Suranne Jones shares her verdict on straight actors playing gay characters

Suranne Jones shares her verdict on straight actors playing gay characters

Suranne Jones has commented on the ongoing debate around straight actors playing queer characters.

In 2021, Doctor Who showrunner Russell T Davies declared that gay roles should be left to gay actors in a move towards greater authenticity.

Jones recently played two gay characters in the BBC series Gentleman Jack (2019-2022) and Vigil (2021).

Asked about the debate in a new interview with The Times, Jones said: “I don’t agree with that, having done Vigil and Gentleman Jack.

She added that she responded intuitively to job offers, and knew right away whether she had something to bring to a role.

“I don’t look at it in any other way. Maybe I’ve not had the right training. I don’t know. I’m totally instinctive like that,” she said.

Suranne Jones (Getty Images for Sky UK Ltd)
Suranne Jones (Getty Images for Sky UK Ltd)

In 2021, Davies told The Independent: “I’m trying to avenge hundreds of years of inequality.

“[It’s A Sin] has also unashamedly cast gay people in straight roles. I think that’s fine because, believe you me, from the age of eight we are studying straight people and how to fit in with them.”

Jones previously defended her role in Gentleman Jack, which chronicles the real-life love story of Anne Lister (Jones) and Ann Walker (Sophie Rundle), 180 years before same-sex marriages were legalised in the UK.

“Actors are just the face of a project. On this job, there were a lot of gay, lesbian and straight people giving their input, and I think people forget that when they point the finger at actors and say that only straight actors should play straight parts,” Jones said about the series.

“No one ever points the finger at directors and writers, which I find odd. I think that’s because we’re the face.

“If people thought about it a little more intelligently, the question wouldn’t come up so much.”

Jones next stars in Maryland on ITV1 and ITVX, out later this month.