Jean Paul Gaultier says straight actors should be able to play gay roles

Jean Paul Gaultier during the "Fashion Freak Show" launch in black top smirking at camera

Fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier has said people should be cast in gay roles based on their acting ability, not their sexuality.

The 70-year-old haute couture designer joins a long-held debate about whether casting directors should priorities queer actors when filling queer roles in TV shows, plays and movies.

Speaking to City AM about diversity on screen Gaultier said: I think it’s fabulous. The only thing is I hope it doesn’t become like a frontal fight. 

“I heard for example there are some associations that say now to play in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, the one which is trans, it is a trans that plays a role.”

Jean Paul Gaultier "Fashion Freak Show" Launch in black top with hands outstrecthed.

Jean Paul Gaultier attends the “Fashion Freak Show” Launch. (WireImage)

People have to be chosen for their performing and good acting,” he explained, “For example, sometime there is people that are playing gay and were excellent. 

“Tom Hanks did it very well, Javier Bardem did it perfectly. Sometimes if the actor is excellent you have to choose it not because of his sexuality. Choose him because of the quality of the actor.”
The LGBTQ+ community seems to be divided on the issue with British actor Ben Whishaw saying while it can work, he “sometimes doesn’t believe” straight actors in gay roles.

Meanwhile, Ugly Betty actor Michael Urie admitted “we’ve done that, we’re tired of that, we don’t need that anymore” the straights playing gay.

Gaultier also reflected on his first time working with a trans model and said: She was looking truly like a woman, not a caricature of a woman. She was looking like a modern girl.”

He believed the fashion industry was changing its idea of men and women, adding: “It’s evolution and fashion is supposed to be evolution. It’s a reflection of society.”

As to whether Gaultier himself feels political within the LGBTQ+ community he said: I am not going to demonstrations but I think by the fact that I am gay, the fact I tried to show different races, different kind of spirits – androgyny, homosexuality – all means definitely I am.”

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