Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Lisa McLoughlin

Stanley Tucci defends straight actors’ right to play gay roles

Stanley Tucci has voiced his opinion in the ongoing debate surrounding straight actors playing gay roles.

The 62-year-old previously played gay roles including fashion magazine art director Nigel in The Devil Wears Prada and starred opposite fellow straight actor Colin Firth as gay lovers in the 2020 romance movie Supernova.

Now in a new interview on Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, The Hunger Games actor hit back at criticism he received for being cast in Supernova.

He shared: “Obviously, I believe that’s fine, and I am always very flattered when gay men come up to me and talk to me about The Devil Wears Prada or Supernova, and say, ‘You did it the right way’. Because often it’s not done the right way.

Tucci played fashion magazine art director Nigel in The Devil Wears Prada (20th Century Studios)

“But I really do believe that an actor is an actor is an actor – that you’re supposed to play different people. You just are. That’s the whole point of it.”

Recently, Ben Whishaw, who is gay, admitted he sometimes disbelieves straight actors’ performances in queer roles.

He told The Guardian: “I’m critical if I don’t think the performance is, from my subjective experience, accurate. 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.

“I just feel that we can end up arguing over these black-and-white things and get extremely polarised over these questions when I don’t think it needs to be that way. Have a discussion! There can be disagreement! There can be different points of view!”

Although, Whishaw, who starred in the Danish Girl about transgender artist Lili Elbe opposite straight actor Eddie Redmayne, said the Oscar winner “did a beautiful job”, adding that he doesn’t believe a performer’s sexuality should limit what characters they play.

He did also acknowledge why some people might have an issue.

Previously, Doctor Who showrunner Russell T Davies sparked discussion in 2021 when he said he had only cast gay actors in his award-winning drama It’s A Sin as he wanted them to play a part, not to “act gay”.

Prior to the recent discussion, former Glee star Darren Criss said that he was becoming more cautious about playing gay roles back in 2018.

The actor, who starred as gay schoolboy Blaine in Glee and murderer Andrew Cunanan in The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, said he would no longer take on queer roles.

He told Bustle: “There are certain [queer] roles that I’ll see that are just wonderful but I want to make sure I won’t be another straight boy taking a gay man’s role.”

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.