One of the things you’ve had to say over and over again is that you’re gay. And yet when those teenagers from Kentucky were talking about you, that’s one of the things they were so appreciative about. You are a kind of role model for them.
God, I hope not. I don’t think kids should have role models. They’re disastrous. My own role models were film stars who were tortured and downed barbiturates on film sets and I thought that was just the coolest thing. Montgomery Clift and people like that. I just think having role models is terrible.
When you came out of the closet did it upset your rather upper-class family back in Britain? I know your great uncle Donald Duart Maclean was part of the Cambridge Five and was a double agent for the Soviets. He was even made a brevet colonel in the KGB. Which was more upsetting to your parents, having a Soviet spy in the family or an avowed homosexual?
Oh, an avowed homosexual. They would have much preferred I be a double agent. But they are quite old now—my father is quite unwell—and age has a way of knocking down a lot of things that mattered before. They are very sweet, my parents. They are very sad in one sense, that they don’t have grandchildren.
But being gay doesn’t preclude one from having children. You could adopt or go the surrogacy route that so many gay men are using these days.
"Being an actor in Hollywood is not that great a job anymore. It’s become the sluttiest job on the planet."
I think this surrogacy thing is crap. It is utterly hideous. I think it’s egocentric and vain. And these endless IVF treatments people go through. I mean, if you are meant to have babies then great. But this whole idea of two gay guys filling a cocktail shaker with their sperm and impregnating some grim lesbian and then it gets cut out is just really weird. If I did have the impulse to be a parent, I would adopt—or foster. But this whole thing of forcing the idea of parenthood on us gay men is so bogus. Marriage? Babies? Please. I want to be illegal. I want to live outside the mainstream.
You’re so old-fashioned.
Or am I slightly ahead of the curve? It has to change. These awful middle-class queens—which is what the gay movement has become—are so tiresome. It’s all Abercrombie & Fitch and strollers. Everybody has the right to do what they want to do, but still...
It’s good to know you’re not judgmental. Do you regret having come out as a gay man? Does it anger you that a lot of actors who are gay have chosen not to come out and have better careers to show for it?
No. What I find I regret—what pisses me off—is this complicity among everyone else against a queen even though they don’t even know it. Even people who consider themselves thoughtful. So what people say about me is, “Isn’t it amazing that you didn’t really try very hard in your career? Your career is so up and down.” But the reason my career is so up and down is that I get very little opportunity. There is just very little opportunity for a fag. That’s the reality. There isn’t. But I have no regrets for being out. None. It’s not like I’m missing out on that much. Being an actor in Hollywood is not that great a job anymore. It’s become the sluttiest job on the planet. It’s not remotely serious. It’s not like we’re talking about Hollywood in the 1970s that I’m missing out on. If we were talking about ‘70s Hollywood, then I’d be killing myself because the product back then was so astonishing even though it was still thought of as commercial cinema. I’m not that upset not to be in Ocean’s 15 or whatever.