Andrew Scott warns against only LGBT actors playing those roles

Andrew Scott attends The Olivier Awards.

Actor Andrew Scott has warned against the expectation that only LGBT+ actors play LGBT+ roles.

The Sherlock star spoke to The Huffington Post ahead of the release of Fleabag Season 2, where Scott plays a priest who develops a close bond with Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s main character.

According to Scott, chemistry between the actors is the most important element in the casting process.

“It’s not remotely difficult for me to have chemistry with Phoebe Waller-Bridge and that goes for a lot of women I’ve played opposite. It’s ludicrous and almost insulting to say otherwise,” he said, adding: “The most important thing is that you have a real chemistry with the person you’re playing opposite.”

Actress and Fleabag creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge casted Andrew Scott as her character's love interest

Actress and Killing Eve creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge casted Andrew Scott as her character’s love interest in the new season of Fleabag. (Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty)

Scott is the latest actor to offer his thoughts on the issue of representation in acting.

Darren Criss, who won several awards for his portrayal of gay serial killer Andrew Cunanan in American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace, said in December he would no longer play LGBT+ roles as to avoid being “another straight boy taking a gay man’s role.”

While Scott, who is gay, acknowledged a disparity in terms of who is hired for certain roles, he said it’s important for actors to play characters outside of their immediate experience.

“I think going down the road of ’a person is that they have to play that,’ is dangerous.”

— Andrew Scott

He said: “There hasn’t been a particularly level playing field with regards to who gets to play what. I can only speak for myself, but I think it’s very important that all of us are able to imagine acting is about being empathetic: what is it like to be in someone else’s shoes?

“So, I think it’s dangerous territory to go down sometimes to think that we’re only allowed to play our own—not just our own sexuality, but our own nationality or identity—that we’re only allowed to… represent things that are within our experience.”

Scott added: “I think we have to look at every individual situation and make sure everyone gets the chance to play all the different parts. But I think going down the road of ’a person is that they have to play that,’ is dangerous.”

Gay actor Ben Wishaw, who recently won a Golden Globe for best supporting actor in a limited series or TV movie for his part in BBC mini-series A Very English Scandal, in which he played gay model Norman Scott, also mentioned the need for equal opportunities for all actors in all role when asked about the issue in January.

“I really believe that actors can embody and portray anything and we shouldn’t be defined only by what we are,” he said, adding: “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.”