December 09, 2020
The star’s spectacularly misjudged performance as a gay Broadway Actor in Ryan Murphy’s equally tone-deaf Netflix musical is a new low for Hollywood
James Corden proves why straight actors should think twice before playing gay | Benjamin Lee
Whenever the debate over whether straight actors should be allowed to play gay characters has reared its head (and with time, that’s gone from every year to every week), I’ve found myself largely dismissive. As a gay viewer, I crave authenticity within queer stories, preferring them to be at least co-written by queer creators and am forever wanting the spectrum of shared experiences to be more diverse and, crucially, more specific, but when it comes to those inhabiting queer characters, I’m less fussed. I’ve never believed that sexuality should restrict role choice, acting is acting and all that, and history has shown that this more fluid mode of thinking and casting has paid off time and time again.
With more rigidity, we’d never have seen Tom Cullen fall deep in lust and then love in Andrew Haigh’s intimate romance Weekend or Trevante Rhodes’ heart-swelling last act interplay with Andre Holland in Barry Jenkins’ Oscar-winner Moonlight or, more recently, Aubrey Plaza’s sizzling, Twitter-crashing chemistry with queer co-star Kristen Stewart in Christmas romcom Happiest Season. On the flipside, if we’re to be strict with this lane-sticking, then we’d have been denied the chance to see Jonathan Groff compellingly lead two seasons of Mindhunter or Neil Patrick Harris turn into Rosamund Pike’s believably creepy stalker in Gone Girl. But last week, in the space of 131 torturous minutes, something started to shift, my head flooded with Noomi Rapace in Prometheus frantically screaming “We were so wrong” on an endless loop.
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