Today's best actors have to go the extra mile for their craft. Joaquin Phoenix had to learn to sing and play the guitar like Johnny Cash for Walk the Line. David Strathairn puffed as many as 50 cigarettes a day for his role as Edward R. Murrow in Good Night, and Good Luck. Philip Seymour Hoffman had to mince and develop a high-pitched voice for his role as Truman Capote in Capote.
And Jake Gyllenhaal? He had to make out with Heath Ledger for Brokeback Mountain. It's that kiss -- two of Hollywood's hottest actors in an intense lip lock -- that has the movie biz buzzing. Brokeback Mountain, a film about cowboys in love opening Dec. 9, is already generating a lot of talk because of its steamy chaps-in-chaps action.
Although moviegoers aren't often treated to man-on-man kisses in traditional Tinseltown fare, Brokeback isn't the only film out there featuring male snogging. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang features a full-on kiss between Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer. And in The Dying Gaul, a drama about a gay screenwriter and his relationship with a married couple, Peter Sarsgaard and Campbell Scott have an affair.
The Brokeback kiss prompted an essay in Radar Magazine's online edition that listed the Top 10 man-on-man onscreen kisses. Coming in at No. 1 is Daniel Day-Lewis' romp with Gordon Warneke in My Beautiful Laundrette. They are followed by Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna in Y Tu Mama Tambien, Jude Law and Stephen Fry in Wilde, Javier Bardem and Andrea Di Stefano in Before Night Falls, Ewan McGregor and Jonathan Rhys-Meyers in Velvet Goldmine, William Hurt and Raul Julia in Kiss of the Spider Woman, Keanu Reeves and River Phoenix in My Own Private Idaho, Rupert Graves and James Wilby in Maurice, Colin Farrell and Dallas Roberts in A Home at the End of the World and Kevin Kline and Tom Selleck in In & Out.
Writer Emma Garman also notes that recently on HBO's Entourage, a struggling actor crassly enough noted that if you play gay or retarded you get an Oscar.
Hey, maybe a kiss isn't just a kiss. Gyllenhaal is already being rumored as an Oscar contender for his turn in Brokeback.
Greg Morago writes for The Hartford Courant.