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Straight actors playing gay roles

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by PatrickUK, Jan 13, 2021.

  1. PatrickUK

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    Russell T Davies has sparked a debate over the casting of straight actors as gay characters. In his opinion, gay roles should only be offered to gay actors. What do you think?

    Although I see the point he is making, I'm not sure I agree with him. I think all roles should be offered to the strongest actor; one who will bring the character to life. Gay actors shouldn't be excluded from playing straight roles either.

    https://news.sky.com/story/russell-t-davies-straight-actors-should-not-play-gay-characters-12185652
     
  2. BradThePug

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    I think that as long as the person is playing the role respectfully, there is not a problem. I do think that they should include people of all identities during the casting process. But, at the end of the day it comes down to who fits the role best.
     
  3. BlueMonday

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    I'm more interested in having gay writers write gay stories/films/etcetera. Straight writers depend too much on stereotypes, and end up presenting a hilariously inaccurate portrayal of the gay community.
     
    #3 BlueMonday, Jan 13, 2021
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2021
  4. HM03

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    Fully agree.
     
  5. BiGemini87

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    I agree with you. In fact, I can think of a number of gay actors who have played straight roles, so I honestly don't see the problem with the reverse. I understand that people are under the (mis)impression that LGBTQ+ are less likely to get work, but I would argue that work is often given to either the best suited or the more readily available. Yes, sometimes people are denied roles who would otherwise do a wonderful job, and if the reason is due to orientation or ethnic background, then of course that's a problem.

    More often than not though, I think it's just a matter of being afraid to take a risk on an unknown. Which in and of itself isn't always fair either, but that's another matter all its own.
     
  6. BothWaysSecret

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    I disagree with that sentiment. Roles should be played by whoever will play the character best, regardless of sexual orientation. Because otherwise it's very limiting as to who would be good in the role if they soley base it on sexual orientation.

    Look at How I Met Your Mother. Neil Patrick Harris was fantastic in the role of (straight) Barney Stinson. Should we argue that that role should have gone to a straight man? No! He was the best choice for that role acoording to the creators (and myself, as a fan of the show). His orientation has no effect whatsover on how he played the character.

    Just because a character is LGBT does not mean the actor/actress has to be. Actors play a role, and take on a persona on screen/stage. That's their job. The whole point of their occupation is to portray a person, and various different people with different experiences during their career, to flawlessly display emotions and situations they themselves might never have experienced. It's their talent that we look at, not their real life that determines if they're right for the role. To limit a role to someone who has those same life experiences as a character is very limiting as it doesnt allow another actor to flourish in a role that might be one of their best.

    Not to mention its also discriminatory in a way as its basically saying "you cant play this role because you are/are not (gay/straight/bi/white/black/Asian/Latino/fat/skinny/Christian/Jewish/Buddhist, etc., you get the idea)". You're putting people into boxes and cutting them off from something just because they dont fit into the "box" of the character, when the whole point of an actor's job is to entertain, and getting the role because of talent and not their personal life.
     
  7. quebec

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    Hello All.....I've been on stage since I was 8 years old. I've played many different characters...although I've never played a gay character - and I'm gay :old_smile:. The nature of acting is that you are portraying someone who is often very different than you are. A good actor brings the character to "life" no matter how different the character is from the actor's natural persona. I see no problem with straight actors playing gay roles and the other way around also. Whoever can play the role the best is the best choice for the role. It has nothing to do with being gay for a gay role or the opposite.
    .....David :gay_pride_flag:
     
  8. Aspen

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    I'm torn on this. On one hand, I think it stems from an era when it was impossible for out gay actors to find work and I still wouldn't be surprised if it's more difficult. Personally, I will never stop being angry that Marvel's first canonically gay character on the big screen was played by one of the Russo brothers--a straight man who clearly has no idea the gravity of what he's just done. On the other hand, confining gay roles to gay actors means confining them to out gay actors and could force people to out themselves before they're ready.

    At the end of the day, I love the idea of roles going to the person who is best for the job but that is not how the film and TV industry works. Scarlett was not the best choice for Ghost in the Shell. She was not the best choice for the biographical movie about a trans person. She was chosen because her name itself is a draw for audiences.
     
  9. BiGemini87

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    100% this! You've expressed it so much more concisely than I did. Too bad people stuck in their social media echo chambers can't be made to understand such a simple concept. :expressionless:
     
  10. alwaysforever

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    I think that we will struggle to have fair representation if L.G.B.T. actors (and directors, screenwriters, etc.) aren't able to tell their own stories. A straight actor playing a gay role may not know when the role they are taking plays into harmful stereotypes, or it is glaringly inaccurate. They can't advocate for our community as effectively as if an L.G.B.T. actor is playing that same role. That kind of representation matters if we want real, substantial change.
     
  11. solarcat

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    I don't really see why straight people can't play gay people. or vice versa. Trans people, I can understand; a lot of the time they're not even considered when casting a trans role. So until trans people are allowed to play trans and cis roles with the same fair considerationa s cis actors, let trans people play trans people.
    I don't really know what sort of discrimination gay actors get, though.

    But in the end, I think it's more important for roles to be written by themselves. AS in, gay characters need to be written by gay people, autistic characters written by autistic people, etc.
     
  12. Vega222

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    Is it even possible? How they'd identify people as gay or non-gay? What is the definition of being gay? Self-proclaim? It doesn't make people to lie? What if an actor is not sure about himself? What if someone don't like to come out to the staff? What if it's like a young character? A 14-year-old character who is also gay should be played by a gay actor? If not, Why?

    Not only it's a very wrong idea, I imagine it wouldn't work anyway.

    It's not like black or Asian or white roles. It's not even like being a real musician playing a musician role. And they rarely use real musician in their movies (main characters). Basically, Every character has many aspects and gays are no exception. A gay character is a human with many other characteristics that represent him/her and not only being gay! It's like an insult what he says.
     
    #12 Vega222, Jan 14, 2021
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2021
  13. Tightrope

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    Most gay and lesbian roles have gone to straight actors. They've done a great job with them. It's ridiculous to impose these limits.

    Scott Bakula in "American Beauty," Dermot Mulroney in "Longtime Companion," and Emma Stone in "Battle of the Sexes." That's just the tip of the iceberg.

    The only thing worth thinking about is why some straight actors turn down these roles when offered to them. The first person they offer the part to usually turns it down. They wind up going down a list until an actor who thinks it's a good opportunity takes the part.
     
  14. LetsGoNow

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    I don't think it is important. If someone wants to play gay, go ahead.
     
  15. Popper12

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    If the actor is a good actor and can accurately portray the character then they can play whoever, they are called actors for a reason.
     
  16. Loves books

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    I don’t think gay roles should only be offered to gay actors because it’s just ridiculous to cast roles based on sexual orientation. If you want to go down that road you might as well say that straight roles should only be offered to straight actors which would significantly affect gay actors if the job market shrunk because they are gay. Personally I don’t care if the actors are gay or straight as long as they are good.
     
  17. Canterpiece

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    As a stand alone role for a TV show or film? I'm OK with that.

    However, I have a problem with it when it becomes a persona that someone puts on as a joke such as acting stereotypically gay and pretending to have a forced bromance whilst being a talent show judge. I know it's mainly because of the directors of the show, but I find it really awkward to watch because I know they're trying to frame it as playful and funny when it's just....plastic, you know?

    If someone only plays gay roles, I find that a bit strange. Why does James Corden always get typecasted as the gay self-absorbed flamboyant man? There's nothing wrong with being flamboyant, but whenever I see him playing a character it's always bland and flat. I know that's on the writing but I don't know, it just doesn't seem right to me.
     
  18. GlindaRose

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    My opinion on the view being presented in the debate is that, if we are to continue going down that train of thought, eventually we will arrive at "You can only play characters that you represent in real life." Meaning you can basically only play yourself or characters with attributes that relate to yourself. And what is the point of acting if not to explore outside of who you are, or to empathise with something you are less familiar with? Acting's purpose is to experience something outside of your everyday life, and this viewpoint defeats that purpose.
     
  19. BothWaysSecret

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    Agree with this 100%
     
  20. gravechild

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    If we go down that route... should only trans actors/actresses play trans roles? Members of a certain race/ethnicity/nationality roles that match their heritage? People with disabilities play characters who have them on screen?

    As long as gay people aren't being turned down due to their sexuality, or specifically sought out for certain roles, I don't see it as that much of an issue, honestly.