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Bi Focus



Brand new on PlanetOut! News, views, and a little bit of dish! Tune in each month as Michael Szymanski looks at movies, TV, stage, music, and books from a bi perspective.





Frankly, I was surprised when I polled my very diverse bi pals about who they thought were the king and queen of bisexual roles and the votes came back overwhelmingly in favor of Ewan McGregor and Sharon Stone. (The runners up, by the way, were Robert Downey Jr. and Drew Barrymore, who have both talked about their own bi pasts.)

First, before there's any confusion, we are talking about bisexual portrayals, not bisexual actors. Both Ewan and Sharon are happily married to people of the opposite sex.

Ewan McGregor A lanky, sandy-haired, blue-eyed 29-year-old, McGregor has played more than his share of sexually ambiguous roles. In Shallow Grave he teases both his male and female roommates by walking around in boxer shorts. In Emma he's a puffed-up dandy more interested in impressing men than women. And in Trainspotting, his heroin-addicted character seems to be willing to do anything, even offer himself up for sex with a guy, for his next fix.

In The Velvet Goldmine, Ewan plays a Brit rocker who shags both guys and gals -- a character semi-inspired by Iggy Pop and his relationship with David Bowie. During the kissing scenes with Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, the actors' lip-locking continued well after the director yelled "cut"; both are quoted as having rather enjoyed the scene. Their lovemaking is passionate, raw, and turbulent.

More Columns:

  • Hollywood Bisexual Romances
  • Upcoming Movies With Bisexual Wisps
  • Bisexuals In Film

    Interact:

  • Bi Focus Message Board
  • Beyond Bi Message Board
  • Bisexurl Message Board


    About Michael Szymanski




  • In director Peter Greenaway's lush and beautiful The Pillow Book, McGregor plays a soft-spoken and tender translator named Jerome, who has relationships with men, but whose true love is an aspiring female writer played by Vivian Wu. She ends up using Jerome's naked body as a manuscript for her book, painting her stories on him as he squirms ticklishly and sending him to her publisher, who has a penchant for naked men.

    In interviews, Ewan admits he gets teased by fellow actors and reviewers about his rather notable uncut member always flapping around in his films, but he defends male nudity in the movies, saying, "Women have always been naked in movies, and now I'm just desperate to take my clothes off as much as possible for the Women's Movement." He adds, "They don't try to frame potted plants in front of my dick, like they do in most other films. I've been naked in almost everything I've been in, really. In fact, I have it written into my contract."

    He probably won't unleash his personal saber in the upcoming Star Wars 2, but he will reprise his role as the young Obi-Wan Kenobi, a bachelor warrior who takes a special interest in training young bucks in the ways of the Force.

    Fun fact: in real life, Ewan was once roommates with Jude Law, who is currently nominated for an Oscar for his role as the sexually ambiguous Dickey in The Talented Mr. Ripley.

    Sharon Stone It was a fleeting moment in the HBO movie If These Walls Could Talk 2, but bi folk all over the country cheered when Sharon Stone told her lover (played by Ellen DeGeneres), "When I fell in love with you, I decided I did not want another man in my life."

    Those few words, which probably could have come from Ellen's real-life bi lover Anne Heche (who directed the scene), seem to make up for all the protests against Sharon's bisexual killer character in Basic Instinct, which GLAAD calls one of the worst portrayals of bisexuals in film.

    The blonde and brassy actress, who just turned 40 and has a genius IQ, says her newspaper editor husband Phil Bronstein doesn't seem to mind all of her sexually ambiguous roles.

    In The Muse, Sharon inspires Albert Brooks and then flirts with his wife, played by Andie MacDowell, turning her into a successful businesswoman. She conjures up the spirit of Bette Davis to play Nicole in Diabolique, the campy remake of the frightening Simone Signoret classic, with its suggestions of a lesbian relationship. And she appealed to both men and women in her honest hooker role in Casino, which earned her an Oscar nod.

    But Stone's signature role is as the icepick-wielding killer in Basic Instinct. The film was vilified by many in the queer community, who argued that it gave the impression that most bisexuals out there are serial killers. (For the record, most of my bi friends are not -- I think.)

    Catherine emasculates the uber-male Michael Douglas, sucking him into the seamy, sensual, bisexual underground club scene, which ultimately destroys him. Stone says she'll never shake the legacy of the revealing crotch shots during the police interrogation.

    There's talk of reviving Catherine for a Basic Instinct sequel, although neither screenwriter Joe Eszterhaus nor Douglas will be back, and Stone is waiting to see if the script of the further exploits of the bisexual psychopathic murderess remain true to the character.

    Stone has said that in the past she's "dated" girls. While filming Basic Instinct, her best girlfriend was there to hold the starlet's hand out of camera range during some of the scenes, which set off a gossipy buzz. And in her latest unauthorized biography, Naked Instinct, author Frank Sanello details a sexual liaison with a woman in the bathroom of the Beverly Hills Hotel.

    Sharon's exploring another bi role on Broadway over the next few months, in David Mamet's new play Boston Marriage. Set in 1880, it's about two women who have an affair, marry rich men, then rekindle the relationship.

    During recent interviews about HBO's If These Walls Could Talk 2, she said that she's "exactly like a gay woman except I don't have sex with women."

    More Sharon Stone On Starstruck!

     
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