Gale Force: Queer as Folk's Feisty Gale Harold Takes Aim against Homophobia, Fame, and Critics of His Character, Brian. (Cover Story)

By Rowe, Michael | The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine), February 5, 2002 | Go to article overview

Gale Force: Queer as Folk's Feisty Gale Harold Takes Aim against Homophobia, Fame, and Critics of His Character, Brian. (Cover Story)


Rowe, Michael, The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)


THE TALL, SLENDER MAN locking his bicycle outside an unpretentious Toronto restaurant is wearing a fedora tilted down over his eyes in a way that suggests a desire for great distance, as though a veil of inviolability has been drawn about him like an invisible cloak. On someone else, the hat might be a bohemian affectation. For 32-year-old actor Gale Harold, it's a practical strategy. Anonymity--or inviolability, for that matter--has become a rare commodity in the 13 months since his character, Brian Kinney, the gay white shark of Showtime's Queer as Folk, seared himself into gay consciousness and pop culture.

If Harold could mark off more private territory--for instance, never do another celebrity profile--he would. Questions about what it's like to be a straight man playing gay or what it feels like to be so handsome exasperate him beyond distraction. He doesn't like fame or trust its motivation.

"I'm grateful for the attention," he says of his fans' devotion, "because it validates that I'm doing something." But even as he says this, Harold points out that it sounds like something hundreds of overexposed celebrities have already said. As he talks, reaching past the conventions of celebrityspeak for something truer, you begin to realize that if you thought this man was just some diva of the month, you could not be more wrong.

"Gale has very strong opinions, and he's very political," says Queer as Folk executive producer Ron Cowen, with no small measure of pride. "Sometimes I think he's the smartest person I've ever met. I know a lot of smart, well-educated, well-read people. But there's something about Gale where it takes a leap from education or keen intelligence to some other place. Genius is a cheap word, especially in Hollywood. But he's really smart."

Inside the restaurant, the waiter has brought him a cup of tea, and we have ordered lunch. "How could I not be ambivalent?" Harold says, talking about his new fame. (He'll reluctantly, and with some humor, accede to being a "semi-junior league star.") "If being famous means that you get to work on great projects all the time, with great people, then my idea of fame may include that. But," he says with distaste, "it doesn't necessarily include--fame."

Harold acknowledges that television culture creates a spurious intimacy. "There's a genuine human impulse to want to know more about people you're interested in, for whatever reason," he says. "But that impulse has been manipulated as an industry--a bad industry--to sustain itself. It can be tweaked by publicists and studios. It didn't develop as a benevolent machine to provide more pleasure to people. It developed as a tool to sustain itself."

Nevertheless, the story of Harold's casting in Queer as Folk has that Hollywood-miracle aura that publicists love. Executive producers Cowen and Daniel Lipman, the Emmy-award winning writers of the groundbreaking AIDS drama An Early Frost and the long-running drama series Sisters, had acquired the American rights to the British drama series Queer as Folk. They had already cast actors Scott Lowell, Peter Paige, Hal Sparks, and Randy Harrison as a group of gay friends whose intertwined lives would form the basis for the American version of the story. The casting had been nightmarish for Lipman and Cowen because agents wouldn't send their clients in to read for the parts in the show. The part of Brian Kinney was particularly difficult.

"Here's a gay man, very sexual, very masculine, not the kind of gay character people are used to seeing," says Lipman. "If he were a straight male character fucking every woman in sight, he'd be a hero. So this was not like the other roles, and that was part of the difficulty."

"It was an extremely distressing experience trying to cast Brian, because of what we discovered to be the massive amount of homophobia [in Hollywood]," says Cowen. "We were so shocked and so upset, because we went into this thinking that in the years since An Early Frost things had changed. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Gale Force: Queer as Folk's Feisty Gale Harold Takes Aim against Homophobia, Fame, and Critics of His Character, Brian. (Cover Story)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.