Actors who are (not) sorry for roles that crossed gender & sexuality lines

Convincing people that you are somebody you are not used to be the definition of acting. But now, claims from the LGBT community that certain roles should be reserved for them sometimes get actors in trouble. Read Full Article at ...

Convincing people that you are somebody you are not used to be the definition of acting. But now, claims from the LGBT community that certain roles should be reserved for them sometimes get actors in trouble.

Queer characters must be portrayed by queer actors only, and if you happened to have violated this rule sometime in the past, it’s high time for you to apologize for stealing the spotlight from somebody better suited than you based on their identity.

At least that seems to be the notion behind remarks made last week by English actor Eddie Redmayne. He dared to play Lili Elbe, a Danish transgender woman famous for undergoing a series then-experimental sex reassignment surgeries (and tragically dying from complications).

Redmayne, a cis man, told The Sunday Times that while he played Elbe in the 2015 biopic ‘The Danish Girl’ “with best intentions,” he now considers it a mistake. The film was criticized by trans activists for promoting “harmful stereotypes” about trans people and failing to cast a trans actor for the role.

RT recalls some other actors who got burned by queer identity politics in the past.

Scarlett Johansson, ‘Rub and Tug’

Scarlett Johansson © REUTERS / Lucas Jackson

In 2018, Scarlett Johansson was still recovering from woke backlash over her starring in the live-action adaptation of classic Japanese sci-fi anime ‘Ghost in the Shell’. The actress was deemed guilty of ‘whitewashing’ in the form of playing an android, whose artificial body, self-appointed judges decided, should have had Asian features.

Fresh from the scandal, she drew more flak for accepting the lead role in ‘Rub and Tug’, a biopic of American trans man, gangster and pimp Dante “Tex” Gill. She exited the project a week after the news broke, calling her previous decision “insensitive.”

Three years on, the trans community is yet to see the cross-dressing Pittsburgh kingpin played in a movie by any kind of actor.

Halle Berry, unidentified project

Halle Berry © REUTERS / Mario Anzuoni

A story virtually the same as Johansson’s happened with Halle Berry last year. She revealed in an interview that she was preparing for casting in a project she really liked and that the character she wanted to play was “a woman that transitioned into a man.”

This, of course, didn’t go well with trans representation activists, who blasted Berry both for laying a claim on a role that they thought only a trans actor could get and for “misgendering” the character.

She apologized profusely and pulled out of the casting process, saying that “the transgender community should undeniably have the opportunity to tell their own stories.” She never named the title she was talking about.

Julianne Moore, ‘The Kids Are All Right’

Julianne Moore © REUTERS / Mario Anzuoni

The 2010 queer drama ‘The Kids Are All Right’ was praised by critics and got both Julianne Moore and her co-star Annette Bening BAFTA nominations for their portrayals of a same-sex married couple. But a decade later, she expressed reservations about playing a bisexual character as a straight woman.

“I look back and go, ‘Ouch. Wow.’ I don’t know that we would do that today, I don’t know that we would be comfortable,” she told Variety, adding that the film industry needs to give “real representation to people.”

Director Lisa Cholodenko responded, saying casting Moore and Bening didn’t feel “phony” to her at the time.

Julianna Margulies, ‘The Morning Show’

Julianna Margulies © REUTERS / Mario Anzuoni

While the pressure is mounting to validate minority groups’ entitlement to roles corresponding to their gender and sexuality, some straight cis actors are pushing back. Just last month, Julianna Margulies defended her casting as a lesbian journalist in the second season of ‘The Morning Show’ TV series. 

She said she believed straight people can portray gay characters just like gay actors can portray straight characters.

“Are you telling me that because I’m a mother, I can never play a woman who has never had a child? Or, if you’ve never been married, that you can never play a married woman? You have to be careful on where you’re drawing the line there,” she said. Hers is drawn at not playing someone of a different race.

Selena Gomez, ‘In the Shadow of the Mountain’

Selena Gomez © REUTERS / Mario Anzuoni

Margulies’ attitude is apparently shared by Selena Gomez, who is producing and starring in a biopic of Peru-born mountaineer Silvia Vasquez-Lavado. The climber is an LGBT icon and the first openly gay woman to conquer the Seven Summits, the tallest mountains on the seven continents.

It’s not like Gomez was not criticized for the transgression of being straight while playing a gay person, but she has a major advantage on her side. Vasquez-Lavado helped write the script for the film based on her autobiography and enthusiastically endorsed the actress to star in it.

“It was unimaginable that Selena Gomez was willing to do this,” she told the Spanish news agency EFE, adding that she has “a lot of admiration” for the actress.

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