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Only gay actors should play gay characters, says former Doctor Who screenwriter Russell T. Davies


Only gay actors should play gay characters in film and television, stressed screenwriter Russell T Davies (pictured)

Only gay actors should play gay characters in film and television, critically acclaimed screenwriter Russell T Davies insisted.

Davies said that all of the gay characters in his upcoming Channel 4 drama It's A Sin will be played by gay actors because that's the only way to ensure authentic performance.

The series follows the tragic stories of three gay 18-year-olds who came to London in 1981 at the start of the HIV epidemic. Stars include Olly Alexander, Neil Patrick Harris, and Stephen Fry.

Davies – who was behind the 2005 revival of Doctor Who – said directors have to cast gay men in order to play gay male roles because these days you "wouldn't blacken anyone."

He insisted that he "not be woken up about it" and said the idea of ​​"acting gayly" was just a "bundle of codes for a performance" and not authentic.

Queer as Folk – about the life of three men in Manchester – was Davies' first gay television drama – and he was just acting in the role.

Actor Alan Davies starred as the gay teacher on Davies' 2001 hit show Bob & Rose, while his 2018 miniseries A Very English Scandal starred Hugh Grant, who is straight and plays liberal politician Jeremy Thorpe.

Davies' 2015 series Cucumber – and its companion show Banana – also saw direct actors Freddie Fox and Vincent Franklin in gay roles.

Actors playing gay roles in particular have been beaten up by critics for years – several have been accused of using harmful stereotypes.

The actor in the line of fire was most recently James Corden in his role as gay Broadway star Barry Glickman on Netflix 'The Prom.

Davies' 2018 miniseries A very English scandal featured Hugh Grant, who is straight and plays the liberal politician Jeremy Thorpe

Davies' 2018 miniseries In A Very English Scandal starred Hugh Grant, who is straight and plays liberal politician Jeremy Thorpe

Queer as Folk - about the life of three men in Manchester - was Davies' first gay television drama - and he was currently playing actor in the roles. From left: Charlie Hannun, Aidan Gillen and Craig Kelly on the hit show

Queer as Folk – about the life of three men in Manchester – was Davies' first gay television drama – and he was currently playing actor in the roles. From left: Charlie Hannun, Aidan Gillen and Craig Kelly on the hit show

Actor Alan Davies played as a gay teacher on the show Bob & Rose in 2001

Actor Alan Davies played as a gay teacher on the show Bob & Rose in 2001

Davies' 2015 series Cucumber - and its companion show Banana - also starred actors Freddie Fox (left) and Vincent Franklin (right) in gay roles

Davies' 2015 series Cucumber – and its companion show Banana – also starred actors Freddie Fox (left) and Vincent Franklin (right) in gay roles

Actors playing gay roles in particular have been beaten up by critics for years - several have been accused of using harmful stereotypes. The actor in the line of fire was most recently James Corden in his role as Broadway gay star Barry Glickman on Netflix 'The Prom (pictured alongside co-star Meryl Streep).

Actors playing gay roles in particular have been beaten up by critics for years – several have been accused of using harmful stereotypes. The actor in the line of fire was most recently James Corden in his role as Broadway gay star Barry Glickman on Netflix 'The Prom (pictured alongside co-star Meryl Streep).

Davies told Radio Times, “I am not being woken up, but I have a firm belief that I am casting a saint as a lover, enemy or drug addict, criminal or criminal, who is playing a story.

"You are not there to 'act gay' because 'act gay' is a set of codes for a performance."

He added, "You would not cast someone with a good body and put them in a wheelchair, you would not blacken anyone."

Davies said his most recent project, It's A Sin, which began filming in October 2019, was loosely influenced by his own life.

The writer, who is gay, was only 18 when the HIV crisis began in 1981, but he never got the disease.

Davies - who revived Doctor Who in 2005 - said directors have to cast gay men in order to play gay male roles because these days "you wouldn't blacken anyone." Other films criticized for gay actors include Tom Hanks in Philadelphia (pictured)

Davies – who revived Doctor Who in 2005 – said directors have to cast gay men in order to play gay male roles because these days "you wouldn't blacken anyone." Other films criticized for gay actors include Tom Hanks in Philadelphia (pictured)

Straight actor Sean Penn won an Oscar in 2009 for his role as gay rights activist Harvey Milk in Milk

Cate Blanchett was nominated for playing a Lesbian in Carol in 2016 (pictured)

Straight actor Sean Penn won an Oscar in 2009 for his role as gay rights activist Harvey Milk in Milk (left). Cate Blanchett was nominated for Playing a Lesbian in Carol in 2016

Gay actors have gained widespread recognition for their portrayal of straight characters – particularly Andrew Scott for his role as "Hot Priest" on Phoebe Waller Bridge's hit show "Fleabag".

Welsh actor Luke Evan, who recently broke up with his boyfriend, was named Best Villain at the 2017 Teen Choice Awards for his portrayal of Lothario Gaston in the live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast.

Other films criticized for gay actors include Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger in Brokeback Mountain, Cate Blanchett in Carol, Sean Penn in Milk, and Tom Hanks in Philadelphia.

Call Me By Your Name – which won an Oscar in 2018 – featured Armie Hammer as a gay character.

Timothée Chalamet plays his young love interest.

The film's director, Luca Guadagnino, was defending the casting at the time, telling The Independent, "I honestly don't think I have the right to decide whether an actor is straight or not."

“Yes, Armie is a straight man with a wife and children, and so is Timothée.

“But do I ask you to swear by your sexuality, your identity, your desires, before I occupy you? I don't. & # 39;

Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger played gay characters in Brokeback Mountain (pictured)

Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger played gay characters in Brokeback Mountain (pictured)

James Cordens co-star Andrew Rannells, who is gay, defended the actor's portrayal of a gay character in Prom, saying film casting is about "finding the best person for the job."

Speaking to Attitude magazine, Rannells said he found "representation" important in movies and on television, but added that the film's director Ryan Murphy is primarily "looking for talent".

He said, “You know, I go back and forth a bit. Of course representation is very important, but I think Ryan does that well is, frankly, the best person for the job. & # 39;

  • It's A Sin will be played on Channel 4 on January 22nd

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