Last month, Thomas Jane got in a bit of hot water when he chatted with Vulture about his male gigolo drama, Hung. "I told HBO, the year I end up with a penis in my mouth is the last year of the show," Jane said then, though he walked back that comment a few days later, telling us, "Of course, everything I said was meant in good humor, good fun. You know, I'm a fan of the gay community, just because I've grown up in Hollywood around them." In fact, Jane's history with the Hollywood gay community goes back even further than that, because even though Jane says his Hung character will never go gay, he revealed to the L.A. Times over the weekend that he used to turn same-sex tricks himself when he moved to Los Angeles as a teenager.
Here's the excerpt:
You've gotten a lot of grief in the gay media ... here's your chance [to explain yourself].
Hey, you grow up as an artist in a big city, as James Dean said, you're going to have one arm tied behind your back if you don't accept people's sexual flavors. You know, when I was a kid out here in L.A., I was homeless, I didn't have any money and I was living in my car. I was 18. I wasn't averse to going down to Santa Monica Boulevard and letting a guy buy me a sandwich. Know what I mean?
Do you feel that experience had any cost or was it just doing what you had to do?
You're a lot more open to experimentation as a young man. And for me, being a young artist and broke in Los Angeles, I was exploring my sexual identity. And probably because of my middle-class, white blue-collar upbringing, I would have never had the opportunity to confront some of my own fears and prejudices had I not been hungry enough to be forced to challenge myself in that way.
So then it was productive for you in terms of self-knowledge?
Yeah, absolutely. It blew the doors off of my conventional upbringing and thinking and opened up possibilities for me that were akin to World War III. And then you actually have a choice, and I chose to be a heterosexual guy because that's what my DNA dictates and my nurture dictates that I am.
Then is that a choice?
I don't know. I think up to a point it's a choice. But I'll tell you what — it's not a choice until you're open enough to experience both male and female sexuality. Until you've tasted the food, you don't know whether you'll like it or not, as my mom always said.
Thomas Jane: willing to talk about anything!