Neil Patrick Harris says ‘society’s shift’ makes it easier to be a openly gay actor in straight roles
Whether he’s playing straight or gay, Neil Patrick Harris says he does ‘the best job that I can do in any given role.’
Since coming out publicly in 2006, most of Harris’ roles in television and film have been straight including the womanizing Barney Stinson on How I Met Your Mother and the obsessed lover in Gone Girl.
‘I’ve been fortunate in getting to play against type while people know what my actual type is,’ Harris tells Variety.
With the exception of his role as a transgender punk rocker in Broadway’s Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Harris continues to play heterosexual roles while being in a high-profile marriage to actor David Burtka and raising their twins Gideon and Harper.
‘That’s been empowering to others, and certainly to me, that I can tweet pictures of my husband and my kids,’ he says. ‘I can make out with David at the Tonys. And I can still play opposite Rosamund Pike in a movie, and have sex with her, and people aren’t conflicted.
‘I think it speaks to society’s shift in what they deem important.’
But before his coming out, Harris felt the need to be tight-lipped about his sexuality. But he knew that when the tome came, he could look back at the example set by Ellen DeGeneres when she came out in 1997.
‘It was lovely to see in our society there was not a lot of hellfire and brimstone,’ he says of the reaction to DeGeneres. ‘For all the naysayers, there was an impressive amount of support for that kind of standing tall.’