Darren Criss says he has been ‘s*** on’ for talking about playing LGBTQ+ roles

Actor said that he had turned down ‘plenty of queer roles’ where he didn’t feel he could bring ‘add value’ to them

Isobel Lewis
Monday 20 December 2021 06:30 GMT
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Darren Criss has claimed that he has previously been “s*** on” and misquoted when talking about playing LGBTQ+ characters as a straight man.

The actor has appeared in a number of high-profile queer parts throughout his career, including Blaine in Glee, Andrew Cunanan in The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, and Hedwig in Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

In a new interview with The Independent, Criss said that he is cautious when speaking about the topic after having previously been misquoted in the press as saying that he would never play an LGBTQ+ part again.

“I was like, ‘I never said this,’” said Criss, adding that he has, however, turned down “plenty of queer roles” over the years because he doesn’t feel he can “add value” to them.

“There are so many performances that are either straight roles given by queer actors or queer roles that are done by straight actors that are so beloved, that we just don’t talk about those,” said the actor.

“But if they’re done poorly, we get up in arms and we blame it on the fact that this person isn’t queer, this person isn’t straight, as opposed to maybe they just weren’t the right person for the job?”

Criss claimed that once an actor becomes famous, they are held to a new “double standard” where things known about their personal life can stop their performances from being viewed objectively.

Criss played Blaine in the musical comedy series Glee
Criss played Blaine in the musical comedy series Glee (Fox-Tv/Kobal/Shutterstock)

“If there’s a role that requires somebody or something about them, whether it’s a queer character, or a character that does this or has this background, if we know nothing about them, do we have the objectivity to appreciate their performance?” he asked.

“Because the veil has been lifted, we can see everything about somebody. I’m now in a position in my life where folks can look up anything about me, at least [that] I’ve let out there. That is a standard that is held up to the roles that I play.”

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Elsewhere in the interview, Criss spoke about last year’s allegations of a toxic work environment on the set of Glee, stating that while he saw “not great” things happening on set, “there was a lot more good stuff than there was bad stuff”.

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