Ben Whishaw has said the fuss made over straight actors playing gay characters goes right over his head.
While some heterosexual actors have been widely praised for playing LGBT+ characters just because they’re LGBT+, some have been criticised for 'taking' gay or trans roles from gay or trans actors.
Speaking at a screening of London Spy, Whishaw said (via Independent
): "With gay characters being played by straight people, straight characters being played by gay people, come on, we're actors.
"I do not understand what the problem is. Actors play all sorts of things. I've played murderers, journalists and kings - I'm not any of them. The whole thing is a fiction, it's about imagination, it's play. I am baffled to why it's such a big thing.”
He added: "And also, I'm baffled because it feels like we're in a time where there are lots of gay people, not just actors but in all walks of life, and let's be where we are. We're human beings and I don't understand why it's really a discussion now.”
Asked specifically about the furore surrounding Matt Damon’s suggestion that people shouldn’t know anything about actors’ lives - including their sexualities - Whishaw said: "It feels like a story that's trying to be drummed up, even though there are more important things we should be talking about.”
Damon himself clarified that he wasn’t telling gay actors to get back in the closet.