Darren Criss says he’ll never play a gay role again as to not take roles away for gay actors and my main takeaway is: Darren Criss is straight? Huh.
Criss has found great success playing queer characters, from his breakout role as Blaine in Glee to his turn as Hedwig on Broadway, and this year he’s won an Emmy and been nominated for a Golden Globe for American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace, playing gay serial killer Andrew Cunanan. But now, Criss says he’s done playing queer characters.
“"There are certain [queer] roles that I'll see that are just wonderful. But I want to make sure I won’t be another straight boy taking a gay man’s role,” Criss told Bustle. “The reason I say that is because getting to play those characters is inherently a wonderful dramatic experience. It has made for very, very compelling and interesting people.”
The conversation about cishetero actors in queer roles continues to evolve as these actors receive praise and accolades for playing characters outside their lived experience while queer actors rarely get cast in huge blockbuster films. This awards season alone, Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz, Emma Stone, Mahershala Ali, Rami Malek, Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant are all straight actors who were nominated for Golden Globes for their LGBTQ+ roles.
For Criss, getting to play Cunanan in Versace was so meaningful because he and the character both shared a Filipino-American heritage. “"There’s something very twisted about the fact that somebody that I share ethnicity with, a Caucasian-Filipino-American who is famous for doing something absolutely deplorable, is now the reason that I get to sit here and talk to you," he said. "That is sort of a bizarre twist of fate."
His Emmy-winning role has seemingly helped Criss understands the importance of LGBTQ+ actors getting to play parts for which they can draw from lived experience. "The commitment to that drama is told in such a way that it can really effectively reach people’s lives. I think that really is important."