‘Glee’ Actor Darren Criss Says He Won’t Play Gay Characters Anymore


Actor Darren Criss on Glee

Actor Darren Criss has said he’s no longer comfortable playing gay characters, because he fears a gay actor may miss out on the role as a result.

Criss rose to fame playing gay character Blaine Anderson on Glee, and recently played gay serial killer Andrew Cunanan in American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace.

The actor told Bustle that the roles appealed to him because of their complexity, which made them exciting to play.

He said playing the queer roles had “been a real joy,” but he no longer wants to be a part of Hollywood’s lack of LGBTIQ representation.

“There are certain [queer] roles that I’ll see that are just wonderful,” Criss told the publication.

“But I want to make sure I won’t be another straight boy taking a gay man’s role.”

Criss called his discomfort “unfortunate” because “getting to play those characters is inherently a wonderful dramatic experience.”

“It has made for very, very compelling and interesting people,” he said.

Hollywood has copped heated criticism in recent years for casting predominantly straight actors in its few gay roles, and giving transgender roles to cisgender actors.

Scarlett Johansson dropped out of playing a transgender male character earlier this year following a backlash.

At the time, Transparent actress Trace Lysette said at the time that Scarlett’s casting as crime boss Dante “Tex” Gill was representative of a wider problem in Hollywood.

“I wouldn’t be as upset if I was getting in the same rooms as Jennifer Lawrence and Scarlett for cis roles, but we know that’s not the case,” Lysette said.

Sir Ian McKellen has also been a vocal critic of Hollywood’s attitudes towards gay actors, pointing out no openly gay man has ever won a best actor Oscar.

But straight actors have won the prize for playing LGBTIQ roles, with Tom Hanks winning for Philadelphia and Sean Penn for Milk.

A report from advocacy group GLAAD, released in May, found LGBTIQ representation in Hollywood’s top 109 films had dropped from 18.4 per cent in 2016 to 12.8 per cent in 2017.