Zachary Quinto

AP Photo/Peter Kramer

Is Zachary Quinto's career over now that he's outed himself?
—Kella M., via the inbox

This ain't 1985, honey.

Certain openly gay actors may have vanished (T.R. Knight, we hardly knew ye) but it you're worried that Spock will be beamed into a Rupert Everett-like black hole of anonymity, here's what I can definitely tell you:

The man made famous as Sylar from Heroes is here to stay, and it's not just because we're living in 2011.

Much like Amber Heard, Ellen DeGeneres, Rosie O'Donnell and Neil Patrick Harris, all of whom are out and overbooked, Quinto has a particular brand, as do all actors, and his doesn't conflict with being openly gay.

"The roles he has always trended toward are either asexual or characters who aren't in touch with their emotions," says Bonnie Gillespie, a casting director and creator of the service Get A-Listed. "It's not like he's branded in the same way as a Matthew McConaughey or Chris Pine. If it's Chris Pine in a male lead, we're gonna want to see some heat."

In other words, Quinto has been typed as a serial-killing hyperlogical alien, not as a hunky sexual threat.

Sure, he's gorgeous, and yes, his Spock character is dating Zoe Saldana's Uhura in the latest Star Trek reboot. But Spock isn't also cheating on Uhura with every green-skinned Orion chick in Ten Forward. If Quinto had enjoyed a more Kirk-like brand before he came out, he may have had a bigger problem nailing future roles of the same stripe, I am told.

Neil Patrick Harris remains an exception to this branding rule. He plays a straight, womanizing cad on How I Met Your Mother, people buy it, and yet the world knows he's gay.

"He already had the love of so many many people, there was no one feeling like there was some big betrayal," Gillespie speculates. Also, it didn't hurt that Harris was on a TV comedy at the time of his coming out, as opposed to, say, an HBO drama about oversexed vampires.

(By the way, this branding problem affects every actor on the planet, gay or straight. If an actor is on TMZ every other day and getting into bar fights, chances are he'll have a harder time landing, say, that next role in a Disney picture.)

Yes, there are still moments when gay actors, particularly men, must jump through more hoops if they want a role. But it's not so often as you may think.

Rupert Everett, for example, has no one to blame for his decline but himself.

"He started saying he was being punished for coming out," Gillespie dishes. "It's not that, it's that he started taking swipes at producers for not casting him, using the gayness as the reason. I don't care what reasons you give; if you take swipes at producers, you aren't getting cast anymore."

In other words, as long as Quinto doesn't badmouth his bosses, or suddenly decide he wants to compete with Ryan Gosling, conventional Hollywood will allow him to keep on working.

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