Nicholas Galitzine coyly addresses whether straight actors should play gay roles

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 21: Nicholas Galitzine attends STARZ's premiere of "Mary & George" at The Biltmore Los Angeles on March 21, 2024 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for STARZ)

Nicholas Galitzine – star of queer historical romp Mary & George – has given his take on whether straight actors should play queer roles.

As far as modern-day heterosexual actors playing queer roles go, few have got Nicholas Galitzine beat.

Yes, there’s Josh O’Connor, who’s appeared in several queer flicks (and another in the works), as well as the maybe-gay Challengers. There’s Paul Mescal, who starred opposite Andrew Scott in Andrew Haigh’s All of Us Strangers and is set to join O’Connor in The History of Sound. There’s even the more obvious Jake Gyllenhaal and late Heath Ledger in Brokeback Mountain.

Galitzine, though, has his own fearsome track record of on-screen LGBTQ+ roles. As well as Handsome Devil, Legends and The Craft: Legacy, to name a few – Galitzine has more recently gone from bottoming for the son of the President of the United States in Red, White & Royal Blue, to topping the King of England in Mary & George. Now that’s what we call versatile.

Speaking on SiriusXM’s The Jess Cagle Show, Galitzine (who is next set to be seen opposite Anne Hathaway in romantic drama The Idea of You) has addressed the discourse around straight actors playing queer roles in a very roundabout way.

“Is it fun or weird or what for you as a straight man to be… an icon for the gay community, especially for young gay people because of Red, White & Royal Blue, but also Handsome Devil?” Cagle asked, adding:

You may like to watch

“You have taken on not just gay characters or fluid characters, but these men who are incredibly fascinating characters that … people are really drawn to.”

Replying, Galitzine said, “I feel so overwhelmingly proud of the resonance. I feel like I’ve been able to have and been so touched by conversations I’ve had with people from the community…

“First and foremost, I love interesting, textured characters and I’m so glad you mentioned those [roles], because I feel like I have a lot of care for my characters and I hope that is evident in the work that I do and I feel very powerful with their backing behind me, so yeah. Just very grateful.”

After Cagle prompted the actor to give his take on the ‘queer-roles-going-to-straight-actors’ debate, Galitzine gave an answer by praising his roles, and how important they are to him, without fully addressing any possible criticism.

Nicholas Galitzine as King James' gay lover George Villiers in the trailer for Mary & George
Nicholas Galitzine stars as King James’ gay lover George Villiers in Mary & George. (Sky TV/AMC)

“Oh, [I] totally [get that arugment] and I feel so lucky to have been able to play those young men,” he began.

“I mean, you know, you look at Conor Masters from Handsome Devil and Prince Henry from Red White & Royal Blue. I mean, these are two young men completely trapped by circumstance and feel a sense of deep claustrophobia on their lives.

“They can’t be who they are and with [Mary & George character] George it’s the opposite in a lot of ways. It is his power. It is how he dominates people. It is how he accrues wealth for his family, and so, you know, they were just all really rich on the page, and I feel very lucky that I’ve been able to play them.”

SiriusXM’s The Jess Cagle Show hosted by Jess Cagle and co-host Julia Cunningham airs Monday through Friday at 2pm ET on Radio Andy (Ch. 102), and anytime on the SiriusXM app.