Andrew Garfield Insists That Reserving Gay Roles Exclusively For Gay Actors Is "The Death Of Empathic Imagination"

By Gina Florio··  2 min read
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Andrew Garfield

Andrew Garfield has starred in a wide range of roles that have captured the hearts of many different audiences, and his latest role in "Tick, Tick... Boom!" earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.

Andrew Garfield has always been an artist first and foremost, which has allowed him to develop a successful acting career both on stage and on the big screen. In 2017 he played the role of Prior Walter in the stage play Angels in America; Walter's character was a gay Aids patient who is a prophet. That role sparked the conversation of whether straight actors should play gay roles, and Garfield's response was pretty clear.

Andrew Garfield Doesn't Think That Gay Roles Should Be Reserved for Gay Actors

In a recent interview with Telegraph, Garfield made it pretty clear where he stands on this issue. He was prompted with the question of whether straight actors should play gay roles and it's evident that he has given this some thought already.

“I think it’s two different conversations getting conflated,” he said. “One is about equality of opportunity, and I’m completely in on that. Because we should want a world in which no matter your sexual orientation, your color or your heritage, everyone gets a fair whack."

"But the other is about empathic imagination, and if we only allow people to be cast as exactly who they are, it’ll be the death of it," he said. "So the two separate conversations have to happen simultaneously. Because I’m not willing to support the death of empathic imagination. It’s what we need most as a culture, and it’s beautiful. It’s the only thing that’s going to save us right now.”

Garfield is a straight man who dated Emma Stone for four years and is now in a relationship with Alyssa Miller. He doesn't see any reason why he should be prevented from taking on gay roles, especially because the whole point of acting is to, well, act.

In a culture where straight actors are berated for taking on LGBT roles or trans roles (like Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl), it's refreshing to hear some common sense from an A-list actor like Garfield.

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