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Stanley Tucci says its okay for straight actors to play gay roles

Renowned actor Stanley Tucci has sparked a heated debate within the entertainment industry by expressing his belief that it is acceptable for straight actors to play gay roles. A debate he is known for formulating since his first gay role as a straight man in 2006.

In an appearance on BBC Radio 4’s “Desert Island Discs” show, Stanley Tucci shared his stance on the matter, stating that he personally feels “fine” with it, and that actors should not be limited by their sexual orientation when it comes to portraying characters. He argues that acting is about empathy and the ability to inhabit a character’s experiences, regardless of one’s personal identity.

“An actor is an actor is an actor,” Tucci said. “You’re supposed to play different people. You just are. That’s the whole point of it.”

The Oscar nominee, who’s been married to Emily Blunt’s sister since 2012, garnered critical acclaim for his portrayals of gay characters in “The Devil Wears Prada” (2006) and “Supernova” (2020).

However, he acknowledges some individuals’ concerns about straight actors playing gay roles, suggesting that any lack of authenticity could hinder a viewer’s immersion in the story, while also insisting that it should be done the “right way”, and that it becomes a problem when the character is reduced to a stereotype.

“Obviously I believe that’s fine,” he said about straight actors playing gay roles. “I am always very flattered when gay men come up to me and talk to me about ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ or they talk about ‘Supernova,’ and they say that, ‘It was just so beautiful,’ you know, ‘You did it the right way.’ Because often, it’s not done the right way.”

In fact, at 62 years old, Tucci shares that he perceives acting as an escape, a realm where he feels more at ease. He reveals that he often finds greater comfort on stage than in his everyday life, admitting that social situations can make him quite anxious.

“I feel much safer on stage than I do in real life,” he says. “Sometimes, walking into a cocktail or dinner party, I get very nervous.”

The question of whether it is acceptable for straight actors to play gay characters has always been a topic of contention within the entertainment industry. However, Stanley Tucci’s perspective has reignited the conversation and led to renewed discussions on representation, authenticity, and equal opportunities for LGBTQ actors.


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