As queer roles become more and more common, one question is raised again and again: Should gay characters always be portrayed by gay actors?
Andrew Scott, who nabbed a Golden Globe nomination for his performance in Andrew Haigh’s All of Us Strangers, just weighed in on the debate. Scott, who’s been out and proud for more than a decade, said that representation is a double-edged sword.
“I remember growing up and reading Empire magazine and thinking I would never get a chance to play leading roles in the cinema. And I am thrilled that has changed,” he told Screen Daily.
“As much as I feel like representation is important, so is transformation,” Scott continued. “I don’t love the idea of being cast for something purely for my own sexuality — you’re not just playing ‘gay,’ you’re playing the attributes of the character. I don’t want a totalitarian regime — we have to look at each individual story we’re telling and what’s right for that.”
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That applies to his All of Us Strangers co-star Paul Mescal. The two actors play neighbors turned lovers in the film, meaning they had to navigate intimacy on set.
“Paul is a really hard worker — he wants it to be right and he wants the tone of it to be right,” Scott said. “I love that the relationship is so tender between the two of them. Sometimes sex scenes between two male actors can veer towards the sexual and I think it is more radical to show the tenderness between these two people — not that these things have to be mutually exclusive.”
Scott also added that the pillowtalk he and Mescal shared on-screen was even more intimate than the sex itself: “Sometimes those scenes that are postcoital have a gentleness that can feel more exposing than the ones that were purely physical,” he said.
That’s not to say Scott didn’t enjoy the physical aspects, too. On a red carpet last month, he shared that Mescal is a good kisser, and the two were spotted out at a gay club together to celebrate Scott’s birthday. Even if the two aren’t a couple in real life, their chemistry is alive and well.
All of Us Strangers hits theaters on December 22.
His “All of Us Strangers” co-star Andrew Scott confirmed on the red carpet that Mescal’s talents go far beyond acting.
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