HARRY COOK’S PINK!
In Harry Cook’s memoir Pink Ink, the actor discusses overcoming gay shame and campaigning for casting equity.
DNA: What was the most confronting thing about writing a memoir?
Harry Cook: Revisiting difficult memories. I had a really painful coming-out experience, battles with addiction, and spent a month in rehab. I had extremely low selfesteem and was dangerously depressed for a long time. It was painful digging up old memories, but I found it therapeutic by the end. I didn’t leave anything out. It’s raw and honest. I’m proud of it.
As an openly gay actor, you’ve expressed very strong opinions about being out in the entertainment industry. I’ve been extremely fortunate to get the work I have, but I think casting directors, producers and executives need to start giving more opportunities to queer people across the board. The few queer roles that are out there deserve to be played by queer actors. Period. Studio executives have this weird notion that openly gay actors can’t play straight characters, yet straight actors can play queer characters. In major LGBTIQ-themed films and TV shows the leads are often played by straight actors.
Constantly. Brokeback Mountain, Call Me By Your Name, Carol, Dallas Buyers Club, Priscilla, Love Simon, The Kids Are Alright, Philadelphia, Boys Don’t Cry, Transamerica, A Single Man, Neighbours, Riot, Holding The Man and Home And Away have all had straight actors playing gay characters. If queer actors had parity when it came to playing the same amount of straight characters it wouldn’t be an issue, but can you name an openly-gay actor who has played a Marvel superhero?
Do you think there are still many gay men, both in and out, who feel shame and suffer from self-hatred? Absolutely. I still struggle with shame because of the society I grew up in. It’s incredibly difficult to grow up around so much ignorance and hate and not be affected by it. It takes a lot of work to unburden oneself from the shame society throws on us as. I hope that with more LGBTIQ visibility ignorance will evaporate over time.
Your book also covers marriage equality in Australia. How do you feel now that it’s won?
People thought marriage equality was the top of the mountain, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg. The other day I noticed a “gay friendly” doctors page on the
New South Wales government website. That is insane! Shouldn’t all doctors be friendly to all their patients?
Will you and partner Liam have another wedding now that it’s legal in Australia?
Our wedding in California was perfect. We didn’t wait for Australia to catch up before we had our special day, so we don’t particularly feel the need to re-do it here.
Do you share any showbiz experiences in the book? Liam and I went to a Walk Of Style party in Beverly Hills. It was weird being at the same party as Lorde and Toby Maguire.
What do you hope people will gain from reading your memoir?
So much of the ignorance and hate we see in the world comes from people unwilling to learn about anybody different to themselves. I hope we see that change over time.