In Tony Kushner’s play, which opens March 25, Pace stars opposite Nathan Lane and Andrew Garfield as Joe Pitt, a closeted gay Mormon. The actor last appeared on Broadway as gay activist Bruce Niles in the 2011 production of “The Normal Heart,” which, like “Angels in America,” is set during the AIDS crisis.
In his interview with W, Pace said it was important to have openly gay actors in both “Angels in America” and “The Normal Heart,” given the subject matter of the plays. However, things took an uncomfortable turn when writer Brian Moylan asked whether Pace, who had never spoken about his sexuality publicly, personally identified as gay.
“I’ve dated men. I’ve dated women. I don’t know why anyone would care. I’m an actor and I play roles,” he said, appearing to be taken aback. “To be honest, I don’t know what to say ― I find your question intrusive.”
On Monday, Pace responded to the controversy on Twitter, saying he had been “momentarily at a loss” for words during the interview, but that he “happily owns” being a part of the queer community.
In a recent phone interview, I was asked questions that I wasn’t expecting and found myself momentarily at a loss for the right words. My privacy is important to me, so I protect it. When interviewed by the media, I keep the focus on my work.— Lee Pace (@leepace) March 5, 2018
As a member of the queer community, I understand the importance of living openly, being counted, and happily owning who I am. That’s how I’ve always lived my life...— Lee Pace (@leepace) March 5, 2018
The actor went on to list the queer characters he’s played “with dignity” throughout his career.
In addition to his roles in “The Normal Heart” and “Angels in America,” he played transgender activist Calpernia Addams in Showtime’s “Soldier’s Girl” and Joe MacMillan, the protagonist of the AMC series “Halt and Catch Fire,” who has relationships with both men and women.
...just as it's been important to me to portray queer characters with dignity for my entire career: A Soldier's Girl (Showtime. 2003). The Normal Heart (Broadway. 2011). Halt and Catch Fire (AMC. 2014-2017). Angels in America. (Broadway. NOW.)— Lee Pace (@leepace) March 5, 2018
Onward, with Pride.
Prior to his chat with W, Pace had faced ample speculation over his sexuality, but had mostly kept tight-lipped about the subject of his personal life in interviews.
“Who cares about people’s personal lives?” he told BuzzFeed in 2014. “I mean, honestly. How are you then able to disappear into a role? Trust me, if I had something interesting to say about myself, I would.”
- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.