Oct 5, 2016

Jesse Bradford

Born in 1979, Jesse Bradford made his acting debut at the age of 8 months, in a Q-Tips commercial (it was a non-speaking role).  He was busy as a child, playing the son of a screenwriter with lung cancer in The Boys (1991) and brother of a psychotic gay kid (Harley Cross) in The Boy Who Cried Bitch (1991).

But he first made an impression on gay teens with Far from Home: The Adventures of Yellow Dog (1995), where his Angus is lost in the Canadian wilderness with a dog named Yellow, fights for survival, and takes his shirt off, revealing a hard, firm but not muscular chest.







Unfortunately, his teenage projects involved a lot of girls.  In Hackers (1995), teenage computer whizzes Joey (Jesse) and The Girl try to save the world from a dangerous computer virus, and in Clockstoppers (2002), Zack (Jesse) and The Girl find a device that allows them to move super-fast, in effect stopping time.

But his darkly handsome teen idol face was sure to elicit swoons from gay and straight teens, and he became more muscular every year.






The thriller Swimfan (2002) is about a psychotic girl who stalks Ben (Jesse), a high school swimmer.  Though he is heterosexual, the disdain he feels as the girl becomes more and more insistent in her desire to be with him can be read as a gay subtext.  And  fans got to see Jesse in a revealing swimsuit.












Some buddy bonding: his character likes Romeo (Leonardo DiCaprio) in Romeo+Juliet (1996), and bonds with the gay male cheerleader Wes (Huntley Ritter) in Bring it On (2000).  In Flags of Our Fathers (2006), his Rene Gagnon storms the beach at Iwo Jima while mooning over Doc Bradley (Ryan Philippe).

After playing a gay hustler in Speedway Junky (1999), with Jonathan Taylor Thomas as his bisexual colleague, Jesse turned down a gay role in The Rule of Attraction (2002), fearing that he would be typecast.


But he played gay again in The Heights (2005), a young actor whom the engaged Jonathan (James Marsden) meets, falls for, and kisses.

Jesse's most recent roles have involved young adult heterosexuals negotiating relationships: a driven young attorney in Outlaw (2010),  a guy in love with a single mom in Other People's Kids (2011), a single dad in Guys with Kids (2012).  But he remains a gay ally.