There have been quite a few movies featuring queer themes on the big screen of late. We’ve had Mysterious Skin, Little Fish, My Summer Of Love, Somersault, and we’re soon to see Happy Endings and the long-awaited Brokeback Mountain.

Opening in Australia this week is another one -“ Heights, the new Merchant Ivory production set in modern day New York. It’s a departure for the filmmakers, famous for their bodice-ripping period dramas, with this film following the lives of five characters in post-9/11 Manhattan as their lives interweave over the course of 24 hours.

Jesse Bradford plays Alec, a gay Broadway actor auditioning for a role in a play starring the formidable Oscar-winning actress Diana (Glenn Close). Diana’s daughter Isabel (Elizabeth Banks) is a young photographer whose relationship with her fianc?onathan (James Marsden), a lawyer, is on the rocks. Then there’s gay journalist Peter (John Light), who is writing a story about a gay photographer who takes pictures of his handsome conquests (one of whom is played by out singer Rufus Wainwright).

Speaking down the phone from his home in LA, Jesse Bradford agreed it’s nice to see more gay and lesbian characters appearing in films.

I think it’s great, Bradford, best known for his roles in Bring It On, Romeo + Juliet, King Of The Hill and John Polson’s Swimfan, said.

I think it’s especially great because this massive faction of America’s population is becoming less and less tolerant. That being the Bush administration and those who believe he’s not an idiot. So if Hollywood wants to step up and confront that notion then I think that’s great.

Bradford said he didn’t have any hesitations about playing a gay character, especially after he knocked back a gay role a couple of years earlier. While he refused that role because he didn’t like the character, afterwards he questioned his reasons for the decision.

In Heights he shares a passionate kiss with X-Men star James Marsden. When told he was now the envy of gay men everywhere, Bradford laughed and admitted it wasn’t one of his favourite scenes.

Well, you know, it was, ah -¦ that’s not really our bag, baby. So it was a little weird. It was something neither of us was particularly looking forward to. But I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again -“ I refer to it as one of the most heterosexual reaffirming moments of my life.

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