Netflix's “The Boys in the Band” reunites the cast from the 2018 Broadway revival of the groundbreaking 1968 play.
This means that the movie has an all-gay cast rather than straight actors playing gay roles. For the actors, it was important to have an authentic representation in this production.
“We’re living in a time where representation is incredibly important,” Zachery Quinto tells Yahoo Entertainment. “A straight person wants to play a gay role, that’s great, but let’s just open the door the other way around,” he adds.
“I think everyone should get to play all the roles” Matt Bomer says. “It's about getting the opportunity.”
Jim Parsons, who played cisgender character Shelton Cooper on “The Big Bang Theory,” adds: “All gay roles need not be played by gay people. They are in this case, and beautiful so.”
“The Boys in the Band” streams on Netflix Sept. 30.
- This old college friend of mine is in town. And he's stopping by for a fast drink on his way to dinner somewhere, but he's straight, so--
- Straight. If he's the one I met, he's about as straight as the yellow brick road.
ETHAN ALTER: What's so interesting about the production is openly gay actors played all the roles for this particular production. Are we past the time where straight actors should be-- are the default casting for projects like this? Is it time for more representation?
ZACHARY QUINTO: I don't know that we're past it entirely. I think we're certainly living in a time where representation is incredibly important in telling stories. And authentic representation has become more important than ever. So my hope is that we're moving more in that direction, but I'm also interested in moving in the direction where gay actors are more welcome to play straight characters. So if a straight person wants to play a gay role, that's great, but let's just open the door the other way as well.
ROBIN DE JESUS: I don't think that we should subscribe to a world in which straight folks come into the queer world and get Oscars, and we can't even get the opportunity to get into the room to audition for said role. But also, I want to be able to play straight roles. I want to be able to have that opportunity as well. But we need to have more of our own people represent our own people before we can fully have that fluidity. But the goal always is that fluidity.
MATT BOMER: I think the word that Robin mentioned that's so important is opportunity. I think everyone should get to play all the roles, but it's about making sure people have the opportunity and can get in the rooms to have the opportunity to play them. And then let the best actor win for the part.
CHARLIE CARVER: I do think best efforts should be made, especially in the instance of making stories about sexuality or sexual identity, to have actors of that same identity tell these stories. But I don't think there needs to be an orthodoxy about these things. It does so much to combat homophobia too, to have recognizable straight actors take on these roles.
JIM PARSONS: A gay person should be without question up for the role of Superman without having to make him gay or even to care about it, and that people will still come and see that, if he's the right person-- or she-- [LAUGHS] for the role of whatever it is. And we're making progress in that way. You push further than maybe you want to go sometimes, and the story gets a little muddied. Like both of them has said, all gay roles need not be played by gay people. They are in this case, beautifully so.
BRIAN HUTCHISON: I don't think that if you're gay, you should only play gay characters. And I don't think if you're straight, that means you have to play straight characters. I've played many straight characters. And I think things will change when it's not as big a deal to be gay. And that's happening, but I want to see more characters where being gay is not the struggle. I mean, this is a historical piece, so obviously that's what it is about. And it's the original piece.
But things will change, I think, when there are more stories where there are gay characters and it's not even mentioned. It's just part of who they are. And I think then it sort of seeps into the collective subconscious, and everybody can sort of move along with it.
MATT BOMER: Being a part of this cast where everyone was openly gay, which was unheard of-- and certainly for me, there was a communal understanding not only of the importance of the piece, but of rolling up our sleeves, and doing the work to tell this story, and sort of appreciate each other for what we were trying to do.
ETHAN ALTER: Speaking to the question of representation, obviously "Star Trek" is a very diverse franchise. You played Spock. And now, on "Star Trek-- Discovery," they have a non-binary and transgender character this season. So are you happy to see that franchise is a model for that?
ZACHARY QUINTO: "Star Trek" has always been a franchise that has represented the idea that diversity ultimately, if embraced and celebrated, brings us together. Gene Roddenberry was a visionary in that regard. And it doesn't surprise me that "Star Trek-- Discovery" is continuing in that vein, but it certainly makes me happy to see.