Ben Whishaw: ‘I’d like to see more gay actors playing straight roles’
Actor Ben Whishaw has said he wants to see more gay actors playing straight roles because it needs to be an “even playing field for everybody.”
Whishaw was speaking at the 76th Golden Globe Awards on Sunday night (January 6), where he picked up the award for best supporting actor in a limited series or TV movie for his part in BBC mini-series A Very English Scandal.
“I would like to see more gay actors playing straight roles. It needs to be an even playing field for everybody that would be my ideal.”
The 38-year-old was asked about whether he agreed with fellow actor Darren Criss on the topic of straight actors playing LGBT+ characters.
The star of The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, who won a Golden Globe as best actor in a limited series or TV movie for his performance as Andrew Cunanan, said he would no longer play gay roles because he is straight.
Gossip Girl actor Penn Badgley, who is currently starring in Netflix’s You, also recently waged in on the debate, telling PinkNews that gay actors should be cast in gay roles because “we have basically, like, privileged ass white people playing everybody, and so we need to stop that.”
Ben Whishaw wins best supporting actor for A Very English Scandal
Whishaw, who is married to composer Mark Bradshaw, disagreed with Criss while acknowledging inequality in casting choices.
“I don’t think that should happen because I really believe that actors can embody and portray anything and we shouldn’t be defined only by what we are,” Whishaw said, quoted in the Independent.
“I think there was a time when we didn’t know anything about actors, they were very mysterious. But now we know everything.”
Whishaw continued: “So no, I don’t think that. On the other hand, I think there needs to be greater equality.
“I would like to see more gay actors playing straight roles. It needs to be an even playing field for everybody that would be my ideal. I don’t know how far we’re away from that.”
Ben Wishaw dedicates award to “true queer hero and icon” Norman Scott
In his victory speech, Whishaw dedicated his award to the real-life Norman Scott, whom he plays in A Very English Scandal.
“There’s one person I really, really want to dedicate this award to and it’s the man I had the privilege to portray in this show, Norman Scott, who took on the establishment with courage and defiance that I find completely inspiring,” said Whishaw, quoted in Mail Online.
“He is a true queer hero and icon,” Whishaw added.
A Very English Scandal is about the alleged affair between the then Liberal leader Jeremy Thorpe and model Norman Scott in the 1960s and 70s.
LGBT+ themes shows and filmed dominated the Golden Globe awards on Sunday night.
Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody won accolades for best film drama, with lead actor Rami Malek, who played Freddie Mercury, scooping best drama actor.
Sandra Oh was awarded best actress in a TV drama for her part in BBC America’s Killing Eve, which follows MI5 officer Eve Polastri and psychopathic assassin Villanelle (Jodie Comer), two women who become obsessed with each other.
Lesbian period film The Favourite, set in 18th century England, also scored its first award of the year.