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Neil Patrick Harris: Casting Straight Actors to Play Gay is 'Sexy'

Neil Patrick Harris in 'It's a Sin'

In the ongoing debate over whether straight actors should play gay roles, It’s a Sin actor Neil Patrick Harris has added his voice, and it might not be saying what you’d expect.

In a new interview, Harris was asked about comments recently made by It’s a Sin creator Russell T. Davies. Davies recently said that he’s against casting straight actors in gay roles. “You wouldn’t cast someone able-bodied and put them in a wheelchair,” he said. “You wouldn’t Black someone up. Authenticity is leading us to joyous places.”

Harris doesn’t quite see it the same way. “I’m not one to jump on to labeling,” he told The Times. “As an actor you certainly hope you can be a visible option for all kinds of different roles. I played a character [on How I Met Your Mother] for nine years who was nothing like me.”

He even pointed to Davies’ classic series Queer as Folk to bolster his argument. That series starred three straight actors as gay men. “It was one of the real true turning points for me as examples of sexy guys behaving as leads in something of import, not as comic sidekicks,” he explained.

Harris added that he thinks, “there’s something something sexy about casting a straight actor to play a gay role, if they’re willing to invest in it.” He said that not hiring straight actors could lead to missed opportunities.

“In our world that we live in, you can’t really as a director demand that [an actor is gay]. Who’s to determine how gay someone is?” he asked. As for Davies’ comments, Harris thinks he wasn’t trying to shut down the idea completely, saying that he thinks the writer was “speaking more about the joyfulness of being able to be authentic.”

The topic of whether straight actors should play gay characters has been one of the hottest topics in Hollywood over the past year. Boys in the Band star Jim Parsons said that he thinks “there’s definitely this spectrum” of answers to the issue, and he thinks its more important to focus on making gay characters who are “well-rounded and completely human individuals.”

Billy Eichner also gave his opinion, pointing out that gay actors don’t get the same kinds of opportunities straight actors do. “There were so many straight actors on every list to play gay characters… for the straight characters in the movie, there were never gay actors on the lists for those roles. I saw it with my own eyes. It’s not a two-way street.”

RELATED: Here's Why Cis-Het Actors Should Not Play LGBTQ+ Roles — For Now

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