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Ben Whishaw is ‘baffled’ by debate over straight actors playing gay roles

Ben Whishaw is ‘baffled’ by debate over straight actors playing gay roles

Ben Whishaw said he does not understand the heat around Matt Damon's comments on gay actors.

Ben Whishaw says he is ‘baffled’ by the debate over straight actors playing gay roles.

The openly gay 34-year-old, who plays Q in the Bond movies, made the comments at a screening of his new BBC mini-series London Spy.

‘With gay characters being played by straight people, straight characters being played by gay people, come on, we’re actors,’ he said.

‘I do not understand what the problem is. Actors play all sorts of things. I’ve played murderers, journalists and kings – I’m not any of them. The whole thing is a fiction, it’s about imagination, it’s play. I am baffled to why it’s such a big thing.

‘And also, I’m baffled because it feels like we’re in a time where there are lots of gay people, not just actors but in all walks of life, and let’s be where we are. We’re human beings and I don’t understand why it’s really a discussion now.’

Whishaw also addressed Matt Damon’s controversial comments on gay actors.

The 44-Martian star told The Guardian last month that as an actor, ‘people shouldn’t know anything about your sexuality because that’s one of the mysteries that you should be able to play.’

‘The Matt Damon thing, it has probably been taken out of context but I don’t understand the heat around it,’ Whishaw said.

‘It feels like a story that’s trying to be drummed up, even though there are more important things we should be talking about.’

Ellen Page was less forgiving.

‘He doesn’t have a point because he related it to sexuality,’ the openly gay actress said.

‘Heterosexual actors and actresses do not have to go to great lengths to hide their sexuality. Yes, of course, keep your private life private. Protect yourself. Have boundaries. When you’re a public person, you need to think about your safety.

‘But if it’s in relation to sexuality, then no – that’s an unfair double standard.’