Rupert Everett Says 'We Shouldn't Be Making Rules' About Gay Actors Playing Gay Roles

The actor previously said he believed coming out harmed his Hollywood career.
Rupert Everett
Rupert Everett
Kurt Krieger - Corbis via Getty Images

Rupert Everett has said he does not think gay roles need to be played exclusively by gay actors.

Speaking on Piers Morgan Uncensored, the British actor argued that all roles should be open to all sexualities.

“I don’t think gay actors should just play the gay roles,” he said. “I think that the gay actors should be able to play the straight roles too. I think some straight guys played great gay roles.”

The 62-year-old star, who first found fame playing a gay public school pupil in 1984 drama Another Country, has spoken out about gay rights and previously said he believed coming out harmed his Hollywood career.

“I think the question is more ’Why can’t gay actors play straight roles?… We shouldn’t be making rules about this,” he continued. “Yes, of course, it’s great for gay actors who’ve had quite a hard time, you know historically, to be playing more roles to be getting the game.”

The My Best Friend’s Wedding actor praised performances by Michael Douglas and Matt Damon in Behind The Candelabra and applauded Tom Hanks in Philadelphia.

He added: “It’s quite frustrating. I was frustrated, I remember going to see Colin Firth in the film by Tom Ford. I thought, ’Well, thanks, Colin, that’s the end of my career’. Because you know, that role really should have been mine. So you know, there’s a frustration about that, of course.”

It’s A Sin creator Russell T Davies has previously said he believes gay roles should be played by gay actors.

The writer and showrunner, who also worked on Queer As Folk, Doctor Who and A Very English Scandal, said “it’s about authenticity” when discussing the ongoing debate.

Russell T Davies
Russell T Davies
Tristan Fewings via Getty Images

“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,” Russell told Radio Times.

“It’s about authenticity, the taste of 2020. 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.”

Last year, US actor Neil Patrick Harris, who starred in It’s A Sin and came out publicly in 2006, was asked if he agreed with Russell’s comments about only wanting to cast gay actors in gay roles.

Neil Patrick Harris
Neil Patrick Harris
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“I’m not one to jump on to labelling,” he told The Times. “As an actor you certainly hope you can be a visible option for all kinds of different roles.

“I played a character [in How I Met Your Mother] for nine years who was nothing like me,” he continued, noting that he believes it’s important “to hire the best actor” for the part.

Speaking of his own desire to play both gay and straight roles in the future, he added, “In our world that we live in, you can’t really as a director demand that [an actor be gay or straight]. Who’s to determine how gay someone is?”

Piers Morgan Uncensored airs on TalkTV, 8pm Monday - Friday


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