I t is A young actor named Will Smith, already a famous rapper and sitcom star, is nervous about his first big film role, as a gay con artist in Six Degrees of Separation. How times change. Now a successful heterosexual actor can swear off gay roles for an entirely different and apparently noble reason. When he bagged an Emmy for the same part last year, he announced it would be his last gay role.
Should straight actors still play gay characters? 'It's complicated'
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The controversy threw fuel on an already simmering debate: Should non-LGBTQ actors still be cast in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer roles? But increasingly, LGBTQ actors are getting tapped to play these roles, and many of them feel only they have the authenticity and experience to bring these characters to life. Before actor Wilson Cruz starred as the openly gay Dr. Film studios, they said, tend to rely on smaller, less diverse teams of writers and have fewer LGBTQ people involved in the creative process. Additionally, TV aims to attract younger, niche audiences who expect to see diversity in their content. Major studio films, however, aim to attract wider audiences, and casting directors tend to already know whom they want to cast in roles: Mainly, actors who are already well known.
Playing it straight: should gay roles be reserved for gay actors?
Linda Holmes. Andrew H. Look, I'm not here to argue the motives of Ramin Satoodeh, who recently wrote the lightning-rod column that started with a critique of Sean Hayes in Promises, Promises and somehow arrived at the idea that it never really works when out gay actors try to play straight romantic leads. I don't know what's in the guy's head; I think that's a pretty complex soup to sort out. And it's kind of none of my business.
Subscriber Account active since. Most queer roles in cinema have gone to straight actors. All six performers were Oscar-nominated for their portrayals.