Tom Hanks has sparked skepticism and debate over his comments on why he wouldn’t be able to play his Oscar-winning role in ‘Philadelphia’, a gay man dying of AIDS, if the film was made until today.
In an interview with The New York Times magazine to promote Elvis Presley’s new biopic, Hanks called both ‘Philadelphia’ and ‘Forrest Gump’, for which he won two Oscars in 1993 and 1994, timely, on-time movies that you might not be able to do right now.
“Let’s say, ‘Could a straight man do what I did in ‘Philadelphia’ now?’ Hanks said. “No, and rightly so. The whole point of “Philadelphia” was not to be afraid. One of the reasons people weren’t scared of this movie was that I was playing a gay man. We’re beyond that now, and I don’t think people would accept the inauthenticity of a straight playing a gay.
Hanks continued, “It’s not a crime, it’s not boohoo, for someone to say we’re going to demand more from a movie in the modern realm of authenticity. Do I look like I’m preaching? I do not want.
While people praised Hanks for expressing concerns about authenticity and representation in film and television roles, his statement was set aside for several reasons. People have correctly pointed out that straight actors have played gay people in recent major movies.
Benedict Cumberbatch was up for the Best Actor Oscar earlier this year, playing a repressed gay rancher in ‘The Power of the Dog.’ Bradley Cooper is currently filming a Leonard Bernstein biopic, which has already garnered Oscar buzz, and Ewan McGregor recently won an Emmy for playing Halston, the Guardian added.
Additionally, one of the most popular gay love stories of recent years was “Call Me By Your Name”, which starred Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer. Chalamet also received an Oscar nomination for playing a 17-year-old boy living his first love, while Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan also won acclaim for their roles in period romance ‘Ammonite’.
Other online commenters have said that limiting actors to roles that match their sexual orientation, for the sake of authenticity or representation, would mean gay actors couldn’t play straight characters.
“I respect Tom Hanks and want to be portrayed in a movie, but I also love watching actors play characters outside of their own reality,” one person said. wrote in response to a tweet from Variety about Hanks’ comments. “Neil Patrick Harris is excellent at playing a straight brother. I wish the fix had been to have more gay actors playing straight characters.
Another person added: “Why?? Do we have to tell Kristen Stewart, Sarah Paulson, Zach Quinto, Matt Bomer, NPH (Neil Patrick Harris), Jodie Foster that they can’t play the role of a straight character?? It’s narrow witty and socially not creatively motivated.
However, another person said, “It’s called ‘acting’ for a reason. God, I hate it (expletive). Destroy everything.
Yet another person who has weighed in on this issue is British screenwriter and producer Russell T. Davies, who created the show “Queer as Folk” and the 2021 HBO series, “It’s a Sin,” which followed a group gay friends. in London struggling with the AIDS epidemic in the early 1980s. For “It’s a Sin”, Davies said in a 2021 interview that he only cast gay actors as gay male characters, explaining that “authenticity leads us to joyful places”.
“I’m not woke about it, but I’m convinced that if I throw someone into a story, I throw them to act like a lover, or an enemy, or someone on drugs or a criminal or a saint… they’re not here to ‘act gay’ because ‘act gay’ is a bunch of performance codes,” Davies said, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s about authenticity, the taste of 2020.”
“You wouldn’t throw an able bodied person and put them in a wheelchair, you wouldn’t black someone out,” Davies added. “Authenticity leads us to joyful places.”
Amid ongoing discussions about who should play LGBTQ characters in movies and TV, it seems a consensus has developed in recent years that cisgender actors shouldn’t play transgender characters.
Everyone but die-hard Jared Leto fans are decrying the fact that he was cast as a trans woman in the 2013 movie, “Dallas Buyers Club,” and won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. Last year Eddie Redmayne also expressed regret over taking on the role of a trans woman in Tom Hooper’s 2015 film ‘A Danish Girl’, describing his participation as ‘a mistake’.
“No, I wouldn’t now,” Redmayne told The Sunday Times. “I made this movie with the best of intentions, but I think it was a mistake. … The biggest discussion of frustrations around casting is that a lot of people don’t have a chair at the table. that there is a leveling, otherwise we will continue to have these debates.