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Russell Tovey defends Jack Whitehall for playing gay: ‘Just let him act’

Russell Tovey defends Jack Whitehall for playing gay: ‘Just let him act’

Russell Tovey at San Diego Comic-Con.

British actor Russell Tovey has weighed in on straight stars playing gay roles.

Speaking about comedian Jack Whitehall playing Disney’s first openly gay character in upcoming movie Jungle Cruise, Tovey said critics should ‘just let him act’.

Jack Whitehall
Jack Whitehall | Photo: The Graham Norton Show

The gay star of TV shows Quantico and Being Human also said the fact Whitehall is straight shouldn’t prevent him from playing the part.

‘If you’re an actor, you’re an actor,’ Tovey told in an interview with UK newspaper The Telegraph.

He furthermore added: ‘The whole thing with Jack playing a gay character… I’m like, just let him act.

Russell Tovey has played straight roles

Tovey has played straight on multiple occasions, as in TV show Him & Her. He said sexual orientation doesn’t affect an actor’s performance.

‘It’s like me saying I could never play a straight character because I am not going to know a straight person’s thoughts,’ he also said.

‘I’ve always been out, and happy with the range of characters I’ve been offered. I’ve had the most amazing opportunities.’

Tovey will be on the London stage in Pinter, a collection of one-act plays by Nobel Prize-winning British playwright Harold Pinter.

His next projects also include two movies, The Lover and The Collection.

Tovey isn’t alone in defending Whitehall

Idris Elba and Richard Madden star in the action film Bastille Day
Idris Elba on Whitehall: ‘artistic licence is artistic licence’.

Tovey is just the latest actor who defended Whitehall.

Last month, Idris Elba also offered his take on the controversy in an interview with Time Out.

‘If an actor has the attributes to do something, they should be able to do it,’ he said.

‘They’re acting. You don’t necessarily have to be gay to play a gay character – though you do have to be black to play a black character.’

Jungle Cruise will hit theaters in November 2019.

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