War of Words

There was a war of words between Aaron Sorkin and Billy Eichner.  It started with Aaron defending the casting of the Spanish Javier Bardem as the Cuban Desi Arnaz.  “Spanish and Cuban are not actable.  If I was directing you in a scene and said: ‘It’s cold, you can’t feel your face.’  That’s actable.  But if I said: ‘Be Cuban.’  That is not actable.  It’s heartbreaking and a little chilling to see members of the artistic community re-segregating ourselves.”  He then added, “You can act being attracted to someone, but you can’t act gay or straight.  So this notion that only gay actors should play gay characters?  That only a Cuban actor should play Desi?  Honestly, I think it’s the mother of all empty gestures and a bad idea.”  While I applaud Sorkin, the analogy enraged Eichner.  “Completely ignorant of how Hollywood has treated its openly LGBTQ+ actors for a century.  Talking about shit he doesn’t fully comprehend.  Scared that Hollywood isn’t (entirely) ruled by straight men anymore.  Go write yourself a ‘walk and talk’ back into the past.  Merry Christmas!”  A curious coda given Sorkin and Eichner are both Jewish.

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Darren Criss waded into the same waters.  He previously said he would no longer play gay roles “to make sure I won’t be another straight boy taking a gay man’s role” – which begs the question…is one still a “boy” in their mid-30s?  Criss recently said the following: “No matter what I say, I’m going to get into the same mess that I’ve always gotten in, which is me being what I believe is very fair and diplomatic, but nobody’s interested in that, because compassion is not currently in vogue.  So I don’t know what to say…There are so many performances that are either straight roles given by queer actors or queer roles that are done by straight actors that are so beloved, that we just don’t talk about those.  But if they’re done poorly, we get up in arms and we blame it on the fact that this person isn’t queer, this person isn’t straight, as opposed to maybe they just weren’t the right person for the job?”  This begs a second question – if he’s no longer accepting gay roles, will Darren Criss ever work again?

 

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