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Cate Blanchett in the movie "Carol", Sean Penn in the movie "Milk", Eddie Redmayne in the movie "The Danish Girl"

Over the past few years, there has been a lot of criticism about straight actors and actresses being cast in gay roles; claiming that those roles should go to gay actors and actresses. 

Although this may surprise you, being that I'm gay and that I also used to be an actor, I disagree. 

And for one very simple reason -- that's why they call it "acting."

Acting is all about not being yourself and being believable. If gay actors/actresses only played gay characters, and straight actors/actresses only played straight characters, then we would only be acting what we know. As an actor, I always took roles that challenged me to be something other than myself. If it scared me, I did it.

Quite frankly, I could care less if a straight actor is cast as a gay character. And my reason being is that with the exception of one role, I played all straight characters throughout my career. And never once did anyone say to me, "Your role should have gone to a straight actor."

Whether someone is straight or gay, the casting of a role should go to the best actor or actress. 

Now, having said that, I do believe if an actor or actress is gay, they most certainly have the right to be gay and open about it if that's what they choose to do. But that is a completely different issue than gay actors and actresses being cast in gay roles. 

I personally, have never been someone who felt the need to announce to people in my personal life or professional life that I'm gay because it's not a big deal to me. Besides, most people sense that I'm gay and they don't care. And that's because I don't care. Being gay is not the totality of who I am.  

If anything, I get more of a negative attitude from other gay people than straight people, because I'm not out there marching the streets demanding that I be accepted for my sexual orientation; chanting, "I'm proud to be gay!"

And my feeling on that is this, if I accept myself, and mean truly accept myself, it doesn't matter to me what anyone else thinks. If I had to wait for the world to accept and embrace me because I'm gay, I'd still be waiting. 

You'd be surprised how learning to accept yourself changes how others look at you because of the "vibe" you give off. I've always been casual about my homosexuality; therefore, those around me feel it that way. Casual. 

So no, I don't believe that gay roles should go to gay actors/actresses, nor should straight roles go to straight actors/actress.

May the best actor/actress win. 

But since this post topic is about straight actors and actresses being cast in gay roles, I would like to highlight several of them in some of my favorite films. 

Philadelphia (1993) Tom Hanks as lawyer Andrew Beckett (Hanks gives a powerful performance of a man dying of AIDS)


The Kids Are Alright (2010) Annette Bening and Julianne Moore (two children conceived by artificial insemination bring their biological father into their non-traditional family life).
 

Carol (2015) Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara (In the 1950's, an immediate connection sparks between two women, the innocence of their first encounter dims and their connection deepens).


Ideal Home (2018) Paul Rudd and Steve Coogan (this movie is both touching and beyond HILARIOUS)


Will and Grace (1998) Eric McCormack as Will (my all-time favorite sitcom)


Ammonite (2020) Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan (Based on a true story in 1840's England, two women discover the true nature of their relationship). 


I haven't seen this last film yet, but plan to soon. The trailer will move you to tears. Brilliant performances by two of my favorite actors. 

Supernova (2021) Stanley Tucci and Colin Firth (partners of 20 years, they travel across England in their old RV visiting friends, family and places from their past. Since one of the men was diagnosed with early-onset dementia two years ago, their time together is the most important thing they have).


Have a grrrrreat rest of your week, everyone! 
💗


27 comments:

  1. I did know some of this about you, Ron, and it’s something I admire about you, that you don’t feel the need to wave a flag to let us know who you are. I can see where a gay person would not want to stand out and be treated differently. And who wants to be typecast? I think back to all the actors we never knew were gay and how splendidly they played their roles as straight men. Who cares that they were gay??

    I know that there’s also a lot of complaints in the disability community when a disabled person is not cast in a part of someone who’s disabled. I often wonder if there was a disabled person even available and/or experienced enough for them to cast?

    Those look like some good movie choices for your movie watching readers! But you know I did love Will & Grace! Have a good week, Ron!

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  2. Ron, I forwarded this post to a friend of mine who I know will enjoy the read because he feels as you do on this topic. It doesn't concern him whether someone should be gay in real life who is portraying a gay character. And I feel the same way. Take Cynthia Nixon or Sarah Paulson, they are both very openly gay women and have played primarily straight roles. Both, AMAZING actresses! Like you said, that's why they call it "acting."

    Isn't "Carol" wonderful? Which by the way, has Sara Paulson in it as well. The film was so beautifully shot. I love Paul Rudd, so I have to watch "Ideal Home." You're right, I cried just watching the trailer to "Supernova." Must watch! Did you ever see Tucci in "Big Night?" I can watch that film over and over. "Will and Grace?" The best!

    Well-composed post, Ron!

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  3. I forgot to ask you on my first comment if you ever did any film when you were acting? Just curious.

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  4. Hey there Candice!

    "Take Cynthia Nixon or Sarah Paulson, they are both very openly gay women and have played primarily straight roles. Both, AMAZING actresses! "

    Yes, exactly! And I agree....AMAZING actresses!

    I loved the movie, Carol. And the way it was shot was like a work of art. It actually looked as though it was shot in the 1950's because of the cinematography and the film they used. You will LOVE, Ideal Home!!! I 've seen it three times and laugh my ass off everytime. But it's also very touching and sweet. The relationship between the two characters is priceless! I will most likely watch Supernova this weekend. Can't wait.

    Thanks so much for stopping by. Happy Hump Day! X

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  5. I did a few industrial films (training films for various companies), and one pilot for a children's TV show that never aired. I prefer theater. I love watching films in their completion, however, I don't the like the "process" of making films as an actor. It's too disjointed. Theater has more of more natural flowing process, so it feels more creative to me. Film is more of a director's medium, whereas theater is more of an actor's medium. And television is more of a writer's medium.

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  6. Thank you, my friend :)

    "And who wants to be typecast? I think back to all the actors we never knew were gay and how splendidly they played their roles as straight men. Who cares that they were gay??"

    Oooooo, thank you so much for sharing that because it was something I had wanted to say when I wrote this post, but forgot. And you're absolutely right, who wants to be typecast? As an actor, your desire is to inhabit characters other than yourself. That's where the challenge lies.

    "I know that there’s also a lot of complaints in the disability community when a disabled person is not cast in a part of someone who’s disabled. I often wonder if there was a disabled person even available and/or experienced enough for them to cast?"


    That's another great point you brought up. Yes, I've heard that too. And like you said, it would depend on the experience and the degree of the disability. Many years ago, there was TV show called, Life Goes On (1998), about family who had a child with Down Syndrome. And the actor they cast in the role did have Down Syndrome in real life, however, it was not extreme, so he was able to do all the necessary things needed to work in a TV series. Which was so awesome! I think it was the first TV show of its kind.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Happy Hump Day!

    X

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  7. " if I accept myself, and mean truly accept myself, it doesn't matter to me what anyone else thinks. If I had to wait for the world to accept and embrace me because I'm gay, I'd still be waiting." So perfectly said, Ron! And being a gay man myself, I couldn't agree with you more. I don't need anyone's "gay approval" because I approve of myself. LOL!

    So much of what you said here mirrors my own thoughts. I don't care if gay roles are portrayed by straight actors, just as much as I don't care if I know that an actor is gay, and he or she is portraying a straight character.

    For me, I'm even more impressed by a straight actor taking on a gay character because they have the guts to do it and not care what anyone thinks.

    I have to mention one thing about the films you listed. "Ideal Home" IS hilarious! The two of them are so good in their roles. I haven't seen "Supernova" either but want to. I say the trailer last month and instantly thought, "Got to see that one!" Isn't Cate Blanchette a brilliant actresses? So diverse in the roles she plays. I loved her in "Blue Jasmine."

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this topic, Ron. Well said!

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  8. Ron, I've seen two of the movies you listed here, plus the TV show "Will and Grace." Oh my god....LOVED that show! But I have to say that I didn't care for it when it return several years ago because it was too political. I watched that show to unwind, escape reality, and laugh. I don't think it was AS funny in the rebook. Just my opinion.

    This is such a well-written post. And I really admire your attitude about being gay and being casual about it. Did you always accept yourself, or was there a time when you struggled? I hope you don't mind me asking that. I have several male gays friend and adore them.

    It makes no difference to me whether the actor playing a gay role is gay because it makes no difference to me if I know someone is gay and they're playing a heterosexual role. Who cares? They're actors and actresses.

    The two films on you list I will be looking for is Ammonite (I enjoy anything with Kate Winslet) and Supernova. I saw something online about that movie a while back, but didn't know what it was about. Just from the poster and subject matter I can tell it's going to be a heartbreaker.

    Wonderful post, Ron. Hope you're having a really great week and enjoying the Springish weather! X

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  9. Hello there, Daniel!

    "And being a gay man myself, I couldn't agree with you more. I don't need anyone's "gay approval" because I approve of myself. LOL!"

    Good for you! I was born in the 50's and grew up in the 60's, so I had to learn to accept myself on my own, in spite of the bullying. I feel so blessed that I was born with the ability to sense that I was different and be okay with it.

    "For me, I'm even more impressed by a straight actor taking on a gay character because they have the guts to do it and not care what anyone thinks."


    Me as well. Stanley Tucci has played many gay characters during his career and doesn't care what anyone thinks.

    I can't wait to see "Supernova!" I will most likely watch it sometime this week. And yes, Cate is BRILLIANT! I first saw her in the movie, "The Talented Mr. Ripley" and thought, "Who is this woman, she's faaaaabulous!" And I was surprised to know she was Australian because she had the perfect American accent in that movie! I saw "Blue Jasmine" a few years ago and was blown away by her performance. She won an Oscar for that role and deserved it. Totally!

    Thanks a lot for stopping by and sharing on this topic, my friend. Have a terrific rest of your week!
    X

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  10. Hola Denise!

    "But I have to say that I didn't care for it when it return several years ago because it was too political. I watched that show to unwind, escape reality, and laugh. I don't think it was AS funny in the rebook. Just my opinion."


    Honestly? I feel exactly the same! Way too political in the reboot. I still feel that the four of them are outstanding actors/actresses, but I much preferred the show during its original run.

    No, I don't mind you asking that at all. And yes, I always knew that I was different than other guys but I didn't know the name for it. And in spite of being called names and being bullied, I was okay. Even as a child, I had sense of "knowing" that I'd be okay in the world.

    " Just from the poster and subject matter I can tell it's going to be a heartbreaker."

    Meeeeeeeeeeee too! And after watching the trailer (MANY times) I knew it even more. And I have a feeling you will really enjoy "Ammonite" Beautifully filmed and fascinating story that based off a real person.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, girl. Yes! OMG...the weather here in the Northeast has been gorgeous these past several days. You can feel Spring rolling in!

    X

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  11. Thanks for explaining that to me, Ron, you taught me something. That is so cool!

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  12. I totally agree with you Ron. Acting is exactly that ACTING.

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  13. Amen, Rick!

    If they're a good actor, that's all that matters.

    Have a great rest of your week, my friend!
    X

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  14. Ron, I don't care if an actor/actress is gay or straight, playing a gay or straight role. What matters to me is authenticity. If I believe who they are, then they did their job. Period. Like you said, if an actor/actress is gay, they totally have the right to be and be open about. And not only actors or actresses, anyone. But acting is about choosing the best person for a role. It shouldn't be about being gay or straight.

    Several years ago, my girlfriend and I watched Ideal Home on Netflix and could not stop laughing. The ending is so great!

    Excellent post, dude!

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  15. Hiya Matt!

    "What matters to me is authenticity. If I believe who they are, then they did their job. Period."

    YES! If I'm watching a movie, I don't even think about if the actor or actress is gay or straight. Take for instance, "Will and Grace" -- Eric McCormack is straight, playing a gay character and he was totally believable because he believed it himself. I've also seen Neal Patrick Harris in many straight roles, yet he is gay. Again, I believe him because he believed it himself.

    Isn't "Ideal Home" hilarious? I love the ending too, when they go riding off into the sunset!

    Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts, my friend. Hope you're enjoying a faaaaaaabulous week!

    X

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  16. Great perspective, Ron.

    "Supernova" sounds really interesting.

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  17. I have so much respect for the balanced viewpoints you express in this post. I've read there have been teachers under fire for stepping into different cultural roles (Native American/Black) and how they shouldn't do that even in the context of teaching. I agree simply because an actor may not personally identify with the role, they should not be prohibited from being cast in that role. Excellent actors and actresses can transcend themselves and become completely believable in alternate personas. I remember watching White Collar and was surprised when I found out Matt Bomer (Neal Caffrey) was gay. He played his part sooooo well! Lots of inside, as usual with your thoughts. Hope you are doing well. X

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  18. Hey there, Mark!

    Thanks! And yes, "Supernova" does sound interesting, doesn't it? I first saw the trailer last month before it officially launched. I plan on watching it sometime this weekend. Can't wait!

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend! Hope you're enjoying a fantastic week!

    X to you and Tara!

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  19. Thank you, Lisa! I was born at a time when you had to learn how to accept yourself because there was no such thing as counseling or support group. However, I'm happy that I grew up then because it taught me to accept myself, regardless of what others think or feel. It made me resilient.

    "...because an actor may not personally identify with the role, they should not be prohibited from being cast in that role. Excellent actors and actresses can transcend themselves and become completely believable in alternate personas."

    Yes! Yes! Yes! And that's the enjoyment (and challenge) of being an actor, to transcend themselves. And when you do it right, it's an amazing feeling.

    " I remember watching White Collar and was surprised when I found out Matt Bomer (Neal Caffrey) was gay. He played his part sooooo well!"

    You know, I never saw him in "White Collar", but did see him in "Superman." In fact, right as the movie opened, I saw a HUGE billboard in Times Square, New York with him as Superman.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend. Hope you're doing well too and enjoying this spurt of Spring weather. It's gorgeous here.

    X

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  20. He played Superman?! I never knew that.

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  21. Such a well-written post, Ron! And as one of your other readers here said, I have so much respect for the balanced viewpoints you express. And I also love and admire your attitude about accepting yourself and not waiting for the world to accept you. You know, when you and I were growing up back in the 60's, it was a time when we had to figure things out for ourselves, but I think it made us stronger.

    Your film selection here looks and sounds wonderful. I saw Philadelphia when it first came out and remember thinking how bold it was because it was about a very serious and controversial subject matter. And not only did Tom Hanks do an outstanding job in the role, but he was very courageous as well. And Will and Grace! Oh my....hysterical! My favorites were Jack and Karen. LOVED them!

    I agree, it shouldn't matter what sexual orientation someone is to play a role. As you said, it's called ACTING.

    Hope you're have a great weekend and out there enjoying the weather! xo

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  22. Hellooooooooooo there, Elaine!

    "You know, when you and I were growing up back in the 60's, it was a time when we had to figure things out for ourselves, but I think it made us stronger.'

    You are soooooooooooooo right about that! Looking back, as hard as my school years were, they made me stronger and more resilient. I also had a stubbornness that said, "I'm not going to let them get to me!"

    Wasn't Tom Hanks wonderful? I own that movie and watched it again last week, and forgot just how outstanding he was. So was Denzel! I also thought Joan Woodward was so touching as his mother. Me too, Jack and Karen were my faves as well. They had such great comedic chemistry.

    Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts on this topic, neighbor! Hope you're having a great weekend too. I met up with a friend of mine who just recently moved to a different apartment in a different part of Philly. We had such a wonderful day, hanging out and talking.

    X

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  23. Thanks Ron for this post and highlighting these movies. I have only seen a few, Philadelphia, The Danish Girl, and Carol. I plan to look for a couple, Ammonite and Super Nova.

    I have never had an issue with straight actors playing gay characters. I have also enjoyed the Birdcage, many times, which I noticed was not on your list here.

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  24. Hey there D!

    WOW! I am so impressed that you've seen THREE of these films! Weren't they wonderful? I saw Carol just a few months ago and loved both their performances. I also loved the whole 1950's look and feel to the film.

    "I have also enjoyed the Birdcage, many times, which I noticed was not on your list here."

    HA! OMG, I can't believe you mentioned that movie because I watched it again (on YouTube) just a few weeks ago and forgot how hilarious it was! They were both outstanding in that film. My mother LOVED that film and would watch it over and over again on cable.

    Many years ago, (in the 80's) I saw the original French version of that film, entitled, ""La Cage aux Folles" It was brilliant! I first saw it with French subtitles, but then saw it again years later when it was dubbed. Here is the link about the film in case you're interested.

    https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0077288/

    Thanks so much for stopping by. Hope your weekend was an awesome one!

    X

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  25. Hey, Ron, excellent post!

    I agree with you completely about casting--let the best actor get the part.

    Acting is all about becoming someone else. You don't have to murder people to play MacBeth. You just have to act like you would.

    I also admire how you live your life without making a big deal about your sexuality. You are who you are, no more, no less.

    Thanks so much for the movie selection as you have listed several films I have not seen. Netflix, here I come!

    Take care, buddy!

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  26. Hey there Rob!

    HA! OMG...I LOVED this...."Acting is all about becoming someone else. You don't have to murder people to play MacBeth. You just have to act like you would"

    That is soooooooooooo true!

    Thanks. I've never thought being gay was a big deal because I've never had any struggle with it.

    These films are some of my favorites, but there are so many others that I love as well.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, buddy. Have an AWESOME week!

    X

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