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Adam Lambert explains ‘sarcastic little comment’ over the idea of Theo James playing George Michael

"I just want some equal opportunity that’s all," said the American Idol star.

By Alastair James

Adam Lambert, Theo James, George Michael
Adam Lambert reacts to Theo James being tipped to play George Michael (Image: Holding Out For A Hero, WikiCommons, Careless Whisper)

Adam Lambert has explained his thoughts about straight actors playing gay roles, following criticism over a recent “sarcastic little comment”.

Last week Lambert took to social media to share a news story about The White Lotus‘ Theo James being interested in playing LGBTQ icon George Michael.

James recently appeared on Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen when he was asked if he would want to play Michael. James was effusive in his response, calling the ‘Freedom ’90’ singer an “icon”.

“Yeh! I’d love that,” the 38-year-old actor, who is assumed to be straight, responded. 

Lambert slammed this. He wrote: “Yay another straight man playing a gay icon,” with an eye-rolling emoji on an Instagram post by The Advocate.

Lambert was asked about his comment at the Sundance Film Festival while promoting the movie Fairyland.

The American Idol star clarified to Variety: “My actual comment – my little sarcastic comment on it – was [about] a straight actor playing a gay icon, which I do think is a bit different.”

He then said it would be “ridiculous” to say only gay actors can play gay characters. He pointed to his co-star Scoot McNairy, also assumed to identify as straight, who plays a gay dad in 1970s San Francisco in Fairyland.

“Case in point: Scoot’s brilliant performance in this film, which is incredibly moving and soulful,” Lambert said. “I don’t imagine anybody else playing this part.”

“I just want some equal opportunity that’s all”

Lambert also explained that queer people are used to not having as many opportunities as straight actors. He also hailed it as “a big step forward that these stories are at least now being told.”

He continued: “But I hope that in the future you would see an out actor also be able to tackle a leading role. You haven’t really seen that very often.”

Addressing people’s criticism of his comments further, Lambert highlighted Kristen Stewart, who played Princess Diana in the biopic, Spencer.

“That was a brilliant performance as well [but] we don’t have that many examples of queer people playing non-queer icons. I just want some equal opportunity that’s all.”

In 2020, Lambert told Metro he would love to play George Michael if a biopic happened.

“I’d give it a go. Yeah, sign me up,” he said.

Rumours of a George Michael biopic were recently quashed by the late singer’s estate.

In a statement (16 January) following the Mail’s article, the singer’s estate shared they weren’t aware of the project and “will not be endorsing it in any way.”