Back in the '80s, closeted gay funnymen like Eddie Murphy were limited to prankster roles, and it worked fine. Can you imagine, after his comedic success in Beverly Hills Cop, casting Murphy as the detective in Basic Instinct? The idea that somebody green-lit an erotic thriller starring a crypto-homo joker just goes to show how desperate Hollywood studios have become by 2015.
I still remember how mind-bending it was to see Smith land all those big roles in the '90s, when his only talent was mugging for yuks as the Fresh Prince. Did audiences really take him seriously? Or was his appeal a meta- kinda thing, like they realized he couldn't play any other role than Will Smith (TM), but how hilarious is it to see Will Smith (TM) cosplaying as a caricature of a soldier, a g-man, or a lover of women?
Nothing says stoic badass like kabuki-esque face-scrunching
Gay adopter Peter Pan-ishly mirrors his toddler's expression
"The Greatest" as a brooding gay bullycide victim
His case generalizes to all closeted homo actors: lacking grown-up empathy, they can only play one role -- themselves -- and it will therefore be one variation or another on the theme of Peter Pan (the defining trait of gay men).
Eddie Murphy and Will Smith are adorable lil' stinker pranksters. Cary Grant and George Clooney are mirror-gazing playboys who, for whatever reason, can never be charmed into a long-term relationship with a woman. Tom Cruise plays a bit more grown-up of a role, as 12 year-old ultra-intense ultra-panicky action LARPer.
Fortunately for Hollywood, audiences these days don't care how hamfisted the on-screen performances are, as long as the star has instant brand recognition. Indeed, the fundamental appeal of these stars is that their brand of acting is so limited that you know exactly what to expect. Hence the box office bomb when Will Smith isn't doing Will Smith (TM).
Viewers no longer want to go in with an open mind and feel like being pleasantly surprised, accepting the characters on their own terms. Nope: the actors are only meant to be action figure dolls who do exactly what the spectators had already wanted them to do before entering the theater.
It used to be said that contemporary video games were a pale imitation of film, but now we see that film has become a pale imitation of video games. No controller required, folks -- we already know what actions you'd make the characters perform. Just sit back and enjoy the game playing itself.