In a heartwarming letter to his character, “Damien,” from the movie Mean Girls, Daniel Franzese is ready to come out of the closet. It has been close to 10 years since the release of the hit movie, and his letter is not only inspirational, but also sad in places. He tells “Damien” that he wished he had someone like him in his life to which to look up. He goes on to say that so many letters came in after the movie telling stories of being gay and afraid, but finding courage in the character’s true representation of what a teen-aged gay boy would go through, gave them the strength to be themselves. Unfortunately, it was not so easy for the star. At the start of his career, Franzese dreamed of going to Hollywood and playing roles in the genre of gangsters, as he believed this was his specialty. However, after his breakout role on Mean Girls, he seemed to have been stereotyped by Hollywood. He talks of the heartbreak and how he was told the roles he auditioned for required a “Man’s Man.” He received many offers to play characters that were flamboyantly gay, but did not want to take a step back from his role on Mean Girls. Playing a gay that is laughed at is entirely different than playing one that you laugh with, like “Damien.”
Being turned down and not even considered to play masculine roles led to a depression for Franzese. He states that he did not go out and shied away from any kind of dates for a year and a half. He even brought a girl to the premiere of Mean Girls and kissed her on the red carpet, hoping to dispel the stigma of the role that made him famous. Although he has done many movies since Mean Girls, he has never been able to come out and openly admit he is gay. It is sad really, that in this day and age, anyone should be ashamed of who they are. It should not require courage to let the world know you are not what they thought. Frazese has shown courage and has come out in the most sincere and moving way. Ten years after Mean Girls and the role that terrified him, as it was too close to the truth, he comes out and explains why “Damien” is a role that he was unable to embrace. This highly public truth-telling will have his fans talking and they should be extremely proud to have gone on this journey with him, although unwittingly.
Franzese will be 36 next month and got his start when he debuted in Bully. He has done some very controversial films such as I Spit on Your Grave, which is what some call a “rape and revenge” movie. He has many awards from his work in theater of which he should be very proud. As the world looks on, they will see that Franzese is a star, not just for playing a compassionate gay on Mean Girls, but for coming out in the most touching of ways.
Opinion by Kristi Cereska
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