Guy Pearce has said the belief that some actors can’t play certain roles because of their gender or sexuality is “dangerous”.
The Australian actor, who played a drag queen in the 1994 film The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, was asked the question in the wake of recent reports of backlash to straight actors – including Scarlett Johansson and Jack Whitehall – being cast in LGBT+ roles.
“I do think it’s dangerous, personally,” he told The Guardian before ‘skirting around the subject for several minutes.’ “I feel, like, in any of this sort of stuff, you have to take each situation…” he continued, before trailing off.
Pearce is unsure whether he and fellow straight actors Hugo Weaving and Terence Stamp, who played a transgender woman in the cult film, would be cast again today due to the increasing force of social media.
“We copped a bit of flak at the time: ‘Why are there three straight actors playing three gay roles?’ It’s a difficult subject to get into.”
Twitter was vociferous after British – and straight – comedian Whitehall was reported to be playing Disney’s first openly gay character in new film The Jungle Cruise, while Johansson found herself at the centre of controversy after announcing she would play a trans woman in Rub and Tug. She later stepped down from the role.
Earlier this year, Pearce hit the headlines after claiming Kevin Spacey was “handsy” with him on the set of 1997 noir LA Confidential. He went on to say he “regretted” making the comment, telling The Guardian: “I think I said enough about that.”
Pearce’s new TV show, Netflix series The Innocents, begins 24 August.
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