From his breakthrough in Angels in America to roles in Hard Candy, Little Children and Lakeview Terrace, he always delivers.
Lucky Brandon Voss got to chat with Patrick for The Advocate. Here are some highlights:
As an accomplished Broadway performer, were you aware of your gay fans before Angels?
Well, remember I did The Full Monty, so yeah, I was pretty conscious of the gay fans. [Laughs] But no amount of musicals can compare to the importance of Angels in the gay community, so I do think I gained a whole new legion of fans.
What does the support of the gay community mean to you?
It means a ton to me, and it’s something I take a lot of pride in. It’s silly in hindsight because everyone was awesome and convincing in their roles whatever their own sexual orientation is, but there were a few eyebrows raised before Angels came out because the majority of the male leads were straight. Regardless of the talent pool, people were like, How are they gonna pull this off? I understand the impact Angels has had on the gay community, so the fact that they thought I pulled it off was the best compliment I could get. I felt validated. You always hope you’ll have the confirmation of a core fan base; the gay community’s the core fan base of Angels, so that confirmation was a huge relief. Obviously, you don’t make a movie just for core fans, but that’s certainly where it starts.
You haven’t played gay since Angels. Why not?
There’s no rhyme and reason, but that is kind of funny, right? I really haven’t been offered a lot of gay characters. It didn’t get to the point where I auditioned, but I remember when Brokeback Mountain was happening early on—before they knew if it was going to work with Heath and Jake. But when I was sent the Brokeback Mountain script, I didn’t bat an eye. That was pretty soon after Angels came out, but I couldn’t have cared less if I only did two roles on screen and one was Joe Pitt and the other was in Brokeback. I don’t care whether a role’s gay or straight; if it’s good, it’s good.
As an actor who tackled one of the most memorable closet cases in contemporary literature, what’s your take on the Hollywood closet?
I don’t know—I feel like I could get in trouble either way. There are older actors that all of us in the business look at and think, Oh, come on. One side of me is like, Why don’t they just come out? But if they don’t want to, it’s nobody’s business. If coming out helps someone feel great and further a personal cause, that’s awesome, but I just wish no one cared. Every time I hear somebody came out, it doesn’t mean anything to me. It’s such a personal thing, and the last thing you’d want is for someone to feel like they needed to do it. I don’t know what that gains other than making some tabloid reader feel validated, like, “I knew it!” or “That’s shocking!” Then again, I don’t know that struggle. But no one’s calling me to ask about all the women I’ve slept with, so why does anyone need to tell people who they’re sleeping with? It’s a side of the business that I really detest. I don’t want anyone to know anything about me. You know, early on when we were dating, my wife asked me, “Did you care if anyone thought you were gay after Angels in America?” I said, “No, I hope they thought I was gay, Republican, a lawyer, and Mormon. Then I did my job.”
No complaints that you appear in various states of undress for almost every role, but your bare ass practically has more IMDb credits than you do. Have you ever felt sexually objectified?
I have, but not in the scenes that you’d think. You should talk to my lawyer, because if it were up to me I’d never do it except for when it’s really called for, like in Angels, Little Children, and Watchmen. Joe has to be naked in Angels because he has to strip everything away. You have to see them naked in Little Children because it’s got to be hot and raw like Body Heat. I had to be seen naked from behind in Watchmen because that’s one of the coolest panels in the comic. But then there are the things where a director will go, “Why don’t you be shirtless in this scene?” I’ll say, “Why am I shirtless?” “Uh…” “Ah, you see?!” At least I could justify it in Lakeview Terrace because it was 115 degrees out.
To read the entire interview with Patrick, go to Advocate.com.