Tom Hanks says he couldn’t play Philadelphia role today ‘and rightly so’

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Tom Hanks has said he could not now make Philadelphia, in which he played a gay man dying of Aids.

The Hollywood actor, 65, played lawyer Andrew Beckett in the 1993 film, a man who is fired from his job after his bosses discover his sexuality.

Speaking to The New York Times Magazine, he said: “Let’s address, ‘Could a straight man do what I did in Philadelphia now?’ No, and rightly so.

“The whole point of Philadelphia was: don’t be afraid. One of the reasons people weren’t afraid of that movie is that I was playing a gay man.

“We’re beyond that now, and I don’t think people would accept the inauthenticity of a straight guy playing a gay guy.”

London Literature Festival
(Ben Stevens/PA)

Hanks was speaking during an interview to promote the new Elvis Presley biopic, in which he plays the late rock and roll star’s manager, Colonel Tom Parker.

High-profile examples of straight performers playing LGBT characters include Rami Malek’s Oscar-winning portrayal of Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody and Taron Egerton’s turn as Sir Elton John in Rocketman.

Last year, acclaimed British screenwriter Russell T Davies said straight actors should not play gay characters on screen.

Amid the debate over who should be allowed to play what roles, Davies compared a straight actor playing a gay character to black face.

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