Stanley Tucci is addressing the ongoing debate about straight actors playing queer characters.
Tucci, who famously starred as the gay fashion editor in ‘The Devil Wears Prada,’ spoke about the role’s legacy during the film’s 17th anniversary.
“Obviously I think it’s okay,” Tucci said during BBC Radio 4’s ‘Desert Island Discs’ show on portraying queer characters. “I’m always really flattered when gay men come up to me and talk about ‘The Devil Wears Prada’ or talk about ‘Supernova,’ and they say, ‘It was so good,’ you know, ‘You did it right.’ Because it’s often not done right.
Tucci also played a gay character in the 2020 film ‘Supernova’. He is married to Emily Blunt’s sister, whom he met during “The Devil Wears Prada.”
“An actor is an actor is an actor,” Tucci continued. “You should play different people. You just are. That’s the point.
Tom Hanks, who won an Oscar for playing a gay man with AIDS in 1993’s “Philadelphia,” told The New York Times Magazine last year that he wouldn’t star in a queer storyline today.
“Are we talking about ‘could a straight man do what I did in ‘Philadelphia’ now?’ No, and rightly so,” Hanks said at the time. “The whole point of ‘Philadelphia’ was not to be afraid. One of the reasons people were not afraid of that film is that I played a gay man. , and I don’t think people would accept the inauthenticity of a straight guy playing a gay guy.”
He added, “It’s no crime, it’s no boohoo, for anyone to say we’re going to ask for more than one film in the modern realm of authenticity.”
Conversely, Zachary Quinto called out the assumption that queer actors can’t authentically portray straight characters.
“There’s still a tremendous amount of fear around particularly openly gay men in our industry,” Quinto said. “There’s this long-standing and stubborn belief that identifying as an openly gay man on some level means you’re inherently less masculine, inherently less believable as a straight character.”
Quinto previously added: “You look at how many straight actors are playing gay roles and how that door doesn’t open as much the other way… There’s a lot of controversy about people playing roles that actually align with who they authentically are. It’s an interesting moment, isn’t it? Part of the nature of being an actor is stepping out of ourselves and having experiences that are not in line with who we are. But the political climate and the race for equality have somewhat shifted the ground around that notion and I think we have to be patient and see how things settle down.