Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Harry Hamlin: One Can Talk about the "Risk" the Stars of Brokeback Mountain Took in Accepting Their Roles, but for Rising Star Harry Hamlin in 1982, Playing an out Gay Man in Making Love-And Having a Full-On Love Scene with Michael Ontkean-Was Truly Risky. Now That This Gay Classic Is on DVD, We Had a Chat with the Still-Smoldering Hamlin

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Harry Hamlin: One Can Talk about the "Risk" the Stars of Brokeback Mountain Took in Accepting Their Roles, but for Rising Star Harry Hamlin in 1982, Playing an out Gay Man in Making Love-And Having a Full-On Love Scene with Michael Ontkean-Was Truly Risky. Now That This Gay Classic Is on DVD, We Had a Chat with the Still-Smoldering Hamlin

Article excerpt

I attended the 20th anniversary screening at UCLA a couple of years ago, where you spoke afterward, and it was a shock to me how bold Making Love was. It got a bad rap over the years for being very safe, but I think Making Love really pushes it, as far as a big studio movie goes.

It was a contemporary story at the time. Brokeback Mountain is a period piece. And as a contemporary story, it does push the envelope--the kiss and even the lovemaking scene that were in there would probably be equally as controversial today as they were that many years ago.

When you were first approached with this material, did you hesitate?

I was reading a lot of scripts then. My career was on a fast-track trajectory, and most of the scripts I was reading were pretty stupid. They didn't really resonate in any way socially. And I read this script and saw that it was a slice of contemporary life that was being ignored by the popular media, I guess because it was too hot to handle. But I thought of it as being something relevant to the times, and that was the kind of filmmaking that I wanted to do. So I jumped at it. Yes, there were people who said, "You can't play a gay character and get away with it," but I had come from repertory theater, where I was playing all kinds of characters every week. So as an actor it just seemed to me that you're an actor, you take on a part, and you play it. And if you do a good job, somebody shakes your hand, and if you don't, nobody talks to you. Certainly I never thought the actual subject matter would have been problematic.

What's interesting to me about Brokeback is how much 14-year-old giggling there is in the mainstream media, even from Oprah, in talking about gay love and gay sex. …

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