Rupert Everett is speaking out about a role he feels should’ve been his — specifically, George Falconer in “A Single Man,” who was played by Colin Firth.
Speaking on “Piers Morgan Uncensored” (via The Independent), Everett touched on the topic of straight actors playing gay roles, and while he doesn’t think all gay roles should be played by gay actors, he seemed annoyed that the straight-identifying Firth played a gay role in Tom Ford’s 2009 film.
“It’s quite frustrating. I was frustrated, I remember going to see Colin Firth in the film by Tom Ford [‘A Single Man’]. I thought, ‘Well, thanks, Colin. That’s the end of my career. Because you know, that role really should have been mine,” he said. “So you know, there’s a frustration about that, of course.”
In the film — which is directed by a gay man from a novel by the beloved gay writer Christopher Isherwood — Colin Firth plays a gay English professor with a death wish after his lover (Matthew Goode) dies in a wreck.
“There’s many examples of fantastic straight actors playing great gay roles. Then there’s some less good, and I think the question is more, ‘Why can’t gay actors play straight roles?’” Everett said.
The actor broke big playing an openly gay public school student in 1984’s “Another Country” opposite Colin Firth.
“The thing that was very frustrating, when I had my big Hollywood moment, which was playing a gay best friend and being gay, it was at that point very difficult to graduate,” Everett said, speaking of his role as George Downes in the 1997 Julia Roberts rom-com “My Best Friend’s Wedding.”
“I knew I had to try and graduate to playing something else apart from just that role,” he continued. “I felt that it was more or less impossible. I don’t think gay actors should just play the gay roles. But the gay actors should be able to play the straight roles, too.”
The discussion of gay actors playing certain roles also segued into remarks on trans inclusivity in Hollywood, with Everett pointing to Scarlett Johansson withdrawing from playing a transgender character in “Rub & Tug” in 2018.
“People forget that Hollywood is a business. So for example, when Scarlett Johansson was stopped from playing a trans role, there simply wasn’t a trans actress at that point big enough to sustain a 50-60 million dollar movie,” Everett said.
“I found that was a mistake of the trans community because there were probably lots of other trans roles in the film that would have been played by trans actresses and Scarlett Johansson wasn’t going to be doing some portraits that was anti-trans. So I felt it was slightly blinkered attitude.”
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