Director Todd Holland.

Openly gay Hollywood directors Don Roos and Todd Holland have caused a stir after making comments suggesting that gay actors remain in the closet.

Holland and Roos made their statements during two separate panel discussions at Outfest, the ten day LGBT film festival held every July in Los Angeles. Holland (Malcom in the Middle, 30 Rock) last week reportedly said that he believed that a gay actor would have to stay closeted to have a successful career in Hollywood.

In turn, Roos, who directed the films Bounce, The Opposite of Sex and Happy Endings, said at a discussion about his career on Sunday that when casting a movie, he has to consider things which will distract the audience from the story he is trying to tell.

“Who could put Tom Cruise in a movie right now? When I see Tom Cruise, I think of Scientology, jumping on a sofa and getting into a fight with Brooke Shields,” he said.

“I prefer more mystery,” he continued. “I don’t want to know about [the actor’s] political views, whether they’re gay or straight.”

Despite being challenged by the audience, he went on to add that “I don’t think actors coming out is going to help end homophobia. I think doctors, teachers and lawyers coming out will end homophobia.”

Emmy award-winning Holland has since said he chose his words poorly and clarified his comments on

“Studios are like feisty Chihuahuas – they are inherently fearful, and if their bottom lines are at risk, they’ll bite. Agents and managers do not push rocks uphill – they’ll push level (but prefer downhill). And their bottom lines are also at risk. Casting directors (sometimes gay ones especially) are often very reluctant to promote openly gay actors fearing, I imagine, some ‘what the f— are you thinking?’ response from straight employers.

“My meaning in ‘I can’t tell you to come out’ is inherently parental. Translation: ‘If you take the path of coming out, you will be living authentically – and that is a great achievement in anyone’s life. But I can’t promise you’re going to skirt the gatekeepers or scale the hurdles the system has in place.’ To me, that is a real and honest answer. Yes, it is neither activist nor idealistic – but it is the real world I work in every day. It is the world in which I live authentically.”

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