‘Halston’ Creator Says Ewan McGregor Was All in for Filming Gay Sex Scenes

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Ewan McGregor had never heard of legendary fashion designer Roy Halston before playing him in the Netflix limited series “Halston,” but that didn’t stop the actor from going all in for the role. Having been in development on the project for over 20 years, which was initially conceived as a feature film, series creator Dan Minahan handed over decades of research to McGregor, who drew on the photos and archival footage to deliver his charismatic, edgy, and occasionally R-rated performance. Under Ryan Murphy’s producer guidance at Netflix, alongside Killer Films’ Christine Vachon, “Halston” isn’t afraid to swing big in the opening episode, showing some very cheeky and primal gay sex within the first 10 minutes.

“Ewan and I talked about that. I said — ‘How do you feel about the sex scenes?’ And he said — ‘Well, that’s a part of this character,” Minahan said during during an event at the 2021 Provincetown Film festival earlier this month. “Ewan wanted to include a scene where Halston was arrested for indecent exposure because he was cruising in Central Park… [his attitude was that] it’s a part of human behavior, it’s a part of that character.”

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Vachon, who had worked with Minahan on Mary Harron’s 1996 film “I Shot Andy Warhol,” set in a similar milieu as “Halston,” knew McGregor was up to the challenge from working with him on Todd Haynes’ 1998 queer classic “Velvet Goldmine.”

“He had no idea who Halston was, which in a way I think was sort of fantastic,” said Vachon. “There was a fearlessness that he brought to ‘Velvet Goldmine,’ which was something I never forgot. …He had no idea who Halston was, but he was like, ‘I wanna play this guy.'”

From the beginning of the series, Halston is portrayed as a deeply ambitious figure with narcissistic and perfectionist tendencies. A complicated figure with a tumultuous career, McGregor must play Halston’s transformation from one hit wonder hat designer to international fashion icon — who then unceremoniously falls back down to earth.

“We needed somebody remarkable because it was this larger-than-life character, who could do the dialect, who was not afraid of being unsympathetic, who could do the sex scenes. And Ewan was that guy. He was so well-suited to it,” said Minahan. “We had actors of all different backgrounds… Ewan brought everyone’s game up and really supported everyone, and everything you what about him being a really generous nice guy is absolutely true.”

“Halston” is currently streaming on Netflix.

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