Is it wrong for gay actors to play straight characters? Black to play white?

Some say that it’s wrong for straight actors to play gay characters, and for white to play black, so is the reverse then also true? Surely it must be?

12 Answers

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  • HMFan
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    While I understand the argument, an actor’s JOB is to inhabit the different characteristics, traits, behaviors, and motivations of OTHER people. I’m sure that when Zac Efron was cast as Ted Bundy, the producers did not force him to kill somebody so he could “know” what it felt like to be a serial killer.

    The whole conceit of acting is to be someone/something you’re not. The better actors are able to do informational and experiential research (within reason) to “get into that mental place” where their character exists, and deliver a stunning performance in which the audience truly believes that the character is real. Some actors will actually tell you that they’ve played roles where they so fully connected with their character that they had a hard time getting out of or disconnecting from the character after they finished playing him/her. Second rate actors who do not have that ability to empathize/sympathize with their character usually turn in wooden or not-very-believeable performances.

    While I believe that there is merit in “honesty in casting,” I find the practice of hiring someone to satisfy a quota somewhat dubious. Mind you I do NOT oppose Affirmative Action but I would rather hire someone because I believe in their talent and abilities, and NOT because I have to hire them because they’re black. By the same token, I think Hollywood has done a great disservice to minorities by simply assuming minority people aren’t/won’t be good enough, and propagating the whole “we need a big name” to maximize our ROI. That makes for good business but it sucks for greasing the gears of the social machinery.

  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    they do it for money, Johnny Rapid is straight and works in gay porn, dude he can takes a big fat penis up his a$$ like a pro power bottom!! a lot of bottoms can't take it like him, like this is weird i know he is actore but in holywood movies when someone hits another actually he didn’t and fake, but in porn when someone puts his penis inside you it’s not fake and he is really inside you and hurts you, at last i don’t consider it wrong 

  • Lili
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    Black people should not play white people any more than whites should play blacks, but that's a matter of appearance.  You can't make a black actor look credibly white (or vice versa), nor should you need to. There are plenty of black actors -- far more black actors than gay actors.

    However, it can be an exercise in good acting for someone to play a character of a sexual orientation that is not his own. There is no analogy between that and playing someone of another race.

    The definition of acting is becoming a personality that you are not, but this doesn't apply to appearance.

  • 2 months ago

    " actors"

    An actor is a person who presents them self to me and in doing so they portray someone who they are not.

    They might do this on live stage or on film. 

    I don't care if a straight man plays a gay character (etc) providing they do a good job at it.   Much like I don't expect a real killer to be playing a serial killer or a convicted rapist to play a sex predator in a movie. 

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  • Anonymous
    2 months ago

    Black actors shouldn’t play white characters. They should not play white characters in period movies and white novels. White actors shouldn’t play black characters. 

  • Koi
    Lv 6
    2 months ago

    Gays must play straights and straights must play gays. Whites must play blacks and blacks must play whites. 

  • Sky
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    To paraphrase Harry Shearer, the job of an actor is to play someone they're not.  If someone is a good fit for the role, their real life sexual orientation is largely irrelevant, and the sexual orientation of the character (if it's revealed) is also irrelevant unless it is actually germane to the story.  There is no reason for a gay actor to not play a straight character or a straight actor to not play a gay character.  However, their life's experience can be brought through a character to make that character more believable.  For example, if the gay characters on "Will & Grace" were played by straight actors, it may have been much more difficult for them to believably portray gay individuals because they wouldn't be automatically comfortable in the role.  Imagine Kelsey Grammer playing shoe salesman and high school football star Al Bundy instead of playing a pompous psychiatrist and leaving Al's role to Ed O'Neal who actually did have a background in sports.  Putting gay actors on "Will & Grace" put people into the role who were comfortable playing gay characters because they were already comfortable being gay people.

    Now, that isn't to say that an actor can't portray a gay character.  Tom Hanks did that quite well in "Philadelphia", and going back to Harry Shearer, he did that quite well as Mr. Smithers on "The Simpsons".  A talented actor can play any role.  But what's really important is how the script portrays the character.  If a script is written that portrays gay people/a gay character in a negative light, it doesn't matter whether the actor genuinely is straight or gay, it's going to be insulting towards gay people.  And if gay actors refuse the role because of that, they have to leave it to straight actors if the producers of the show insist on having a negative portrayal of gay people with the way that character is scripted.

    It's a lot different for black vs. white actors for roles.  While sexual orientation can be imitated, skin color is just there and any alteration requires a lot of makeup.  But even more important than that is how the character is portrayed, the purpose of having an opposite-race actor for a character, etc.  White people playing black characters is derided because of its origins back in the minstrel shows of the 1800s and early 1900s that intentionally portrayed black people in the most racist, negative way they could.  However, there is no such objection when it comes to a black person playing a white role.  Look at "Coming To America" when Eddie Murphy was transformed into the old white Jewish man in the barber shop.  He played that role spectacularly and, in my opinion, didn't portray either white people or Jewish people in any sort of negative way.  Only a butthurt idiot would object to his playing of that character.  So if the reverse was true and a white person very convincingly played a black character in a way that was in no way negative or insulting, and did it well, I can't see any logical objection to that if there is no objection to a black actor playing a white character in the same sort of way.  But if a person of one race plays a mockery of a character of another race, it's insulting either way.  (I have never seen the movie "White Chicks" to know how the portrayal of white women by black male actors was performed.)

    Returning again to Harry Shearer and "The Simpsons", voice acting is a different ballgame entirely because it is a person doing a voice impersonation for someone who doesn't exist at all.  He does the voice for Dr. Hibbert, who has always been portrayed in a very dignified way since day 1 of the show.  Likewise, Hank Azaria has been the voice of Apu, and I never perceived that character as being portrayed in any sort of negative way.  He also is the voice of the stereotypical Latin-American gay guy character and I haven't seen anyone object to that.  All they are doing is giving voices to characters; it's up to the script writers to keep them dignified.  But if a white (yellow) person like Homer can be portrayed as a buffoon, why couldn't a brown person?  And nobody objects to the boy Bart being voice acted by the woman Nancy Cartwright.  All they are doing is playing someone they are not, just the same as any other actor.  When the show started out in 1989, and on the Tracy Ulman Show before that, it was a low budget cartoon so they had to keep the staffing limited.  They couldn't give each and every character, or every character type, their own voice actor.  By the time it got really popular and successful, the characters were already established with the voices of the actors playing them.  To change the voice actor would be to basically replace the character with a lookalike.

    Whether real acting or voice acting, if someone plays a character of a different race in a way that's insulting and degrading of that other race, it's wrong in any case regardless of race.  But if someone plays a character of a different race (or sex or sexual orientation) in a way that is dignified and realistic, I can't see any logical objection to that.  The only real downside is that if the actor is portraying a minority character, the producers are denying a role to an actor of that same minority who is just trying to make it in Hollywood.

  • 2 months ago

    It's called acting, not just type casting. Like my baseball team's manager was a recruiter, not a coach.

  • 2 months ago

    I don't think it's wrong in either order. Although the thing is, there are TONS and tons of straight roles! While there's a much smaller number of gay roles! As a straight actor, you will never struggle with finding enough straight roles to play. Whereas as a gay actor, there will be only a limited amount of gay ones. So then why not try to give gay roles to gay actors, more often? As it will usually also provide for a more authentic experience, most likely. Unless, of course, they are bad, sh*tty actors. In which case, I am NOT arguing that we should hire them for gay roles, just because they're gay. And also..? I don't actually think it's some enormous tragedy if, every now and then, straight actors play gay roles. Just as long as they do a good job at it, and they portray those characters in a moving, convincing way.

    As for skin color, I don't personally really CARE if an actor is black, or white. Again, just as long as they do a good job. So a black Hermione being hired for that one play, for instance..? Does not bother me at all. And conversely, if a character was originally meant to be black, but they find that a specific white actor was more ideal for it? Then.. sure. Whatever. That would not bother me, either. Although if it's a VERY specific and important plot point that a character has to be black, or white? (Say, if it's about an interracial couple that faces racism for being interracial, or about how different people deal with their different cultures, etc.) Then I think said character should indeed be portrayed by an actor who's got the proper ethnicity for it! I don't believe in people getting dressed up and doing black face, or white face, or Asian face. I see that as offensive. Plus it's not in any way convincing, either! So.. that's where I stand on that.

    Either way, I agree with much of what you said. It's interesting, the hypocrisy of extreme SJWs, hey?

  • 2 months ago

    Acting is about playing a role.  Casting is about filing that role with the best possible person to fill the part.  If Samuel Jackson is the most awesome Nick Fury, then give me Samuel Jackson.  If Zachary Quinto is a perfect Spock, then give me some Quinto baby!  And if Sean Penn can give us an Oscar worthy performance as Harvey Milk, then... Well, actually Penn's kind of a d-bag, so maybe someone else, but you get the picture.

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