Leslie Jordan's Life Lessons
The fun-size fellow has stolen scenes in several character roles, perhaps most notably as the maniacally talented Megan Mullally's nemesis on Will & Grace, imparted his wit, wisdom, and wily charms during a chat with Advocate.com.
Among the gems unearthed: Jordan's annoyance at being typecast, his views on being out in Hollywood, and whether he prefers mature men or fresh young things. It would seem if we're very lucky — Jordan might be heading to Broadway with the magnificent Mullally for Karen: The Musical.
We can't wait!
If you stomached the films Eating Out and Eating Out 2: Sloppy Seconds, make room for another helping of horny high jinks. Eating Out 3: All You Can Eat, the tasty third in the full-frontal-friendly romantic comedy series, is now playing at select theaters. Serving up wit, warmth, and wisdom alongside the usual wild young things, My Trip Down the Pink Carpet author Leslie Jordan plays Harry, a kindly older confidant who runs the Larry Craig LGBT Center. Best known as Brother Boy in Sordid Lives and for his Emmy-winning recurring role as Karen Walker’s diminutive nemesis Beverley Leslie on Will & Grace, the busy character actor retraces his journey from park bushes to the big screen and -- if Karen has any say -- Broadway.
According to the press release, six of the male leads in Eating Out 3 -- Daniel Skelton, Chris Salvatore, Michael Walker, John C. Stallings, Maximiliano Torandell, and Rick D’Agostino -- are openly gay. How important is that?
When my friend Del Shores was taking his show called Southern Baptist Sissies on the road, he hired three straight guys and one gay guy for the four gay characters. I kept saying, “Why don’t you hire gay men to play gay men?” He said, “Leslie, you could get in a lot of trouble for asking if they’re gay or straight. They come in and I hire the best actor for the part.” In a perfect world we’d want gay people to play gay people, but I think that’s a good rule of thumb: Whoever gives the best audition should get the part. My problem is getting anybody to hire me for anything other than queens. I don’t mind playing gay because there’s a whole plethora of gay roles out there, but if I get asked to play one more Southern hairdresser, I’m going to scream.
Do you think these actors risk putting their careers in jeopardy by coming out?
Only if they allow it to. Their path is going to be their path, but a tide has turned. I really think we’re going to reach a point where it’s not going to matter if you’re gay or straight because people are eventually going to get bored with the whole idea of “is he or isn’t he?”
What do you think of actors -- Ugly Betty’s Michael Urie and your costar Sean Hayes on Will & Grace spring to mind -- who make fortunes playing gay roles yet remain coy about their own sexuality? Do actors have a responsibility to disclose their sexuality?
Without naming names, there are actors that drive me crazy for that reason. We’re in the throes of the greatest civil rights movement since the 1960s, so we could really use their help. The only thing fame gets you is a platform -- except maybe a good table at a restaurant -- so it’s irresponsible if someone is gay and not using their fame to further the cause. That would be like a black actor in the ’60s refusing to do anything for the black cause.
Your character says he prefers “sex with men who have the maturity of an experienced lover” because sex with a 20-something would be “like teaching calculus to a preschooler.” Do you belong to that same school of thought?
No, honey, I’m the worst. All my boyfriends are in their 20s. I’m not going to apologize for it, but I love young, pretty, butch, gay-for-pay-type boys. That’s just how I like ’em. And I’ve got a few dollars now, so… I’m taking a break from pets because I had to put my Jack Russell terrier and my beautiful Lab to sleep, so now I have these beautiful boys that my friends call my poodles. They go with me everywhere.
Before I let you go, I promised some friends I’d tell you that they have a house out in Fire Island Pines that they’ve christened The Beverley Leslie, complete with “Beverley Leslie” welcome mats, embossed napkins, and stationery.
No way! I love it. Well, Megan Mullally called me months ago and told me she wanted to do Karen: The Musical on Broadway featuring Beverley Leslie. Apparently it’s in development and she’s got a great writer for the book and a great lyricist working on it, so pretty soon you and your friends will have to come in from Fire Island to see me in Karen: The Musical.
But wasn’t Beverley Leslie sucked out of a very high window in the Will & Grace finale?
We decided that maybe he landed on an awning of Bloomingdale’s that slipped him onto a bus that took him off somewhere. You know, here I’ve won an Emmy, written a book, blah, blah, blah, and I’ve never been on the cover of The Advocate. So when Beverley Leslie comes to Broadway, you better put me on the cover.
For more from the talented Mr Jordan, including all the details on his Eating Out 3 costars and the generational differences between young out people, then and now, check out the full article on Advocate.com.
Tell us: What's your favorite Leslie Jordan role?
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