A lot of us are really excited about TIFF and the movies and the famouses, I know. It is truly a magnificent time to be alive, but especially if you are a person who loves press junkets and roundtables and hearing people talk about their work, because listen: TIFF has a lot of those things.
However, this also means that there’s a whole crop of things that could/would/will probably happen, and that usually includes a question being asked that we hear and think, “OH NO PLEASE MAKE IT STOP” to.
Enter: yesterday’s press conference for Legend, in which Tom Hardy is asked about his sexuality.
“In the film, your character Ronnie is very open about his sexuality,” asked reporter Graeme Coleman from Daily Xtra. “But given interviews you’ve done in the past, your own sexuality seems a bit more ambiguous. Do you find it hard for celebrities to talk about their sexuality?”
Tom Hardy wasn’t down.
“What on earth are you on about?” was his response.
And that’s when Coleman re-phrased the question, and asked it again.
“I don’t find it difficult for celebrities to talk about their sexuality,” Hardy answered. “Um, are you asking me about my sexuality?”
Coleman: “Um . . . sure.”
Coleman: “Um . . .”
Hardy: “Thank you.”
Okay! Well, there you have it: yikes.
Now, I mean — Coleman is a journalist from a LGBT+ outlet, so it’s not like he was asking his question salaciously, and that question — re: celebrities discussing sexuality — is pretty fair. (Especially because in the movie, Tom Hardy plays a gay man.) But it’s hard enough to have a conversation about something like sexuality one-on-one, let alone during a press conference. That doesn’t set the tone for a decent answer, nor does it allow somebody to be vulnerable, which is what talking about one’s sexuality is. Especially when the topic strayed into “what is your sexuality?”
Ultimately, somebody’s sexuality really isn’t anyone’s business unless they’d like it to be — even if that person is famous. (I’m sorry, but it’s true — goodbye, Perez Hilton’s website.) This means that questions about somebody’s sexuality are off-side unless it’s a conversation about that particular topic. And if it isn’t, asking a celebrity (press conference/interview/whatever) about their sexuality makes as much sense as asking your barista about theirs. After all: why does it concern us? Whoever they love or whoever they’re dating or whoever they’ve dated in the past has nothing to do with . . . anything. (But especially us.) Actors play roles in movies. We don’t need to unpack the rest of their lives unless they’d like us to.
But that being said, let’s not board the Coleman-shame-train. Junkets and press conferences are hard. They’re awful, actually. And trying to ask a question that needs a discussion over a soundbite in the middle of conference pandemonium is the recipe for disaster. This seems like a case of miscommunication x 100. But for the duration of TIFF, let’s just ask people questions like, “May I please have whatever swag you got and don’t feel like keeping.” (The Anne T. Donahue special.)