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David Walliams gives his verdict on straight actors playing LGBTQ roles

The Britain's Got Talent star spoke to Attitude as last weekend's inaugural Malta Film Awards

By Jamie Tabberer

Words: Jamie Tabberer; picture: David Walliams (ITV)

David Walliams has addressed the ongoing debate around non-LGBTQ actors playing LGBTQ roles.

Responding to question from Attitude at the inaugural Malta Film Awards last weekend, the Britain’s Got Talent star opined that “the best actors should play the role,” while conceding the issue is “complicated.”

Walliams, who rose to fame with Matt Lucas on Little Britain, explained: “I’ve talked to lots of gay friends who are actors about this. They say: ‘It can get quite complicated’.

David Walliams hosting the Malta Film Awards (picture: Provided)

“I can understand on something like It’s A Sin, which is so much about the gay experience – I can understand why Russell T Davies wanted to cast all gay actors. But it in other characters – I’m thinking about David Tennant playing Dennis Nilson – he gave a great performance, didn’t he?”

He contined: “There are some amazing actors who are not gay [who have played gay roles], like Sean Penn playing Harvey Milk – he was incredible, won an Oscar. It would be a shame to deny those… I think the best actors should play the role.”

The Come Fly With Me actor, who also hosted the awards ceremony, said he “remembers talking to Matt Lucas about it, and he said some people might lie a little bit about it to get the part!”

On Benedict Cumberbatch being tipped to win an Oscar in March for his portrayal of a repressed gay man in The Power of the Dog, Walliams said: “I’d love him to win. He’s a brilliant actor. Ultimately you hope in a world with acceptance, it shouldn’t really matter.”

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The Malta Film Awards, which took place in the Maltese capital Valletta on Saturday (29 January 2022), honoured the best in filmmaking connected to the world’s tenth-smallest country.

At the ceremony, the ‘Best Male Actor in a Leading Role’ award went to Harvey Keitel for Blood on the Crown. The ‘Best Female Actor in a Leading Role’ award went to Louise Doneo for Hemm Dar il-Qala [pictured above].

Best Film went to The Boat.

Known for its warm climate and ancient temples, Malta has featured as a dramatic backdrop in iconic TV shows like Game of Thrones.

Meanwhile famous movies to have used Malta as a shooting location include Gladiator starring Russell Crowe, Troy starring Brad Pitt, and the Daniel Craig-starring Casino Royale.

A specially-built set for the 1981 film Popeye [above] is now a tourist attraction in its own right.

Valletta, the capital of Malta (picture: Pixabay)

“We are on the march to create a world class film industry in Malta”

During the ceremony, Malta Film Commissioner Johann Grech said: “Over 230 professionals, 265 artists, local and international talent, working together to make tonight’s show the biggest ever TV show, with the highest standards, in Malta. It is an important milestone which brings the public and the industry united together to celebrate the value of film and TV.

“We have the vision. We have the ambition. We are on the march to create a world class film industry in Malta.”

Despite 90% of the local population being nominally Catholic, Malta was last year named the world’s most LGBTQ-friendly country for the sixth year in a row by IGLA-Europe.

For more information about the Malta Film Awards, click here.