Will moviegoers buy a lesbian in a heterosexual romantic lead role? That has been the question all week, since up-and-coming-out actress Anne Heche has greeted the press, and the president, on the arm of her first girlfriend, Ellen DeGeneres.
Poor Ivan Reitman! Duped! The powerful Hollywood producer-director hired a heterosexual Heche to play the romantic lead opposite Harrison Ford in his next comedy, "Six Days, Seven Nights," and the next thing you know she's in a happy, dewy-eyed, fully paparazzi-ed lesbian relationship. Now, as he told the press on Monday, if the Heche-DeGeneres affair remains high-profile, "It will do the movie some harm, and that makes me nervous."
Well who really knows whether Heche's sexuality will do the movie some harm? After all, we can't even count the number of openly gay leading actors and actresses on the fingers of one hand, since not a single major movie star has ever taken the leap. We really don't know if openly gay actors do harm at the box office, do we? Naturally, Hollywood money people urge stars to hide their homosexuality, but that's not because they know anything for a fact. It's precisely because they don't know. Mystery is the enemy to a Hollywood that is obsessed with The Sure Thing, with sequels and remakes and TV-show adaptations. Mystery is anathema to studios that are sinking an average of $25 million in each of their pictures.