Apr 12, 2014

Jelle Florizoone: Is It Weird to Play Gay?

When Belgian actor Jelle Florizoone starred in the gay-teen-angst North Sea Texas (2011), the media went wild with questions:  "What's it like to play a gay guy?  How weird was it?  How disgusting was it?"

I hate interviews like that.
1. They assume that every other role is easy to play.  You want a secret agent?  A Martian?  A talking frog?  Not a problem.  But gay people are so bizarre that it's almost impossible for an actor to get into their characters, and so disgusting that it's a pain for him to even try.

2. They assume that teenagers must necessarily be heterosexual.  Same old story: no gay juveniles can possibly exist.

I don't know if Florizoone -- now a member of the boy band 5th Avenue -- is gay in real life or not, but he certainly doesn't think that gay roles are "weird" or particularly difficult.

After North Sea Texas, he starred in the short Headlong (2012), about a teenage ballet dancer stuck in a hotel room in a distant city, lost and alone until he falls "headlong" for a boy.

Even his starring role in the Flemish children's program ROX (2011-) doesn't strike me as heterosexist.  It's about three secret agents: the dashing Xavier (Jeremy Vandoorne, left), the glamorous Olivia (Jana Geurts), and the brainy Rick (Jelle).   Plus their magical talking car, ROX.

You can see it on youtube.  I've gone through a few episodes; even without speaking Dutch, it's not hard to follow the plot. And I don't see Rick getting involved in any hetero-romances.

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