Ellen Page Discusses LGBTQ Casting: "I Can’t Play A Straight Person?"

Straight actors who play get awards. Gay actors who play straight don't.

By Eric Shorey

The #OscarsSoWhite controversy has created a lot of discussion around the way diversity plays (or, often doesn't play) into the Hollywood system. While many of these conversations have been about race, fewer have been about sexuality. For example: why is it that straight actors win awards for playing queer, but gay actors don't win awards for playing straight?

This is precisely the question Ellen Page tackled in an interview with Elle UK. Here's what she had to say on the subject:

"Zachary Quinto is out, and he stars in one of the biggest blockbuster franchises ... I have four projects coming up – all gay roles. People ask if I’m concerned about getting pigeonholed. No one asks: ‘Ellen, you’ve done seven straight roles in a row – shouldn’t you shake it up and do something queer?"

"There’s still that double standard," she continued. "I look at all the things I’ve done in movies: I’ve drugged a guy, tortured someone, become a roller-derby star overnight. But now I’m gay, I can’t play a straight person?"

Page's comments are echoed by fellow queer actor Sir Ian McKellen, who recently told The Guardian:

“No openly gay man has ever won the Oscar; I wonder if that is prejudice or chance ... What about giving me one for playing a straight man?

My speech has been in two jackets … ‘I’m proud to be the first openly gay man to win the Oscar.’ I’ve had to put it back in my pocket twice.”

It's great to see so many people talking about these important issues, but the real question remains: what is anyone going to do about them?

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