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Ewan McGregor Talks About Pressures Playing a Queer Icon in Halston

Ewan McGregor Talks About Pressures Playing a Queer Icon in 'Halston'

Ewan McGregor Talks About Pressures Playing a Queer Icon in 'Halston'

McGregor opens up to PRIDE about playing a beloved but complicated icon in LGBTQ+ history. 

byraffy

Daniel Minahan and Ryan Murphy's long-awaited limited series Halston is out now on Netflix, and in it, we see a never-before-seen look at the ups and downs of one of history's most iconic, but misunderstood, queer figures! 

Starring Ewan McGregor in the titular role, Halston takes us back to the '70s & '80s Studio 54 scene, where we see a simple, humble hat maker turn into one of the world's first examples of a designer becoming a bonafide celebrity in his own right. Featuring his well-known friendship with fellow gay icon Liza Minnelli (Krysta Rodriguez) and his on-off relationship with his lover Victor Hugo (Gian Franco Rodriguez), the series shows us what it was like to be a prominent and successful queer person during not-so-accepting times, and what it's like having it all of the success ripped away from you.

But did the pressure to bring a beloved, complicated queer icon to life ever get to McGregor, especially when you aren't part of the community you're representing?

"It doesn't feel like pressure to me," McGregor told PRIDE during a press event when asked about bringing Halston's tumultuous life to the small screen. "I feel more responsibility, is the word. I have a responsibility to him, responsibility to his friends and those that loved him. I did my best to meet as many people as I could who knew him. I met some of his really dear friends. I met some people that worked with him, who didn't have very nice things to say about him. I think what I wrestled with a little bit was how private he was with his sexual life." 

One of the hallmarks of the limited series includes showcasing Halston's relationships, both sexual and romantic, during a time where queerness was kept hidden and underground from mainstream society.

"He slept with rent boys," McGregor said. "His friends would tell me that he would often go out for dinner and then at 10 o'clock, he'd leave and he'd go home. He would call someone over and they would have sex and often get something to eat. One of his friends called it, 'Dial-a-dick, dial-a-steak,' because he would have a couple of steaks delivered, and he'd have sex, and then they would eat the steaks together, which was sort of nice, I think. But it was very private."

He continued:

"I knew that was a private part of his life. I felt, 'Are we doing the right thing by even showing it, quite graphically, sometimes?' But I felt, 'Well, it is truly Halston, and we're trying to tell the story of this man and inspire people with him, and that is part of it.' So I felt that responsibility to him."

Halston is streaming now on Netflix!

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Raffy Ermac

Digital Director, Out.com

Raffy is a Los Angeles-based writer, editor, video creator, critic, and digital director of Out Magazine. The former editor-in-chief of PRIDE, he is also a die-hard Rihanna and Sailor Moon stan who loves to write about all things pop culture, entertainment, and identities. Follow him on Instagram (@raffyermac) and Twitter (@byraffy), and subscribe to his YouTube channel

Raffy is a Los Angeles-based writer, editor, video creator, critic, and digital director of Out Magazine. The former editor-in-chief of PRIDE, he is also a die-hard Rihanna and Sailor Moon stan who loves to write about all things pop culture, entertainment, and identities. Follow him on Instagram (@raffyermac) and Twitter (@byraffy), and subscribe to his YouTube channel