December 11, 2019 at 5:39 am EST | by John Paul King
Richard E. Grant says giving LGBTQ roles to straight actors now ‘unjustifiable’
Richard E. Grant in “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” (Image courtesy Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Veteran British actor Richard E. Grant has said casting straight actors in gay roles is “unjustifiable.”

Despite being Oscar-nominated last year for his performance as the gay partner-in-crime to Melissa McCarthy’s lesbian con artist in “Can You Ever Forgive Me,” the 62-year-old Grant – who is straight – has now added his voice to the chorus of industry professionals calling for more authentic casting of LGBTQ roles onscreen.

Speaking to the UK’s Sunday Times, the actor said, “I’ve always had that concern. The transgender movement and the #MeToo movement means, how can you justify heterosexual actors playing gay characters?”

He went on to elaborate, “We are in a historic moment. If you want someone to play a disabled role, that should be a disabled actor… I understand why and how [the shift in thinking has] come about.”

Misgivings aside, he will soon be appearing as an aging drag queen – a role he’s already finished shooting – in an upcoming film adaptation of the hit West End musical, “Everyone’s Talking About Jamie.”

The South Africa-born actor has a long and impressive resume, making his film debut as the amusingly drunk protagonist in the popular British comedy “Withnail and I” and going on to appear in films such as “L.A. Story,” “The Player,” “The Age of Innocence,” “Gosford Park,” “Bright Young Things,” and “Logan.” He has also made many appearances in theatre and television, with recent roles on such prominent shows as “Dr. Who,” “Downton Abbey,” “A Series of Unfortunate Events,” and “Game of Thrones.” He even notched an appearance on the iconic Brit-com, “Absolutely Fabulous.”

He can next be seen as a villain in “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” which blasts into theatres on December 20.

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