Beauty and The Beast star Luke Evans has weighed in on the controversial gay casting debate.
Over the last few years, Hollywood has been embroiled in a debate regarding LGBTQ+ roles being portrayed by openly queer actors.
One of the biggest supporters of authentic casting has been It’s A Sin creator Russell T Davies who told Radio Times, “authenticity leads to joyous places.”
“I’m not being woke about this… but I feel strongly that if I cast someone in a story, I am casting them to act as a lover, or an enemy, or someone on drugs or a criminal or a saint… they are not there to ‘act gay’ because ‘acting gay’ is a bunch of codes for a performance. It’s about authenticity, the taste of 2020,” he said in a 2021 interview.
“You wouldn’t cast someone able-bodied and put them in a wheelchair, you wouldn’t black someone up. Authenticity is leading us to joyous places.”
While Davies has remained firm on his stance, other industry professionals like Evans have expressed a different opinion.
In a recent interview with The Telegraph, the Fast and the Furious actor had conflicting thoughts about only casting queer actors into LGBTQ+ roles.
“I’m not sure about that. Gay people have definitely missed out on gay roles, for sure. Russell spoke very powerfully, passionately, about this point. I get it, and I totally think that things do need to change,” he said.
“But from my perspective, firstly, I wouldn’t have had a career if gay people played gay roles and straight people played straight roles. I’d have played two roles out of the 36 projects I’ve worked on, or whatever [the number] is.
“Talent and ability, and a bit of luck and timing… That should be the reason why you get a job. It shouldn’t have anything to do with anything else.”
Evan joins an array of actors, producers and directors who have shared their opinions regarding the ongoing topic.
Last year, director Aaron Sorkin told the Sunday Times Culture magazine that casting gay actors in queer roles was an “empty gesture.”
“Nouns aren’t actable. Gay and straight aren’t actable. You can act being attracted to someone, but can’t act gay or straight,” he 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.”
A few months before Sorkin’s interview, James Bond star Ben Whishaw said that some straight actors who play LGBTQ+ roles aren’t as believable.
“I feel the same, sometimes, about straight actors playing gay parts. I’m critical if I don’t think the performance is, from my subjective experience, accurate,” he continued.
“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.”