'Doctor Who's Matt Smith defends playing gay character in Mapplethorpe biopic

Ben Arnold
Contributor
Matt Smith (Credit: Getty)

Matt Smith has defended his choice to play iconic photographer Robert Mapplethorpe in a forthcoming biopic movie.

Smith, who is not gay, was questioned on the debate over whether non-LGBT actors should play LGBT characters on screen, such as Mapplethorpe, who was gay.

He quickly shut down such argument, however, saying that it should have ‘no bearing’ on the matter.

Speaking at an event in New York (via Vulture) where he and the movie’s producer Eliza Dushku discussed the film, he said: “I think your sexual orientation, or your sex and your choices outside of work, shouldn’t influence — in either way, positive or negative — what happens.

“So, to me, it doesn’t matter if you’re gay or straight. That has no bearing on whether you should get the part.”

(Credit: Samuel Goldwyn Films)

Smith extrapolated the argument further.

“Where does it stop?” he added. “Like, do we then say, do we apply that logic to going, ‘Okay, I’ve got a part, and it’s playing a brother, and he’s addicted to heroin.’ Do we then go to people that have only taken heroin?”

Several movies of late have come under scrutiny for casting straight actors in gay roles, notably Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury in Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, and Olivia Colman’s Queen Anne in The Favourite (though hard evidence of Anne being gay remains scarce).

Meanwhile, actor Darren Criss has said that he would no longer take, if offered, roles of gay men.

“I want to make sure I won’t be another straight boy taking a gay man’s role,” he said.

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