There’s been a bit of a fuss recently about gay actors and whether it’s better for them to be open about their sexuality or not, which emerged after Matt Damon made some slightly confused comments in an interview, that included him saying, “Whether you’re straight or gay, people shouldn’t know anything about your sexuality because that’s one of the mysteries that you should be able to play.”
At a screening of his upcoming London Spy, Ben Whishaw was asked about his thoughts, with BT reporting he said, “It feels like a story that’s trying to be drummed up, even though there are more important things we should be talking about.”
“With gay characters being played by straight people, straight characters being played by gay people… come on, we’re actors! I do not understand what the problem is. Actors play all sorts of things. I’ve played murderers, journalists and kings – I’m not any of them.
“The whole thing is a fiction, it’s about imagination, it’s play. I am baffled to why it’s such a big thing. And also, I’m baffled because it feels like we’re in a time where there are lots of gay people, not just actors but in all walks of life, and let’s be where we are. We’re human beings and I don’t understand why it’s really a discussion now.”
Although some of Damon’s comments were indeed taken out of context (particularly people saying he was advocating gay actors staying in the closet), they were a bit problematic. And while Whishaw’s comments are exactly correct for an ideal world, currently there are still issues for gay actors, particularly in Hollywood, where many still don’t believe an openly gay man can be a worldwide a-list star (whether that’s true or not), which limits their options.