Words: Steve Brown
One of the stars of the LGBT+ film Weekend has said being out has “restricted” his career.
Chris New starred in the 2011 film alongside straight actor Tom Cullen which follows their weekend romance and when discussing whether gay roles should be played by gay actors, New said he turns down any role that is defined by their sexuality.
He told The Guardian: “In my work, I am increasingly allowed to engage in my culture only when that engagement centres on being gay.
“Being out has done nothing but restrict my career. In the current climate, I am invited to participate only on the basis of my supposed oppression.
“Nothing more is required of me. I live in a cultural ghetto. Any role where the character’s sexuality is their defining characteristic I turn down.
“Which means I don’t work very much. Or, at least, nowhere near as much as I’d like to.”#
The hit movie was helmed by openly gay director Andrew Haigh, who has since gone on to work on HBO’s LGBT+ show Looking which is about a trio of gay men in San Francisco.
Haigh also added that he wants as many gay actors as possible in his films and shows but defended casting Cullen and Raul Castillo [in Looking] – both of who are straight.
He said: “For Weekend, and especially Looking, I wanted as many gay actors as possible.
“The same goes for the crew. Working on LGBT material with LGBT people feels liberating. But it’s also about finding the right actor for a role.
“The sexuality of a character is not their defining characteristic. Identities are complex. Tom Cullen in Weekend or Raul Castillo in Looking may not have been gay in real life but they completely understood and related to the psychology of their roles.”
Watch the trailer for Weekend below: