying someone that you are different from in real life. And omg does he do that incredibly well.
      Yes, Matt is gay in real life. There is absolutely nothing on earth wrong with that. But on WC, as Neal Caffrey, he plays an incredibly convincing, drop dead gorgeous, sexy, debonair, straight man. When I first started watching white collar, I had no idea Mattt was gay. There is no gay radar or gay light bulb that goes off. You can’t truly know someone’s sexual orientation unless that information is stated as fact. Also, the fact that I read in the comments something about a “Who’s gay game” sickened and appalled me. And the fact that it was stated that heterosexual women are apparently well versed in this game made me want to physically laugh out loud. As a heterosexual woman, I would appreciate not being grouped together with those who are ignorant on issues and homophobic.
      Matt Bomer possesses more talent than most people can ever hope to. He is a role model and inspiration to so many people. And let me tell you something, he can play any role in this world. There is no such thing as “too gay”. I can’t believe in the 21st century I am still hearing such disgusting, ludicrous comments as this.
      There is just too much that I could respond to in regards to this but I don’t want the length of this post to deter people from reading this. I’d love for people to hopefully understanding this point of view. Please. Don’t discriminate against Matt or any actor. Any truly talented, professional actor can play whatever the heck role they want regardless of their sexual orientation. Discrimination like this and of any kind is so ridiculous and disgusting it truly makes me physically ill.