One of the best actors of his era is done playing gay.
In 1993, Tom Hanks won an Oscar for playing a gay man who was fired because of his AIDS status in Philadelphia, but now, he says if he was approached with the role today, he wouldn't take it.
"Could a straight man do what I did in Philadelphia now? No, and rightly so," Hanks said to TheNew York Times Magazine. "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," he 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."
Playing gay has long been a popular way for well-respected actors to pick up Academy Awards (or at least nominations). Alongside Hanks, William Hurt, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Sean Penn, and, most recently Rami Malek for 2018's Bohemian Rhapsody, have all won the Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role after playing gay and bisexual men.
Even this past year, Benedict Cumberbatch was nominated for an Oscar for playing a repressed gay cowboy in The Power of The Dog. Mahershala Ali, Jared Leto, and Christopher Plummer have all won Best Supporting Actor Oscars in the last eleven years for playing queer characters. Plummer and Ali's characters were gay, and Leto famously won for playing a trans woman in Dallas Buyer's Club.
However, the tide has turned on straight actors getting all the best gay roles. Now, people like Billy Eichner and Russell T. Davies are fighting for queer actors to get those roles.
"I'm not being woke about this, but I feel strongly that if I cast someone in a story, I am casting them 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. It's about authenticity, the taste of 2020," Davies said about casting queer actors. "You wouldn't cast someone able-bodied and put them in a wheelchair. You wouldn't Black someone up. Authenticity is leading us to joyous places."