Colin Firth has said he was “undecided” at first on whether he should play a gay role in Supernova.
Colin Firth stars opposite Stanley Tucci in the critically-acclaimed film, which follows a gay couple as they journey around England in a camper van visiting friends, family and places from their past after Tusker (Tucci) is diagnosed with early-onset dementia.
Both actors have won praise for their performances, generating awards buzz in the process, but some in the LGBT+ community have criticised the decision to cast two straight actors to play gay characters.
The actors were asked about the ongoing debate around whether straight actors should take on gay roles during an interview with Yahoo! Entertainment.
Firth, who previously played a gay character in A Single Man, said they had “a very serious” discussion about whether it was acceptable for him to take on a gay role in Supernova.
Colin Firth ‘ended up’ signing on to Supernova despite reservations.
“Stanley will tell you, this was a discussion,” Firth said. “It was a very serious one, actually, and I was undecided for a bit. I don’t think I found an exact answer. Obviously, I just ended up doing it.”
He added: “In the end… it’s what I always feel, that taking on a role feels like an insufferable presumption. You know nothing about this person’s lived experience… and yet, you are presuming to take a step into it, and not only that, you’re trying to convince everybody that this is deeply felt.
“That always feels outrageous to me, but it’s also the job. And so I feel that we are then challenged, you had really, really better explore this with as much sensitivity, as much integrity, as much sense of exploration and honesty, and make it as personal as you possibly can, and then you’re just going to hope that it resonates in a way that’s somewhat truthful.”
It’s always a question because all you want to do is do it right. You want to be truthful to the film, you want be truthful to the character and to the community.
In the same interview, Tucci spoke about the debate around straight actors taking on gay roles, saying: “It’s always a question because all you want to do is do it right. You want to be truthful to the film, you want be truthful to the character and to the community.
“Having played gay characters before, I felt that I was in a good place to do it and when I read the character what I liked about it is that this relationship, it didn’t matter if it was a gay relationship or a straight relationship or whatever. It was simply about love and loss.”