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Tom Hanks says he wouldn’t take his gay Philadelphia role now

"Do I sound like I’m preaching? I don’t mean to..." says Hanks, as he weighs in on the straight actors playing gay roles debate

By Jamie Tabberer

Words: Jamie Tabberer; picture: TriStar Pictures

Tom Hanks has addressed his performance as a gay man living with HIV in the 1993 film Philadelphia – and spoken on whether he’d play the role today.

In short? No, he wouldn’t.

The legendary actor won an Oscar for his portrayal Andrew ‘Andy’ Beckett, who sues his employers for discrimination, beliving he was fired because of his HIV status.

“I don’t think people would accept the inauthenticity”

Speaking to the New York Times recently, Hanks said: “[…] Let’s address ‘could a straight man do what I did in Philadelphia now?’ No, and rightly so.

The Elvis star added: “The whole point of Philadelphia was don’t be afraid. One of the reasons people weren’t afraid of that movie is that I was playing a gay man. We’re beyond that now, and I don’t think people would accept the inauthenticity of a straight guy playing a gay guy.”

The 65-year-old continued: “It’s not a crime, it’s not boohoo, that someone would say we are going to demand more of a movie in the modern realm of authenticity. Do I sound like I’m preaching? I don’t mean to.”

Philadelphia also starred Denzel Washington and won three Oscars in total, including Best Original Screenplay. 

Hanks’ other movies include Forrest Gump, Sully and The Post.


The Attitude July/August issue featuring the cast of Queer As Folk is out on 9 June. Preorder here.