Stanley Tucci defends straight actors' right to play gay roles: Do you agree?

The straight actor played gay characters in The Devis Wears Prada and Supernova and said 'I really do believe as an actor that you are supposed to play different people.'

Stanley Tucci attends the UK Premiere of
Stanley Tucci said he feels actors are suppose to play all different kinds of parts. (Getty Images) (Dave J Hogan via Getty Images)

Stanley Tucci has voiced his opinion in the ongoing debate as to whether only gay actors should be allowed to play gay characters.

The 62-year-old actor – who is married to second wife Felicity Blunt – has played gay roles including fashion magazine art director Nigel in 2006 film The Devil Wears Prada and starred opposite fellow straight actor Colin Firth as gay lovers in 2020 romance movie Supernova.

Tucci was asked on Radio 4's Desert Island Discs about criticism he received for being cast in Supernova.

Read more: Doctor Who writer Russell T Davies believes only gay actors should play gay characters

He said: “Obviously, I believe that’s fine, and I am always very flattered when gay men come up to me and talk about my role in The Devil Wears Prada or Supernova, and say I did it the right way.

“Because often it is not done the right way, and I really do believe as an actor that you are supposed to play different people. You just are.”

Paddington star Ben Whishaw, who is gay, recently admitted he sometimes disbelieves straight actors' performances in queer roles.

Stanley Tucci and Felicity Blunt attend the 2023 Royal Academy of Arts Summer Preview Party at Royal Academy of Arts on June 06, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Joe Maher/Getty Images)
Stanley Tucci is straight and married to Felicity Blunt. (Getty Images) (Joe Maher via Getty Images)

The This Is Going To Hurt star 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.”

But Whishaw added: "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!”

 Ben Whishaw during the 2023 BAFTA Television Awards with P&O Cruises at The Royal Festival Hall on May 14, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)
Ben Whishaw said he sometimes doubts straight actors in queer roles. (Getty Images) (Dave J Hogan via Getty Images)

Whishaw appeared alongside Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl, the 2015 film which starred the Fantastic Beasts actor as painter Lili Elbe, one of the first recipients of gender reassignment surgery.

Redmayne has since said of the role: "I wouldn’t take it on now. I made that film with the best intentions, but I think it was a mistake.”

But Whishaw said: “I think Eddie did a beautiful job. And it’s done. Going forward, there will be other films in which the role is given to someone who lived that experience. Why shouldn’t a role like that be given to someone who knows, inside, what the character is? I’m all for that."

Eddie Redmayne attends the Omega Aqua Terra Shades, International Launch Event at Embankment Galleries, Somerset House on March 22, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)
Eddie Redmayne said it had been a mistake to be a cisgender man playing a trans woman in The Danish Girl. (Getty Images) (Gareth Cattermole via Getty Images)

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'.

He said: “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.

“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.”

And Glee star Darren Criss said back in 2018 that he was becoming more cautious about playing gay roles.

Darren Criss attends the
Darren Criss admitted he thinks more about accepting gay roles. (Getty Images) (Dia Dipasupil via Getty Images)

The 36-year-old straight actor – who starred as gay schoolboy Blaine in Glee and murderer Andrew Cunanan in The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story 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.”

Read more: James Corden offends with 'gross' performance in Netflix's The Prom

In 2021 he added: “There are so many performances that are either straight roles given by queer actors or queer roles that are done by straight actors that are so beloved, that we just don’t talk about those.

“But if they’re done poorly, we get up in arms and we blame it on the fact that this person isn’t queer, this person isn’t straight, as opposed to maybe they just weren’t the right person for the job?”

Watch: Eddie Redmayne discusses going for dinner at Stanley Tucci's home