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‘Special’ creator and star Ryan O’Connell has promised to always cast gay actors in gay roles

The gay actor is starring in the new Netflix series which is based on his part-memoir, part-manifesto

By Steve Brown

Ryan O’Connell has promised to always give gay roles to gay actors.

Based around O’Connell’s part-memoir, part-manifesto ‘I’m Special: And Other Lies We Tell Ourselves’, the new eight-episode Netflix series Special is produced by Jim Parson’s company, That’s Wonderful Productions and available to stream now.

The show is loosely based on his own upbringing and experiences as a gay man living with cerebral palsy.

And while speaking to The Wrap, the actor spoke about the lack of opportunity for disabled actors and promised he will always cast gay actors to play gay characters because they don’t have the same opportunities of straight actors.

He said: “I’m not saying actors can’t play something that they’re not, but the world is structured in a way where disabled people have no opportunities.

“On my show there are a lot of gay characters, and it was really important to me that I hire gay actors to play that role.

“Is that because I think straight people can’t play gay? No, but I know a lot of talented gay actors that don’t have the same opportunities as straight actors because they’re gay, and that’s just the world we live in.

“Until that can be rectified, you bet I’m going to give opportunities to people who don’t have them. 

“That’s what you have to do, you have to protect the powerless and give them opportunities, that’s the only way they can advance.”

“Hollywood loves to profit off the pain of marginalised people without giving us any opportunities,” he continued.

“For gay movies, it’s usually predicated on some kind of baseball bat for a movie, and I’m done. I’m done with metaphorically being beaten by a baseball bat.

“I just want to see gay men living, laughing and loving. Those [other] stories are valid and deserve to be told, but when it’s the only kind of story being told, that’s a problem.”

Watch the trailer for Special below: