Former Superman Dean Cain has advice for closeted gay actors working in Hollywood: If anyone asks, don't tell — at least if you value your career. "I think [it's] difficult for an actor who is gay to openly say that they are gay, because I think that it will absolutely hurt their career," Cain tells TV Guide Online. "It will hurt their career horribly because they won't get offered the same roles.

"Anne Heche is a great example," continues the former star of ABC's Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, who next plays a gay stud in the romantic comedy The Broken Hearts Club (opening Friday). "I think people watched Six Days Seven Nights saying, 'Oh, she's gay. I don't see the chemistry [with co-star Harrison Ford]. She's gay.' Rupert Everett... he played the [gay] guy in My Best Friend's Wedding and Christopher Marlowe [in Shakespeare in Love] — who is sexually ambiguous anyway. Try to play a leading man where he has a romance, and I would imagine that would be hard. I think that's unfair, but I think that's the way it is right now."

However, Cain didn't hesitate to accept the role of love-'em-and-leave-'em Cole in Broken Hearts — despite the fact that some people have wondered about his own sexual orientation. "Honestly, I never thought there was any speculation as to my sexuality," admits Cain, who has a four-month-old son with model Samantha Torres. "Literally, I am not aware of that. But I knew there was a large gay audience that liked to watch Superman. And that was wonderful.

"I don't think there's any stigma attached to a straight actor playing a gay character," he continues. "Before, it could have been something that hurt a career, but that was a different time. I think people are becoming more educated and more intelligent as far as that goes."

Even Cain, a registered Republican — although he says, "I'm going to probably change how I am registered because I have trouble with both parties" — concedes that he was enlightened on gay issues during the filming of Broken Hearts. But when it came time for him to kiss former Party of Five hunk Andrew Keegan, things got a little weird.

"It's one thing to read it on paper and it's another thing to get in there and do it," says Cain, who moonlights as host of TBS's Ripley's Believe It or Not. "And that goes for guys, girls, anything. Love scenes are notoriously difficult to do anyway. But it was very important that Andrew's character and myself were kissing. So Andrew, who's also straight, [and I] go there and we tried to fake it a couple of times, but [writer/director Greg Berlanti] comes in and he's like, 'Cut!' He's like, 'OK guys, we can see you're faking it.' Then we finally decided 'F--- it. We'll just do it.' And it was no big deal. It was not a very uncomfortable thing."

And although the film focuses on a group of gay friends, Cain believes that its theme is universal. "It's about people trying to find their place in this world," he says, adding that, "This is my favorite film that I've ever done. I am most proud of this work and this particular film [because] it says something, it does something, it means something. If people see it and they are disappointed by it, I think they have other issues."