Dwayne Johnson’s movie Jungle Cruise cast straight actor Jack Whitehall to play Disney’s first openly gay character, and it’s rubbing a lot of people the wrong way.
Many believe that there are tons of LGBT actors who could do a great job in filling the role. Idris Elba, who is straight, was recently asked about the controversy and apparently didn’t seem to think it was that big of a deal.
“Artistic license is artistic license. If an actor has the attributes to do something, they should be able to do it,” Elba said to TimeOut London. “They’re acting.
“You don’t necessarily have to be gay to play a gay character,” he continued. “Though you do have to be Black to play a Black character.”
While his latter statement is certainly agreeable, the one before it is controversial, to say the least.
Did I miss the part of this story where Idris Elba came out as gay and can therefore speak to experience on this and how gay actors repeatedly get passed over for roles, or…? https://t.co/VL9VcSx8ON via @gaystarnews— Brian Gray (aka ürb) (@urbanbohemian) August 28, 2018
Nobody is disputing that fact. What the LGBTI are fighting for is inclusion. How many gay actors are allowed to play straight lead role characters????.. I will wait 👂 Idris Elba...— Juici Arse Cakes (@JuiciArse) August 29, 2018
So Idris Elba has said that it’s “nonsense” to pressure Hollywood to cast gay actors in gay roles 🙃🤔 pic.twitter.com/dLjtp4hmYt— Barry O'Rourke (@orourke28) August 30, 2018
Disappointed but not surprised by @idriselba’s comment to @TimeOutLondon on straight actors playing landmark gay roles. It’s like deciding a women’s issue based on what a man thinks. I challenge straight men to not see us as whiny bitches & look at it from this perspective ⬇️ https://t.co/6iOYx2C2M5— Danny Lee Wynter (@dannyleewynter) August 29, 2018
@idriselba I know you'd never be so idiotic as to actually say this quote, right? "— hey-yo (@EpisodeBF) August 30, 2018
“You don’t necessarily have to be gay to play a gay character. Though you do have to be black to play a black character.” You homophobic prick.
@idriselba in response to your response: basically you are saying gay people chose to be gay therefore the requirement to play gay is null but you do have to be black to play black bcyou were born black. People are born gay- so your standard should be the same across the board— Jordan DeGuise (@jdeguise04) August 30, 2018
at some point the media and people should not pretend that one oppressed minority can speak for another— Monjula Ray (@queerBengali) August 29, 2018
just like most gay white men don't really know that much about the oppression of black gays, cis-het men like Idris Elba don't get to pretend to be the expert on gay men
Idris Elba’s latest comments come after he said he definitely would not be taking over the role as James Bond. Anthony Horowitz, the author of the Bond series, once described Elba as “too street” to play longstanding character.
“It’s like the debate about James Bond. It’s nonsense,” Elba explained. “It’s a fictional character. I’ve got mad respect for how Ian Fleming described him. He said he was a white guy, looked like this … That’s how it was written. But then there’s interpretation.
“If we were always bound by the confines that something has to be [one way], people would never have expanded on things and come up with some of the most genius ideas.”
What do you think? Does Idris Elba have any bit of a point about straight actors playing gay roles, or should straight actors stick to representing themselves? Let us know in the comment section below.
Photo: Neil Mockford/GC Images