By Jack Rico
What was supposed to be a normal press conference for Hitman 47 in New York City today, turned into an awkward and tense event after a journalist began the presser by asking Zachary Quinto, who co-stars in the film as superhuman Agent John Smith, if his character in the film is gay because he in real life is gay.
Quinto, looking flummoxed and almost disturbed at the line of questioning, retorted as eloquently stern as you can get without throwing a shoe at the man. “Clearly, you thought it was being gay. I just don’t see the correlation. That’s a leap that I would never take. I feel like the separation between who we are as actors and the characters we play is what makes the whole thing interesting. So, that to me, is an outdated mode of thinking – the one that you just presented to me. So, I don’t really have an answer for you there…. Weird question, my friend.”
Rupert Friend, known for his breakthrough role in Showtime’s Homeland and the protagonist in this film, defended Quinto and gave the journalist a piece of his mind by asking him facetiously if he thought that the character Hitman was also gay.
The reporter then replied, “I don’t know. You could say that these two guys were having this sort of homoerotic dance…”
When the publicist moved on to another question, one could clearly see Quinto filled with indignation as he piercingly stared at the aforementioned journalist with a visible anger. He would not take his gaze off of him. Not being able to shake off the question, he waited for the right time and reignited the conversation with said journalist, perhaps trying to ascertain how he could ask that question and not think it was borderline offensive.
Quinto: What outlet do you write for?
Reporter: The Boston Herald.
Quinto: I just realized, sorry, I can’t move on from the fact that … I do, I find it really borderline offensive that you would make this leap and ask that question. I find it really as a journalist sort of perpetuates these modes of thinking that have done nothing but hinder people’s progress in the world and in our industry. So, I think you have to be a little bit more mindful of how you talk to people and ask them questions because it doesn’t really make any sense.
Reporter: There is this idea, though, that some people think that it’s best or it’s wonderful when gay actors can play gay roles whereas straight actors have always played gay roles. And it is sort of uncharted territory to have a star who is an out actor.
Quinto: OK, but that’s a different question and that’s a different point. And that’s something that I could engage you on, but to just take the leap to ask me whether or not because I’m gay as an actor, the character’s gay – that’s where I find the offense, so it’s good to move on from it. I just think it was important to clarify it, and thank you for indulging that. Alright, moving to another journalist.
The following video briefly captures the exchange between the two men.
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