Billy Eichner has criticised Aaron Sorkin’s “ignorant” comments about queer actors taking on LGBTQ+ roles being “the mother of all empty gestures”.
During the promotion of his new film, Being the Ricardos, Sorkin opened up about the controversy surrounding his casting of Javier Bardem as Desi Arnaz.
Many have criticised the Spanish actor for stepping into the role due to Arnaz being Cuban.
In an interview with the Sunday Times Culture magazine, Sorkin defended the casting choice and said it was “heartbreaking” and “a little chilling” that the artistic community is “resegregating.”
“This should be the last place there are walls,” he said. “Spanish and Cuban are not actable. If I was directing you in a scene and said: ‘It’s cold, you can’t feel your face.’ That’s actable. But if I said: ‘Be Cuban.’ That is not actable.”
“Nouns aren’t actable. Gay and straight aren’t actable. You can act being attracted to someone, but can’t act gay or straight,” Sorkin said.
“So this notion that only gay actors should play gay characters? That only a Cuban actor should play Desi? Honestly, I think it’s the mother of all empty gestures and a bad idea.”
After seeing his comments on social media, Eichner took to Twitter to respond on 20 December.
“Completely ignorant of how Hollywood has treated its openly LGBTQ+ actors for a century,” he said. “Talking about shit he doesn’t fully comprehend. Scared that Hollywood isn’t (entirely) ruled by straight men anymore. Go write yourself a ‘walk and talk’ back into the past. Merry Christmas!”
Eichner’s upcoming movie, Bros, will focus on two gay men, played by Eichner and Luke Macfarlane, who, according to Universal, “maybe, possibly, probably stumbling towards love. Maybe. They’re both very busy.”
The film is set to be the first gay romantic comedy released by a major studio, with Eichner making history as the first openly gay man to co-write and appear in one.
All of the principal heterosexual roles will be played by openly LGBTQ+ actors and actresses in what is set to become an instant queer classic.
Writing on Twitter, the American Horror Story star confirmed the move, explaining that “all the straight roles” will go to LGBTQ+ performers.
In a follow-up tweet, the actor shared that Bros will also star the likes of TS Madison, Miss Lawrence, Guillermo Diaz, Guy Branum and Drag Race winner Symone.
Completely ignorant of how Hollywood has treated its openly LGBTQ+ actors for a century. Talking about shit he doesn’t fully comprehend. Scared that Hollywood isn’t (entirely) ruled by straight men anymore. Go write yourself a “walk and talk” back into the past. Merry Christmas! https://t.co/PMpO36ULMs
— billy eichner (@billyeichner) December 20, 2021