Cruella star John McCrea on non-LGBTQ actors playing LGBTQ roles: 'It's not an equal trade'

Exclusive: "I want more queer roles to be written full stop" says star, who plays Cruella's "queer" sidekick Artie


Words: Jamie Tabberer; pictures: Attitude by Victor Hensel-Coe/Disney

Cruella star John McCrea has given his take on the debate around non-LGBTQ actors playing LGBTQ roles.

The actor, who is a gay man, plays Cruella's fashion-obsessed sidekick Artie in the new live-action 101 Dalmations origin movie, out Friday.

In a recent interview with Attitude, the 29-year-old called the character "queer", adding: "It depends on who you're asking I suppose - but for me, yes, it's official."

"I want more queer roles to be written, full stop"

In the same interview, when asked "where do you stand on non-LGBTQ people playing LGBTQ roles?" the Everybody's Talking About Jamie actor said: "I think we definitely need to be moving forward towards equal representation. The toughest part about the debate is often [LGBTQ actors] are not being cast in straight roles, it’s not an equal trade. Also, the queer roles, there are not that many being written.

"So when there’s a very limited pool to swim in already, and sometimes you don’t even have access to that pool, that’s really tough. So yes, I want to see more queer people playing queer roles. I want to see more queer people playing straight roles – I want more queer roles to be written, full stop.”

Asked if he's looking forward to Jack Whitehall's performance as a gay man in the upcoming Jungle Cruise, John replied: "I had no idea that was even a thing. But yeah, sure. I don’t believe in judging anything until you’ve seen it, so I’ll definitely watch it.”

Elaborating on his character, John continued: "We don't see him falling in love; there's no social aspect to the character. It's not beating you on the head with a stick. But his lifestyle is fabulous, he loves his life and it was so fun to play him."

He also said: "In one of the original scripts he was a drag queen, so I think he was always intended to be queer-representing I suppose, or somehow a member of the LGBTQ community. I imagine that was always the case."

Cruella is available in UK cinemas and on Disney+ Premiere Access from 28 May.

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