[There was a video here]
If you missed it, actor/comedian/bankable movie star (The Wedding Ringer opened at No. 2 with $20.6 million) Kevin Hart was on Power 105's The Breakfast Club last week, and during the 50-minute interview, the topic of him playing a gay character came up. He talked about turning down the part of Alpa Chino in Tropic Thunder (Brandon T. Jackson ended up playing the character). "In my defense," Hart explained, the role was written to be gayer than it played out in the movie. "It was real flagrant," he added.
Hart prefaced this by saying, "I'm politically correct. To the gay community, I respect and appreciate any and everything you all do, and as people, I love you." So that's nice. Thank you, Kevin Hart. I love you, too?
Angela Yee followed up by asking him, "But could you play a gay role?" Hart responded:
No. Not because I have any ill will or disrespect, it's because I feel like I can't do it because I don't think...I'm gonna dive into that role 100 percent because of the insecurities of myself trying to that part...like what I think people are going to think while I'm trying to do this is going to stop me from playing that part the way I'm supposed to.
In an ideal situation, he would have no such insecurities—he would know that playing a role is no reflection on himself, that it doesn't matter what people say, that it is quite possible to be both masculine and gay (for so much fear of gayness in men is really a fear of femininity, which is its own problem). Failing the ideal, openly admitting that you are not suited to a role because of your own insecurities is reasonable. In doing so, Hart puts the onus on himself, and makes it clear that he has actually thought about this issue, instead of dismissing it offhand. If you are straight and you think you shouldn't be playing gay, you shouldn't play gay. I would take Kevin Hart's refusal to participate in the depictions of gay men over Eminem's self-congratulatory portrayal of one or Chris Rock's backward jokes about taking it up the ass, any day. Sitting it out is sometimes better than not even trying.
Hart continued, saying that he's not at that acting point in his career where he could comfortably play gay.
Seven years later when [I've] done this part and you say, "Hey Kevin, I thought you said you would never do it." I'm at a point where I want to take a chance, this role made sense, the story made sense, I may do it...You don't know what tomorrow holds. Once again, if I get to the point where I want to challenge myself in the business, and I'm all about the art, who knows if that's the right artsy piece that can get Kevin Hart an Oscar and show a different acting talent. But right now, it's not on the drawing board.
That's cynical, but not untrue. Playing gay works. Remember how Sean Penn won the Oscar for Milk even though Mickey Rourke deserved it for The Wrestler, because the Academy had to repent for giving Best Picture to Crash over Brokeback Mountain just a few years before? (And speaking of playing gay, there should be a Sylvester biopic, and Jamie Foxx should play him.) Hart ultimately predicts that in a few years, he will have evolved as an actor and a human, which is wise and hopeful. He's giving himself room to self-actualize.
Here's the full interview: