Paul Mescal has weighed in on the ongoing conversation regarding authentic LGBTQIA+ casting.
On 26 January, queer moviegoers in the UK will finally be treated to the highly anticipated fantasy drama All of Us Strangers.
Based on the novel Strangers by Japanese novelist Taichi Yamada, the Andrew Haigh-directed film follows screenwriter Adam (Andrew Scott), who navigates a new romance with his mysterious neighbour Harry (Mescal).
However, things take a surprising turn when Adam comes across his dead parents (Jamie Bell and Claire Foy), who “appear to be living just as they were on the day they died, 30 years before.”
Ahead of the UK release of All of Us Strangers, Mescal opened up to The Sunday Times about the film, being vulnerable and toxic masculinity.
In addition to the aforementioned topics, the Normal People star shared his unfiltered opinion on whether straight actors should take on gay roles.
“It depends who’s in charge of telling the story. The issue is that there have been so many queer performances in cinema that have been offensive, but that’s because the filmmakers and the actors have been careless,” he explained.
“I don’t think this film exists in that conversation whatsoever. And that’s it.”
Mescal’s comments come over a month after Scott echoed similar sentiments in an interview with Screendaily.
“As much as I feel like representation is important, so is transformation… I don’t love the idea of being cast for something purely for my own sexuality,” he explained.
“You’re not just playing gay, you’re playing the attributes of the character. I don’t want a totalitarian regime – we have to look at each individual story we’re telling and what’s right for that.”
Over the last few years, authentic casting has been a constant topic of conversation within the Hollywood sphere – with an array of actors and creatives sharing their varying opinions.
In 2021, Big Bang Theory star Jim Parsons told The Los Angeles Times, “I think the fight, as it were, is not about having only gay people play the gay parts but to ensure that all parts are open to all actors.”
The following year, This Is Going To Hurt star Ben Whishaw shared his two cents on the matter with The Guardian, stating that he’s only critical of straight actors playing gay roles if their performance isn’t believable.
“I’m critical if I don’t think the performance is, from my subjective experience, accurate,” he explained.
“I might think, ‘I don’t believe you!’ And even a small moment of hesitation or inauthenticity will block my engagement with the whole story. So I understand these questions.”
Lastly, It’s a Sin creator Russell T Davies, shared his evolving opinions on the topic in the 591st issue of the Doctor Who Magazine.
“I find myself at the heart of a web – of my own making, okay! – discussing the rights and wrongs of casting, especially when it comes to LGBTQ+ roles,” he said.
“My opinions change like they’re meant to. When I express a preference for casting gay actors in gay roles, some critic will hold up Queer as Folk from 1999 and say, but you cast straight men in that!
“Yes, I say, and I owe them everything; their bravery allowed me to move forwards, but more significantly, that was 24 years ago. Do you still think the same as 24 years ago?”