Big Bang Theory Star Jim Parsons Says Gay Characters Should Be ‘Open To All Actors’
The Big Bang Theory star Jim Parsons says gay characters should be ‘open to all actors’.
The comments come in the wake of James Corden’s controversial performance as Barry Glickman in Ryan Murphy’s The Prom, igniting further debate over whether straight actors should take on LGBTQ+ roles.
Parsons, who played Sheldon Cooper in the sitcom as well as appearing Netflix’s The Boys in the Band, believes all characters should be open to everyone, as long as they’re treated with respect.
In a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times, he said, ‘There’s definitely this spectrum: I think the fight, as it were, is not about having only gay people play the gay parts but to ensure that all parts are open to all actors. It’s important that gay characters are portrayed as well-rounded and completely human individuals.’
The actor, who’s married to producer Todd Spiewak, added, ‘And there are plenty of straight actors who have played gay characters brilliantly. I think Brokeback Mountain is one of the most touching gay movies and love stories I have ever seen, and those two straight actors [Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal] were the best choices for those roles.’
Following the release of The Prom, critics immediately honed in on Corden’s performance. IndieWire‘s Zack Sharf wrote on Twitter, ‘The Prom shouts about tolerance but has James Corden leaning into effeminate gay stereotypes every chance he gets. Someone make it make sense?’
AwardsWatch’s Erik Anderson also tweeted, ‘The main, and huge, drawback is James Corden. His performance is gross and offensive, the worst gayface in a long, long time. It’s horrifically bad.’
Jedward slammed the performance on Twitter, writing that he was ‘offensively playing every gay stereotype! There are incredible LGBTQIA+ actors that should have been casted for this role’.
While Corden didn’t comment on the backlash, it came hot on the heels of Kristen Stewart’s comments ahead of the release of Happiest Season, her festive rom-com that bucks the heteronormative Christmas movie trend by centering on a gay couple.
She told Variety, ‘I would never want to tell a story that really should be told by somebody who’s lived that experience. Having said that, it’s a slippery slope conversation, because that means I could never play another straight character if I’m going to hold everyone to the letter of this particular law.’
Stewart added, ‘I think it’s such a grey area. There are ways for men to tell women’s stories, or ways for women to tell men’s stories. But we need to have our finger on the pulse and actually have to care.’
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