Russell T Davies: It's important to cast gay actors as gay characters

  • Bang Showbiz
  • 12 January 2021
Russell T Davies

Russell T Davies

Russell T Davies thinks it is "authentic" to cast homosexual actors as gay characters because he insists "'acting gay’ is a bunch of codes for a performance"

Russell T Davies thinks it is important to cast gay actors as gay characters.

The 57-year-old screenwriter has expressed the importance of "authenticity" when casting actors for his upcoming drama 'Its A Sin' as he believes it will lead to "joyous places".

He told Radio Times magazine: “I’m not being woke about this … but I feel strongly that if I cast someone in a story, I am casting them to act as a lover, or an enemy, or someone on drugs or a criminal or a saint … they are not there to ‘act gay’ because ‘acting gay’ is a bunch of codes for a performance. It’s about authenticity, the taste of 2020.

“You wouldn’t cast someone able-bodied and put them in a wheelchair, you wouldn’t black someone up. Authenticity is leading us to joyous places."

The Channel 4 series – which stars Olly Alexander, Neil Patrick Harris and Stephen Fry – is set during the 1980s AIDS epidemic and follows a group of young gay men who move to London.

It is loosely based on Russell's own experiences as an 18-year-old gay man during the beginning of the AIDS crisis.

He explained: “I was 18 in 1981, just like Ritchie [played by Olly], so the bones of this story were always in me, but it took a long time to get there. Maybe I had to reach this age first.

“I must have known hundreds of lads like them [the characters in 'It’s A Sin'], but though we all had those mad nights on the town, I was lucky, I escaped HIV. I was rather more well behaved than my characters, that’s why I write them doing what they do. "But in the 1980s I kept my head down and worked a lot, I didn’t start going out properly on the gay scene until I was in my 30s, in the 90s.”

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