Ben Platt said he mostly agrees with those like Russell T. Davies who feel queer roles should go to queer actors, but the award-winning actor, singer, and writer told NME the issue for him was one of fairness and opportunity rather than authenticity.
“I feel like the attitude should be, wherever possible, especially if the story is really rooted in a queer background or is [fundamentally] a queer story like It’s a Sin, we should be doing everything in our power to cast queer actors,” Platt told NME, adding “because often, just in terms of judgement from creators and casting directors, we [queer performers] aren’t able to tell straight stories or play straight characters.”
His views on the matter differed slightly from those of It’s a Sin creator Davies who famously said he “was not being woke about this” but that he felt strongly that if he was casting someone “to act as a lover, or an enemy, or someone on drugs or a criminal or a saint… they are not there to ‘act gay’ because ‘acting gay’ is a bunch of codes for a performance” before adding “it’s about authenticity.”
Platt also advised against framing the argument around the history of praising straight actors portraying queer characters.
“In reaction to how consistently straight men specifically are awarded and applauded just for playing a queer or gay character, I think that that’s not necessarily the right narrative to move forward,” Platt explained.
Instead, Platt would rather lean into filling queer roles with queer actors until “a bit more of an equilibrium” can be reached.
Davies and Platt have not been the only celebrities raising the issue as of late. Henry Golding, Dan Levy, and Billy Eichner have also weighed in. Jim Parsons had a more inclusive view on the matter, choosing to focus on opportunity for all actors across the spectrum.
“I think the fight, as it were, is not about having only gay people play the gay parts but to ensure that all parts are open to all actors,” Parsons said.
Platt has been performing since the age of nine when he appeared in a production of The Music Man at the Hollywood Bowl. The Emmy and Tony-winning actor later shot to fame with his on-stage performances in The Book of Mormon and Dear Evan Hanson, as well as his starring role in Ryan Murphy’s Netflix series The Politician. His next role is the comedy The People We Hate at the Wedding with Allison Janney and Schitt’s Creek actress Annie Murphy.