All the young dudes (will be played by women)

According to some internet buzzing, Twilight stars (that’s right, Twilight is everywhere) Kristin Stewart and Nikki Reed are set to star in a new film called K-11. For those of you who are not down with prison lingo (and I will include myself here), K-11 is the official classification code for gay inmates, and Stewart and Reed will both be playing gay men in the film. That’s right, gay men.

Now on the one hand, this seems like a good idea. Why can’t these teen hotties bend the rules a little bit and play gay dudes in prison? Their presence in the film will most likely draw an audience (Edward Cullen-obsessed teeny boppers) that would skip the film otherwise. 

On the other hand, this seems like a weird publicity stunt. Why can’t gay male actors play the gay male prison inmates? Are these two women really on board for this project because it gives them a chance to hone their acting skills and shine a spotlight on a marginalized group, or are their intentions less pure than that? (Keep in mind that rumors have Stewart and Reed in a relationship that goes beyond the platonic.)

So what do you think?

by Kelsey Wallace
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Kelsey Wallace is an editor in Portland, Oregon. Follow her on Twitter if you like TV and pictures of dogs.

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7 Comments Have Been Posted

"Why can't gay male actors

"Why can't gay male actors play the gay male prison inmates?"

even...why can't straight male actors play the gay male prison inmates?


i find this confusing. is there a specific slant that requires women in these roles?

I know. Weird.

I can't find anything on this that requires women to play these roles as opposed to men. If anyone sees anything along those lines, post it and let us know!


I voted for having "mixed emotions."

Part of me wants to think that gay men should be playing gay men in movies, because isn't there some sort of "authenticity" that comes through? But then I think to how many countless examples of stellar acting involving someone playing something they aren't in real life. Then I think about the dangers of out gay men (in particular) in Hollywood being typecast to playing only gay men. How shitty would that be?

Also, where does it say that gay men have to be played by gay men (and so on)? I'm with Judith Butler on this one, our sexualities aren't fully owned by our own selves, making claims to authenticity in representation tenuous at best. As long as this film doesn't devolve rapidly into essentialism and stereotyping, then I'm ok with this.

I agree, I don't think that

I agree, I don't think that gay men should have to be played by gay men because that leads to typecasting. This typcasting of course often only happens for gay men as straight men/women have been cast as homosexual characters and usually applauded for their 'risky choice'. Interestingly, it also seems that often gay men are cast as gay men when the role is campy and over the top, whereas straight men and women get the more serious gay roles.

In the case of the movie though, like others have noted, I don't really understand why the role requires women. I guess knowing more of the directors intentions would make this clearer to us.

Because mainstream society can't handle the truth?

Maybe I am being too cynical here but could the reason these actresses have been cast in the role of gay men be that mainstream audiences will have an easier time watching two straight women pretending to be gay men rather than men (gay or straight) acting in the role? I really, really hope that a very interesting alternative reason comes out for this casting choice as the cross - dressing aspect excites me. But something in this move cries foul.

Let me break it down...again, I hope I am off the mark on this but it is not difficult for me to imagine the decision makers in the movie industry concluding that box office sales would be elevated by people (um, your average joe-the-plummers from Middle America) coming to see two straight women get it on (or even the suggestion thereof). Whereas a film with (straight or gay) men portraying gay inmates will not have the same draw to mainstream audiences.

If the above rings true than I am disappointed (yet again) that movie makers shy away from handling GLTB relationships in an honest and compassionate way, especially after the acclaim of Brokeback Mountain. I suppose I would have hoped that film alone would have broken some barriers - permanently.

Homophobia or Typical Male Fantasy?

I had the exact same thoughts ExPatMama expresses in her post.

First, that they are trying to get the average middle American to shell out 10 bucks.
Watching two handsome guys get it on in Brokeback Mountain is for those artsy folks on the coasts--not for those real manly men who refuse to watch two men kiss because they fear it will turn them on. So having girls play gay guys isn't so bad, because it makes Joe Hetero feel more secure in his sexuality when he gets wood from watching the prison rape scene.

Second, that this is just some typical male fantasy of two hot chicks getting it on. This movie could be just an excuse to get lesbian porn into cinemas across the country while under the guise of "edgy" and "provocative" because its about gays and prison. Hollywood is just simply pathetic these days.

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