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Luke Evans ‘not sure’ only gay actors should play gay roles

"I wouldn’t have had a career if gay people played gay roles and straight people played straight roles."

By Alastair James

Luke Evans
Luke Evans will star in Dan Levy's directorial debut, Good Grief (Image: Attitude)

Luke Evans has said he’s “not sure” that only gay actors should play gay roles.

The Welsh actor, 43, has appeared in The Hobbit films and the live-action version of The Beauty and the Beast and is set to appear in Dan Levy’s directorial debut, Good Grief.

A synopsis for the film from Netflix explains that the main character, Marc Dreyfus, must deal with his grief at losing his mother and then his husband. It is not known yet exactly which role Evans will play.

Asked about Russell T. Davies’ comments from last year that only gay people should play gay roles during a recent interview, Evans replies, “I’m not sure about that.”

He continues, “Gay people have definitely missed out on gay roles, for sure. Russell spoke very powerfully, passionately, about this point. I get it, and I totally think that things do need to change.

“But from my perspective: firstly, I wouldn’t have had a career if gay people played gay roles and straight people played straight roles. I’d have played two roles out of the 36 projects I’ve worked on, or whatever [the number] is.”

Evans tells The Telegraph that it should be that “the right person gets the job. Talent and ability, and a bit of luck and timing … That should be the reason why you get a job. It shouldn’t have anything to do with anything else.”

The debate about who should play queer roles is an ongoing one in the entertainment industry. It can have its merits in terms of improving representation and bringing authenticity to queer performances.

However, the need to have queer actors inhabiting queer roles has also led to some toxic traits to the debates, seen recently with Heartstopper‘s Kit Connor.

The 18-year-old actor faced allegations of ‘queerbaiting’ after his role as coming-to-terms-with-his-bisexuality role as Nick Nelson and then being seen holding hands with a female co-star on a separate project.

After leaving Twitter due to the discourse, Kit returned at the beginning of November to say: “back for a minute. i’m bi. congrats for forcing an 18 year old to out himself. i think some of you missed the point of the show. bye.”

It has encouraged a debate about ‘queerbaiting’, an allegation also levied at Harry Styles and others who appear to go against heteronormative standards even a little.