Stanley Tucci: Straight Actors Should Still Be Able to Play Gay Roles

Stanley Tucci

American actor and filmmaker Stanley Tucci weighed in on the issue of straight actors playing gay roles when he appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs.

Tucci said he believes that actors that “supposed to play different people.”

“Obviously, I believe that’s fine,” he said. Tucci, who is married to Felicity Blunt (Emily Blunt’s sister) since 2012, has played several gay roles in his career, including ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ (2006) and ‘Supernova’ (2020). He received critical acclaim for both performances.

“I am always flattered when gay men come up to me and talk to me about ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ or they talk about ‘Supernova,’ and they say that, ‘It was just so beautiful,’ you know, ‘You did it the right way.’ Because often, it’s not done the right way,” he explained.

For decades, Hollywood has put heterosexual actors to play many of the gay characters in movies. For example, Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal in ‘Brokeback Mountain,’ Cate Blanchett in ‘Carol’, and Benedict Cumberbatch in ‘The Power of the Dog’ and ‘The Imitation Game.’

However, Tucci believes that as long as it is “done the right way,” straight actors can and should still be able to play gay roles. If it is done to caricature or stereotype gays, then that is when it becomes wrong and problematic.

This is a contrast to what actor Tom Hanks said, who also played a gay man with HIV in the 1993 film ‘Philadelphia’ when he told the New York Times Magazine in 2022 that straight actors could not take on a gay role. He won an Oscar for best actor in that performance. “We’re beyond that now, and I don’t think people would accept the inauthenticity of a straight guy playing a gay guy,” he said.

Many actors of the LGBTQ+ community have long spoken out for Hollywood to cast actual gay actors to play roles, even when producers say that they can’t find the right actors for their projects. However, there is a growing movement to cast actual transgender actors for transgender roles.

 

Sources: (1) (2)

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