Birdcage and The Producers actor Nathan Lane has hit out at the notion that straight actors shouldn’t be allowed to take on gay roles, praising Mark Ruffalo’s performance in The Normal Heart as an example where a heterosexual actor has shined in a gay role.
Lane made the comments at a meeting of TV critics on Tuesday, noting that he wouldn’t have been able to take on some of his iconic roles if he wasn’t allowed to play straight characters as a gay man.
‘We just had ‘The Normal Heart’ [with] Mark Ruffalo, fantastic job. I think who’s right for the part and most talented [should get the part],’ Lane said, according to Salon.com.
‘That way only madness lies … I wouldn’t have played Nathan Detroit or Max Bialystock [if I’d only been allowed to play gay characters],’ Lane said, referring to characters he performed in Guys and Dolls and The Producers.
Lane won another Tony Award this year for his performance in The Nance, about a gay burlesque performer in 1930’s New York.
A taping of the hit Broadway show will be screened on PBS on 10 October this year.