Skip To Content

    45 Actors Who Went Gay For Pay

    In his new Sundance flick, Daniel Radcliffe joins a long list of straight actors who have portrayed LGBT characters on the big screen.

    1. Robert Redford, "Inside Daisy Clover"

    Redford played a closeted homosexual married to a female recording star.

    2. Marlon Brando, "Reflections in a Golden Eye"

    Brando portrays a married, repressed homosexual on an Army base in the 1940s.

    3. William Hurt, "Kiss of the Spider Woman"

    Hurt is a jailed gay main who falls in love with his cell mate.

    4. Harry Hamlin, "Making Love"

    Hamlin is a married man coming to terms with his homosexuality.

    5. Hugh Grant, "Maurice"

    Grant plays a student who falls in love with the title character of the film.

    6. James Wilby, "Maurice"

    Wilby is the main character in a tale of homosexual love in early 20th century England.

    7. River Phoenix, "My Own Private Idaho"

    Phoenix is a gay street hustler who travels back to his hometown in Idaho.

    8. Antonio Banderas, "Philadelphia"

    Banderas is Hank's partner Miguel Álvarez in this film about AIDS and HIV.

    9. Tom Hanks, "Philadelphia"

    Hanks is a closeted homosexual lawyer who contracts HIV in this courtroom drama.

    10. Will Smith, "Six Degrees of Separation"

    Smith stars as a gay con-artist.

    11. Leonardo DiCaprio, "Total Eclipse"

    DiCaprio appears as a French poet Arthur Rimbaud who engaged in a passionate romance with fellow poet, Paul Verlaine.

    12. Robin Williams, "The Birdcage"

    Williams plays the owner of a South Beach drag club who has to play it straight when his son's future in-laws come to visit.

    13. Greg Kinnear, "As Good As It Gets"

    Kinnear portrays a gay artist who learns to bond with his obsessive compulsive and judgmental neighbor.

    14. Jonathan Rhys Meyers, "Velvet Goldmine"

    Rhys Meyers stars as a Bowie-like, gay rockstar.

    15. Matt Damon, "The Talented Mr. Ripley"

    Damon stars as an identity theft who has deep obsessions with his male counterparts.

    16. Hilary Swank, "Boys Don't Cry"

    Swank portrays a transgender man who is savagely murdered.

    17. Dennis Quaid, "Far From Heaven"

    Quaid embodies the character of a married man who is caught cheating on his wife with another man.

    18. Ed Harris, "The Hours"

    Harris stars opposite of Streep as a HIV-stricken poet.

    19. Meryl Streep, "The Hours"

    Streep plays the other half of Harris' story as a lesbian married to him.

    20. Christina Ricci, "Monster"

    Ricci plays Theron's devoted lover.

    21. Charlize Theron, "Monster"

    Theron stars in the true story of a prostitute turned serial killer.

    22. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, "Mysterious Skin"

    Gordon-Levitt stars as a sexually abused man who turns to prostitution.

    23. Jake Gyllenhaal, "Brokeback Mountain"

    Gyllenhaal shares a romance with Ledger in a movie about closeted gay cowboys.

    24. Heath Ledger, "Brokeback Mountain"

    Ledger plays the other half of the secret relationship that takes place backwoods of Wyoming.

    25. Felicity Huffman, "Transamerica"

    Huffman stars as a transsexual woman, who goes on a road trip with her long-lost son.

    26. Cillian Murphy, "Breakfast On Pluto"

    Murphy plays a transgender woman searching for love and her long-lost mother.

    27. Philip Seymour Hoffman, "Capote"

    Hoffman portrays Truman Capote in this biopic.

    28. James Franco, "Milk"

    Franco stars as Harvey Milk's lover.

    29. Emile Hirsch, "Milk"

    Hirsch appears as Harvey Milk's mentee.

    30. Sean Penn, "Milk"

    And Penn captures the world of the gay rights activist.

    31. Colin Firth, "A Single Man"

    Firth embodies the world of a depressed British professor mourning the loss of his partner.

    32. Nicholas Hoult, "A Single Man"

    Hoult plays a student who crosses the boundaries of student-teacher relationships with Firth's character.

    33. Sacha Baron Cohen, "Bruno"

    Cohen stars as an outlandish, gay Austrian fashion journalist in this mockumentary.

    34. Jim Carrey, "I Love You Phillip Morris"

    Carrey stars as an inmate who falls in love with an inmate.

    35. Ewan McGregor, "I Love You Phillip Morris" / "Velvet Goldmine"

    McGregor plays Carrey's love interest in I Love You Phillip Morris (pictured). In a prior role, McGregor plays the glam-rock lover of Rhys Meyers' character in Velvet Goldmine.

    36. Annette Bening, "The Kids Are Alright"

    Bening shares the screen with Moore as one-half of a lesbian couple.

    37. Julianne Moore, "The Kids Are Alright" / "The Hours"

    Moore stars as Bening's wife and co-parent of two kids (pictured) in the indie flick. In The Hours, she stars as a confused, sexually repressed housewife who has feelings for her female neighbor.

    38. Bradley Cooper, "Valentine's Day"

    Cooper does a bait-and-switch on the audience when it's revealed he's in a same-sex relationship.

    39. Eric Dane, "Valentine's Day"

    Dane is revealed to be Cooper's boyfriend.

    40. Benedict Cumberbatch, "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy"

    Cumberbatch is a gay, nerve-wracked spy in this espionage thriller.

    41. Rooney Mara, "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo"

    Mara stars as a bixsexual, goth freelance surveillance agent and researcher, who was previously played by Noomi Rapace.

    42. Christopher Plummer, "Beginners"

    Plummer portrays a father who comes out very late in life.

    43. Casey Affleck, "ParaNorman"

    Affleck voices the dumb jock older brother who reveals he's gay at the end of this animated film.

    44. Ben Foster, "Kill Your Darlings"

    Foster stars as William Burroughs, one of queer poets in the beat generation.

    45. Daniel Radcliffe, "Kill Your Darlings"

    Radcliffe co-stars as Allen Ginsberg in this portrayal of a true story about a murder.

    BuzzFeed Daily

    Keep up with the latest daily buzz with the BuzzFeed Daily newsletter!

    Newsletter signup form