Idris Elba: ‘You Don’t Necessarily Have to be Gay to Play a Gay Character’

Idris Elba taps own roots for director debut 'Yardie'

Actors Idris Elba sounded off in a recent interview, saying that an actor doesn’t necessarily have to be gay to play a gay character.

“Artistic licence is artistic licence. If an actor has the attributes to do something, they should be able to do it. They’re acting,” Idris Elba told TimeOut London. “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.”

He also shrugged off the controversy over a black James Bond, a role that Elba has been long-rumored to possibly fill.

“It’s like the debate about James Bond. It’s nonsense. It’s a fictional character. I’ve got mad respect for how Ian Fleming described him,” Elba also said. “He said he was a white guy, looked like this… That’s how it was written. But then there’s interpretation.”

Elba’s comments, though seemingly non-controversial, come at a time when many have argued that actors shouldn’t play characters that don’t match their real life sexual and gender orientation.

Recently, controversy erupted when Scarlett Johansson was cast as a transgender male in the upcoming movie Rub & Tug. The criticism of Johansson was so harsh that she left the role.

The actress bowed down to the progressive outrage, telling, “In light of recent ethical questions raised surrounding my casting as Dante Tex Gill, I have decided to respectfully withdraw my participation in the project.”


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