“Homeland” actor Damien Lewis is making nice after his derogatory comments about why he dropped out of theater early in his career.
Lewis didn’t want to become “one of these slightly over-the-top, fruity actors who would have an illustrious career on stage, but wouldn’t start getting any kind of film work until I was 50 and then start playing wizards.”
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out who he might have been talking about.
Out actor Sir Ian McKellen, who’s had a long career in theater and has found movie success in Peter Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” trilogies shot back at Lewis.
McKellen says, “I wouldn’t like to have been one of those actors who hit stardom quite early on and expected it to continue and was stuck doing scripts that I didn’t particularly like just to keep the income up.”
He went on to say, “As for a fruity voice? Well, it may be a voice that is trained like an opera singer’s voice: to fill a large space. It is unnatural. Actors have to be heard and their voice may therefore develop a sonorous quality that they can’t quite get rid of, so you think actors are as pompous as their voice is large. I suppose Damian was thinking of that a little bit, too.”
Lewis apologized to Sir Ian saying, “I am hugely embarrassed that comments of mine have been linked in a negative way to Sir Ian McKellen. I have always been, and continue to be, an enormous fan and admirer of Sir Ian’s. He’s one of the greats and one of the reasons I became an actor. My comment in the Guardian was a soundbite I’ve been giving since 1999 – it was a generic analogy that was never intended to demean or describe anyone else’s career. I have contacted Sir Ian McKellen and have given him my sincerest apologies.”
And, this is how gracefully Sir Ian responded to the apology.
My final thoughts to Damien and to anyone reading this. I remember being a young gay man back in 1980s Kentucky and my cousin took my aunt to see The Judds in concert. She commented to my cousin that one of the band members was “a little fruity”.
That word was offensive then and it is now. I can excuse a woman who had not been around many gay people more than I can excuse an actor that is around fellow actors who are gay and use the word “fruity”.
Lewis claims that he’s used that soundbite since 1999! He should have been called out on it then. Now that it is public, just know that “fruity” is vulgar and offensive!
Re-posted from “Random Friday Thoughts — December 20, 2013