Portia de Rossi lands the cover of OUT Magazine’s May issue. (Ryan Murphy share’s the “dual cover” this month.) The two land the cover for bringing gay storylines to primetime TV. Portia and Ryan share their thoughts on gay-inclusive TV, the way Hollywood treats gay characters, and a peek into their private lives.
“I don’t go into a project thinking I’m a groundbreaker or a pioneer,” Murphy tells OUT contributor Natasha Vargas-Cooper. “But all my work has a gay voice and gay characters and always will. I do feel with Glee, since it skews so young, the gay characters do transmit a certain message: You are not alone. You don’t have to harm or hate yourself.” Murphy continues, “I wish I’d had this show growing up. I think if I had, I would be a lot less fearful and a lot braver.”
Murphy’s mission of being gay-inclusive in his work was not an easy one to accomplish. “When I first started working in the entertainment industry, it was out of the question to have an authentically gay character on television. Forget it! Forget it,” he recalls. “Now it’s like, if you don’t have a gay character, something is wrong with your show.”
De Rossi’s experience in trying to produce gay stories for television, however, somewhat mirrors the gap between a powerful fantasy and the sometimes more uncomfortable reality. “I had a project that I was shopping around for TV called Butch and Fay, about two gay people, very famous actors who marry each other for the sake of their career,” she tells OUT writer Shana Naomi Krochmal. “That happened a lot in the past and probably still exists today. Every single person that I brought it to was kind of titillated by the idea but ultimately shut it down, saying that being gay in the industry just wasn’t an issue anymore. I know it’s not very popular to bring this issue up, but it’s still very difficult for actors to get certain types of roles. We need to hear it some more until things change.”
The other half of the message that needs to be heard, de Rossi says, is pretty straightforward: “I really, honestly think that anybody who is openly gay and visible is powerful. It doesn’t matter what you do, you are impacting people.”
Murphy is currently working to impact his viewers emotionally, and part of that comes from raising his new son, Logan. “That’s where I think The New Normal comes from. I want to provoke people emotionally,” he says of the show loosely based on his real-life experience with spouse David Miller. “Sometimes I feel a bit prudish. With Logan in the house now, I feel like I need to cover up every Mapplethorpe print.”
De Rossi, on the other hand, is pretty certain her impact will not involve children. “There comes some pressure in your mid-30s, and you think, Am I going to have kids so I don’t miss out on something that other people really seem to love? Or is it that I really, genuinely want to do this with my whole heart?” she ponders. “I didn’t feel that my response was ‘yes’ to the latter. You have to really want to have kids, and neither of us did. So it’s just going to be me and Ellen [DeGeneres] and no babies’—but we’re the best of friends and married life is blissful, it really is. I’ve never been happier than I am right now.”
PS: Do you think Portia’s had work done on her face? Ellen Degeneres certainly has a type, doesn’t she? Portia is starting to look like Anne Heche! Just sayin.
MORE PHOTOS OF PORTIA & RYAN AFTER THE JUMP! (more…)