Rebel Wilson wades into gay role debate: ‘It’s total nonsense’

Rebel Wilson wades into gay role debate: ‘It’s total nonsense’

The idea that gay actors should be the only ones able to play gay roles is a continual source of debate.

But Hollywood star Rebel Wilson, famed for her roles in The Hustle and hit franchise Pitch Perfect, rejects this idea completely.

Wilson, who got engaged to a woman over a year ago, argued the idea that “only straight actors can play straight roles and gay actors can play gay roles” is “total nonsense”.

The 44-year-old Australian actress told Lauren Laverne on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs that performers should be able to play any role they want. This came after she was asked if women can get away with different jokes compared to their male counterparts.

Wilson said: “Yeah, I don’t think there’s a different standard, it’s more this thing about – if you are something then now, you’re allowed to joke about it. So, say, if you are overweight, you can say jokes. But if you’re not (you can’t) that’s kind of what’s currently happening. So, it’s not really gendered.”

The Bridesmaids actor added: “I always think, in comedy, your job is to always flirt with that line of what’s acceptable. Sometimes you do step over it but, at the end of the day, you are trying to entertain people.”

Rebel Wilson with fiancée, Ramona Agrumer (Getty Images for AFI)
Rebel Wilson with fiancée, Ramona Agrumer (Getty Images for AFI)

From Freddie Mercury to Lydia Tár, there have been many queer roles played by non-LGBT performers in recent years.

Wilson’s views have been echoed by other actors, including Stanley Tucci and Kristen Stewart, who described the debate as “a grey area”. However, in 2018, Glee’s Darren Criss vowed to avoid LGBT+ roles altogether.

Criss said he came to his decision as he doesn’t want to be “another straight boy taking a gay man’s role”.

Paul Mescal, who recently depicted a gay love interest in Andrew Haigh drama All of Us Strangers, argued that straight actors should be allowed to play queer roles but on one condition. The Irish star told The Sunday Times that “it depends who’s in charge of telling the story”.

Mescal explained: “The issue is that there have been so many queer performances in cinema that have been offensive, but that’s because the filmmakers and actors have been careless.”