While playing gay roles used to be taboo amongst mainstream actors, that’s mostly a thing of the past now.
With LGBT+ representation better than ever on television and in cinema at the moment, while there’s still improvements to be made, numerous big stars are now jumping at the chance to play gay characters.
However, there’s still actors that allow their personal beliefs get in the way, and in doing so, have failed to secure a big role or ended up quitting their project altogether.
Take a look below:
Luke Grimes – True Blood (Quit)
Luke starred as a sexy vampire on HBO series, True Blood, but shockingly quit the popular show just before the final season began airing. It was claimed at the time it was due to a “scheduling conflict,” however the creator of the series later said that it was because Grimes refused to play gay.
The actor faced backlash on social media, and even from his fellow stars because of his decision.
True Blood‘s Nelsan Ellis hit back at his former co-star, saying: “I mean, I can say I’m not going to make a comment, but I just think that, you’re an actor, you’re an actor on a show that’s True Blood, we’re all sitting there going, ‘You quit your job because … really?’ I’m just… I’m over him.
“You quit your job because you don’t want to play a gay part? As if it’s … You know what? I’m going to stop talking.”
Mark Wahlberg -Brokeback Mountain (Turned down)
Brokeback Mountain went on to become one of the most acclaimed movies ever made, and following its release it was showered with praise during awards season. The film famously stars Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, but it turns out the Love and Other Drugs actor wasn’t director Ang Lee’s first choice.
Shortly after the film hit cinemas, Mark Wahlberg revealed he was approached to star in the movie, but turned down the opportunity after being “creeped out” by the script.
“I met with Ang Lee on that movie, I read 15 pages of the script and got a little creeped out,” Wahlberg told the press.
“It was very graphic, descriptive – the spitting on the hand, getting ready to do the thing. I told Ang Lee, ‘I like you, you’re a talented guy, if you want to talk about it more.’ Thankfully, he didn’t. I didn’t rush to see Brokeback, it’s just not my deal. Obviously, it was done in taste — look how it was received.”
Chris Engen – Young and Restless (Quit)
The soap actor played Adam Wilson on the long-running US soap opera, but after having been on the show for some time, it was announced that his role was going to be recast.
It turned out that producers wanted him to kiss his male co-star, and he wasn’t happy. Engen later admitted he didn’t like the “dark” change to his character, and he quit the show.
In a statement at the time, he said: “I would also like to apologise to those of you who feel slighted by this choice, as I have been branded a ‘homophobe’ by several members of the press.
“This is, of course, absurd and many of my dearest friends are homosexuals who would be more than happy to speak on my behalf.”
Kevin Hart – Tropic Thunder (Turned down)
The comedian has become one of the most recognisable stars in Hollywood in recent years thanks to his roles in Get Hard, Ride Along and other comedy flicks.
However, fans of the star won’t be seeing him in a gay role anytime soon. Hart turned down a role in Tropic Thunder after realising his character would be gay. While he says he supports gay rights, Hart has said numerous times that he doesn’t believe he would be able to do a gay role any justice.
Natalie Cassidy – EastEnders (Quit)
However, a few yeas later, Cassidy retracted her statement and explained that she was “a bit naive” when she first made the remarks
“When I was younger actually – I think it was a little bit naive, but when I was 21, 22, I was a bit like, ‘Oh Sonia wouldn’t do that, Sonia wouldn’t do that’. As an actress and as the character I thought, ‘Well actually, I’m not sure if Sonia would do this’”.