• Golden Globe Awards

Trailblazer Nathan Lane Remains a Force to Reckon with in Hollywood

June’s Pride Month is in full swing with various pride events, parades, and protests happening everywhere. Most streaming platforms and TV channels will participate in the LGBTQIA+ celebrations with a selection of queer films and TV series. Peacock will air one of America’s cult movies of all time, The Producers. The 2005 film version of the Mel Brooks original Broadway musical launched the career of the openly gay icon Nathan Lane and pushed him into world stardom.
The actor plays Max Bialystock, a producer who teams up with timid accountant Leo Bloom (Matthew Broderick) in a get-rich-quick scheme to put on the world’s worst show in order to defraud their investors. Lane and Broderick reprise their Broadway stage performances.
In 2001, the musical ran to sold-out houses on Broadway for over a year and held the record for most Tony wins for a Broadway musical. Lane won a well-deserved Tony award for the role, (Broderick was nominated), validating Brooks’ choice to recast the actors in the film instead of using movie stars.
Lane’s portrayals of complex gay characters have won him much acclaim in his career. The 67-year-old came out publicly as a gay man in 1999, soon after his unforgettable portrayal of Albert Goldman (his second Golden Globe nomination) opposite Robin Williams in the 1996 hit film The Birdcage. He was also motivated to do so by the heartless killing of the gay teenager Matthew Shepard, which resulted in the endless battle for hate crimes legislation and LGBTQIA+ equal rights. At the time, there were few out gay actors and his decision took enormous courage.
During a podcast for The Hollywood Reporter, Lane opened up about how difficult it was to come out as gay. “I came out when I was 21 to my mother and to my family,” he said. “Everyone knew. And certainly, everyone in [the] New York [theater scene] knew. But this notion of coming out publicly, as if I was a public figure — no one had been interested in my sex life up until then.”
The versatile actor, who played both straight and gay characters, has told critics throughout the years that he believes that casting depends on talent. He has defended straight actors playing gay roles mostly because he believes talent should prevail above all. One of his straight roles, for which he was Tony-nominated, was Nathan Detroit, the professional gambler in Guys and Dolls.
Lane is still on top of his game and remains a force to reckon with. He has won three Tony awards, six Drama Desk awards, an Olivier award, two Daytime and one Primetime Emmy, a People’s Choice award and a Screen Actors Guild award. In 2006, he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2008, he was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame. On Broadway, he just closed his 25th show, Pictures From Home. For his performance in the television series Only Murders in the Building, Lane recently won his first primetime Emmy. His dark odyssey, Beau Is Afraid, is playing in cinemas. Last but not least, GALECA, the Society of LGBTQ+ Entertainment Critics, just honored him with the Timeless Star Award, celebrating his over 40-year career.