Stanley Tucci says straight actors should be able to play gay roles: ‘That’s the whole point of acting’

Stanley Tucci has waded into the debate surrounding straight actors playing gay roles.

In recent years, it’s been suggested by some, including Doctor Who showrruner Russell T Davies, that gay characters should be played by gay actors to make the performance more authentic.

Following this, Glee actor Darren Criss, who is straight, vowed to no longer take on queer roles.

Tucci, who played a gay man in The Devil Wears Prada and Harry Macqueen’s drama Supernova, said during an appearance on Desert Island Discs that he does not think that gay roles should be exclusively played by gay actors.

“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’,” he said, adding: “Because often it’s not done the right way.

“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.”

Some actors, including The Danish Girl star Eddie Redmayne, have denounced their past roles in the wake of the ongoing debate.

However, Ben Whishaw, who co-starred in the film about transgender artist Lili Elbe, said Redmayne “did a beaustiful job”, adding that he doesn’t believe a performer’s sexuality should limit what characters they play.

However, he acknowledged why some people might have an issue, stating: “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.”