The conversation about representation in film is ongoing, especially when it comes to queer roles and actors. While it’s nice to imagine that one day soon queer characters will only be portrayed by queer actors, not all actors believe that’s the future we should be working towards.
Richard Madden, who plays Elton John’s agent and manager John Reid in the upcoming “fantasy musical” biopic Rocketman, who was profiled by The Guardian this weekend and had a few things to say about queer casting.
“It’s a really terrible route to go down if we start restricting people’s casting based on their personal lives,” Madden said. “We have to focus more on diversity and having everyone represented, but I’m also a firm believer in the best actor for the part.”
As The Guardian notes, Madden has primarily dating a string of famous actresses (Jenna Coleman, Suki Waterhouse, and Ellie Bamber), but was also recently seen getting cozy with 13 Reasons Why star Brandon Flynn. So maybe a queer actor is playing a queer role, in this instance — at least according to all the fan videos, theories, and horny tweets I’ve seen online.
The point that most actors fail to grasp when presenting this exact argument — that the best person should get the role — is that it’s a double standard that doesn’t apply to queer actors, who rarely get cast or even seen for non-queer roles. Recently, Love, Simon director Greg Berlanti revealed that he was blocked from casting gay actors in straight roles, something that he said is a huge issue in the industry. So if queer actors aren’t getting cast in non-queer roles, their only option is to play a part that aligns with their identity — but they have to compete for those parts with actors who aren’t limited in the same way.