Speed Reads


Tom Hanks says he couldn't play a gay man in Philadelphia today, 'and rightly so'

Tom Hanks thinks a role that won him an Oscar couldn't happen today — and he's fine with that. 

Speaking with The New York Times, the actor looked back on his role as a gay man who suffers from AIDS in the 1993 film Philadelphia, arguing it would not be acceptable for him to play the character as a straight man today. 

"Could a straight man do what I did in Philadelphia now? No, and rightly so," he said.

Hanks reflected that "one of the reasons people weren't afraid of that movie is that I was playing a gay man," but "we're beyond that now," and modern audiences wouldn't "accept the inauthenticity of a straight guy playing a gay guy." 

Hanks won the Oscar for Best Actor in 1994 for his performance in Philadelphia, which he followed up the following year with another win for Forrest Gump

The question of whether straight actors should be able to play LGBTQ+ characters has been an ongoing debate in Hollywood. In 2021, Eddie Redmayne said he regrets taking on the role of a transgender woman in The Danish Girl as a cisgender man. "I made that film with the best intentions, but I think it was a mistake," he said.

But Andrew Garfield, who played a gay man in Angels in Americaargued to The Telegraph this year that "if we only allow people to be cast as exactly who they are, it'll be the death" of "empathic imagination."