Ben Whishaw calls for more gay actors in straight roles

By Keiran Southern, Press Association Los Angeles Correspondent

Ben Whishaw has called for more gay actors to be given the roles of straight characters.

The British star won a Golden Globe for his portrayal of a gay man in A Very English Scandal, which also featured Hugh Grant.

Darren Criss, a straight actor who played the role of a gay man in The Assassination Of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story, recently said he would no longer play a queer character for fear of depriving a gay man of a job.

Ben Whishaw won a Golden Globe for his role in A Very English Scandal (Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

However, Whishaw said he does not believe a performer’s sexuality should limit what characters they play.

He said: “No. I don’t think that should happen because I really believe that actors can embody and portray anything and we shouldn’t be defined only by what we are. I think there was a time when we didn’t know anything about actors, they were very mysterious. But now we know everything.

“So no, I don’t think that. On the other hand, I think there needs to be greater equality. I would like to see more gay actors playing straight roles. It needs to be an even playing field for everybody that would be my ideal. I don’t know how far we’re away from that.”

Whishaw added: “That’s where we should be aiming.”

Whishaw also starred alongside Emily Blunt in Mary Poppins Returns, the sequel to the classic 1964 original.

The new film’s box office success led to calls for a third instalment, however Whishaw believes there should be a “long break” before any new movie.