Grey's Anatomy star Alex Landi says that actors should be able play characters of any sexuality, regardless of how they personally identify.
The US actor, who joined the long-running ABC medical drama as gay surgeon Dr. Nico Kim last year, says that while it's clear that "not all actors have equal opportunities" in the TV and film industry, he believes casting decisions should ultimately be made according to who is "best" for the part.
Landi's time on Grey's has been dominated by his character's burgeoning relationship with closeted intern Dr Levi Schmidt - a character played by Jake Borelli, who recently came out publicly as gay to coincide with the storyline.
In the new February issue of Attitude - available to download and to order globally now - Landi points to his co-star's original casting as a straight medic as evidence that the industry should be able to "go both ways" when it comes to deciding who can play what role.
Alex Landi, show by Taylor Miller exclusively for the February issue of Attitude, out now.
"As an actor, I want to do the best job I can in any role, regardless of my own personal sexuality or the character’s. I just want to do this role proud for the LGBT+ and the Asian communities", he says.
"If I put in my two cents, the best actor wins. It comes down to the role breakdown, they [casting directors] request different things, and each actor has his own set of attributes of what he’s good at doing, and what he’s not good at doing.
"It just falls into whoever can do it the best and what the producer likes. I don’t think it necessarily has to fall into sexual identity. It falls into who can get the job done.
"Levi, [well] Jake, he’s gay in real life, but he was cast as a straight intern, so it can go both ways, it wasn’t until later in the season that he actually came out."
Alex, who says he hopes the character of Dr. Kim can help break down LGBT and Asian stereotypes, adds: "It’s acting at the end of the day, [but] obviously sexual identity is under the microscope a bit more.
Photography: Taylor Miller
"There are discussions about transgender actors playing transgender roles, gay actors playing gay roles, and Asian actors speaking up about whitewashing simply because not all actors have equal opportunities. There isn’t a level playing ground.
"When roles stop being pre-defined by ethnicity and sexual orientation, that is when these discussions will no longer be at the forefront of casting decisions."
You can read our exclusive interview with Alex in the February issue of Attitude, which is out now and comes with our FREE 68-page travel guide 101 Things We Love About New York City, supported by nycgo.com (available with both print and digital editions).