Actor Nathan Lane thinks actors picked for gay roles shouldn’t be based on their real-life sexuality, but their talent instead.
“We just had The Normal Heart [with] Mark Ruffalo, fantastic job,” he said at a TV critics’ meeting last week. “I think who’s right for the part and most talented should be hired.”
Ruffalo, who’s straight, played a gay man battling AIDS in the show. Lane himself has played both gay and straight characters.
Earlier this year, actor Rupert Everett said he doesn’t think he is granted as many opportunities because he an openly gay actor.
“Straight men get every opportunity to play gay parts that they don’t want and then win tons of awards for doing so,” he told BBC’s HARDtalk. “But the other way doesn’t really work out. The mainstream actor has had to become straighter and straighter and straight.”
Lane, however, said he wouldn’t have had the opportunities he had if he was stuck just playing a gay man.
“That way only madness lies…I wouldn’t have played Nathan Detroit or Max Bialstock if casting followed such rigid rules,” he said. Lane won a Tony Award for his role as Bialystock in The Producers.
As gay characters have become more prevalent in Hollywood, the industry has been criticized for casting straight actors to play the role, like Will and Grace when straight actor Eric McCormack was casted as a gay man.
Lane is up for another Tony this year for his role as a gay burlesque dancer in the 1930s in The Nance.