Bryan Batt, late of Mad Men, currently of the mama-lovin' tribute She Ain't Heavy, She's My Mother, live-chatted with Washington Post readers this afternoon, taking questions and generally deepening our already deep love for the Nola native.
Batt graciously responds to a number of reader queries, ranging from Mad Men plot points (is Don really a homophobe?) to growing up southern, to the actor's New Orleans design shop, Hazelnut. Perhaps most interesting, however, was Batt's take on the stereotyping of gay actors.
Asks "Just a fan from Pennsylvania," "What are your thoughts on the recent discussions of actors being stereotyped, which has been an age-old concern, yet to the extent that some claim that actors we perceive as being gay are unable to be accepted playing straight parts?"
I actually gave an interview to ABC.com about that; I was called after that ridiculous and homophobic and self-loathing article came out in Newsweek.
I'm a believer that everyone has a right to their opinion. But that article was so innacurate and negative. I saw Sean Hayes performance, and he was [a] wonder — not for one second did I question if the was in love with K. Chenoweth's character.
I refuse to believe that this is that valid anymore, this preconception that someone who is gay can't play straight. If Tom Hanks or Sean Penn can play gay...I mean, we're actors.
My first criteria is not "who is someone sleeping with," it's what they are doing on stage and if their talent is coming across. You don't look at a painting and ask if the artist was gay or straight. I think it's irrelevant in any situation — I don't care if my garbageman is gay or straight as long as he picks up the garbage.
Batt refers, of course, to the much-maligned article in which Ramin Setoodeh suggested that openly gay actors cannot convincingly play straight, calling out Hayes' performance for particular scorn. (Newsweek and the WaPo are, of course, co-parented.) Batt has long been an advocate of the gay community and he's quickly becoming a beloved voice for those celebrities who live out and proud. That said, if and when we see him cast against type in a straight role, it'll be a bigger deal than it should.
Mad Men's Bryan Batt Takes Your Questions [WashingtonPost]
Straight Jacket [Newsweek]
'Mad Men' Star Brian Batt Stands Up For Gay Actors [ABC]