The idea of a ‘glass closet’, where it’s known someone is LGBT but the person never talks about it has been around since long before Liberace. While more and more actors have come out in recent years, the glass closet is still around (until recently, Kevin Spacey was one of its main inhabitants). Many would say it’s a description that would fit Pushing Daisies star Lee Pace, to the point where a couple of years ago his Hobbit co-star Ian McKellen assumed Pace was openly gay.
However, Lee has never publicly addressed his sexuality, until now, although it sounds like he wishes he didn’t have to. It’s not too surprising the question came up though while Pace was promoting his role as the closeted Mormon Joe Pitt in the upcoming Broadway revival of Tony Kushner’s Angels In America. In an interview with W Magazine he says:
“Our understanding of what it means to be gay is just so different,” Pace said of the climate in 2018. “It’s culturally different. It’s just so much further down the road. It’s an interesting thing for me to think about in this moment while working on this play.”
Pace added that he feels it’s important for gay actors to play the gay roles in both plays, but stopped short of labeling himself. He seemed a bit flustered and surprised by the question. “I’ve dated men. I’ve dated women,” he explained. “I don’t know why anyone would care. I’m an actor and I play roles. To be honest, I don’t know what to say—I find your question intrusive.”
Although that’s a common glass closet response, finding such questions ‘intrusive’ is becomingly increasingly untenable in a world where the likes of Neil Patrick Harris can talk about his husband in the same way a straight actress could mention theirs. It’s also true that in the interview Pace doesn’t have problems talking about other aspects of his personal life, but gets flustered when it’s his sexuality – and that’s despite the fact in the last few years he’s played a bisexual character in TV’s Halt And Catch Fire, and a gay character in a stage revival of Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart. It’s also odd to expound the importance of having gay actors playing the major roles in Angels In America, but then be surprised when asked if that includes him.
However, to his credit, while he may not like the question he didn’t just avoid it, and nor has he avoided roles that explore sexuality elsewhere. Angels In America is currently playing at Broadway’s Neil Simon Theater for a limited run, with Pace starring alongside Andrew Garfield and Nathan Lane.