Talking to GQ, the Oscar-winning Suicide Squad star was asked if he thought America was ready to accept a gay leading man. “I think so,” said Leto, although after a little prodding he changed that to the less definite, “I hope so”.
There are reasons it’s only a hope, as he adds, “I definitely don’t think a gay leading man would have the same opportunities as a straight leading man. I don’t think that. Not for a single second. I don’t know if that’s offensive or not, but that’s my thought right now. It shouldn’t be that way. I don’t think you’ll have as many opportunities.”
He continued by suggest it was the same for minorities, adding, “What a word, ’minority,’. Have we taken that word off the list yet? ‘Cause it should be. Anyway, no, I think that this is still a very conservative business.”
Leto certainly isn’t the only person to think so. While individually most people in Hollywood are quite liberal, when it comes to business and the millions of dollars they’re throwing around, they tend to be far more timid and afraid of anything they think might affect the box office. That makes it far more difficult for gay actors to get major role, and also for mainstream populist movies about LGBT leads to get made, as the perception is it will knock the box office in conservative countries and amongst right wing homophobes. Hopefully that may change, especially if the upcoming The Flash, starring queer actor Ezra Miller, proves a hit.