There's also the sentiment out there nowadays that only gay actors should play gay characters. Mr. Tucci argues that the whole point of acting is to bring different kinds of people to life; and again, I couldn't agree more. But here's the thing I think Mr. Tucci is forgetting: there are no gay actors.
What's that Chris? What do you mean "there are no gay actors"? Are you kidding? Acting has to be one of the gayest professions there is (are?). Why, there must be hundreds, if not thousands of gay actors. It's kind of their thing!
Well of course there are gay actors.
There just aren't many openly gay actors. Why? Well, for pretty much the last 125 years gay actors have been forced to hide the fact that they're gay...and if they didn't, it was often career suicide. That career being killed not by the public...but by the entertainment industry. How many of our current capital S, A-List movie and TV stars are gay? Well, there's no factual evidence on this topic. We can really only guess. But I'm guessing there are way more then anyone thinks. But the majority are "straight," right? Right.
And if on the other side of the coin, that "only gay actors should play gay roles"; where are all these gay actors? They're still stuck in closets in the greater L.A. and tri-state areas. Why? Well, because they still have to be. For all this talk of inclusion and acceptance, the "industry" still puts queerness under a blanket.
So, where is this pool of gay actors to play these gay roles? I mean, Jodie Foster, Kevin Spacey, Nathan Lane and Neil Patrick Harris can't be in every gay role (or maybe they could, there are so few).
I'm losing my train of thought here a little, but I think that's to be expected. Because this whole issue is so much pretzel logic. So, Mr. Tucci says that it's okay for straight actors to play gay roles. Check. Tom Hanks says you couldn't make "Philadelphia" today without a gay actor in the role. Check. But entertainment industry history tells us that being gay is wrong and you can't be gay and be a Big Movie Star. And these two sentiments are coming from two heterosexual actors. So what to make of this? Is there a term "straight privilege"? If there isn't...then DIBS. Straight Privilege (Copyright/TM/Pat-Pend). I mean, Tom got an Oscar for playing gay and Stanley has received some nice paychecks for playing gay. I'm sorry, Tom and Stanley...I love you both (Stanley, I so want to rub your head. Tom, I so want to smell you!) But I really can't help but be confused by these comments.
Stanley, I agree...it's okay for straight actors to play gay characters; but I'm confused, you see, because for so long it's been wrong to be gay in Hollywood, so at some point in history, even a gay actor couldn't play a gay role if they were openly gay.
And Tom...where are we going to find all these A-list gay actors to play roles on the level of say...the character you played in "Philadelphia," for which you won an Oscar (TM/Registered/Pat-Pend)?
But this idea that audiences will reject actors they know are gay, still persists.
I'm still not sure what I'm trying to say here.
Let me just wrap this up by saying this. I think that roles should be cast based on the actor's "rightness" for the role. That rightness having nothing to do with anything else about them.
I mean, Nathan Lane is currently playing a character on Only Murders In the Building who is straight. Yet I know Nathan is gay. Does that change my perception of the character or of Nathan Lane? No. So I guess I do agree with Mr. Tucci.
But then, maybe I don't.
And if Stanley wants some pointers on being gay for his next project, I'd be more than happy to help. And if he wants to prepare some mazzafegati for me, who am I to say no? Call me!