Torchwood star Gareth David-Lloyd has opened up on his response to Russell T Davies’ comments about gay actors playing gay roles.
Russell, who brought Doctor Who back to screens in 2005 and created Torchwood, previously explained that he wanted to cast gay actors in his new series It’s A Sin, which follows five 18-year-olds living in London amid the AIDs crisis in 1981.
Gareth played Ianto Jones on Torchwood, a character who had a loving relationship with Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman), and whose sexuality the actor describes as ‘complicated.’
Following Russell’s comments, he admitted he was upset and posted a ‘sulky’ tweet in response.
However, after chatting to his friend and former showrunner, he explained he’s come to a better understanding of what he meant – and agrees with him.
Chatting exclusively to Metro.co.uk, Gareth recalled: ‘I was a bit upset so I tweeted a little sulky comment.
‘I was a little upset with the implication that all straight actors approach gay roles with a mind to “act gay”. Of course there are those that do that and there have been some really cringy performances but I think to tar all straight actors with the same brush on approaching gay roles was a little unfair.
‘I did feel like he was rubbishing not only my performances in the two roles that he created, but also my opinion on performances that I admire – Michael C Hall in Six Feet Under, Sean Penn [as] Harvey Milk, Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club.
‘I thought, he must regret casting me and that’s why he hasn’t seen me for anything since Torchwood!’ Gareth laughed. ‘Of course I was being completely oversensitive, as a lot of actors are in the current climate.
‘Russell contacted me actually after I tweeted that and he was mortified that he’d upset me, he told me he had no regrets casting me and he loved the work that I’d done, and what he wanted to achieve in that interview was basically a call to the industry to balance the playing field and give gay actors more opportunities and I completely agree with him on that. Absolutely, gay actors should be considered for gay roles first.’
Gareth said he initially worried that this approach would limit opportunities for actors who aren’t openly gay, or don’t want to share their sexuality.
‘I think to really level the playing field, I think more non-straight actors should be considered for roles full stop, regardless of the character’s sexuality, especially big leads,’ he added.
Russell, whose drama It’s A Sin stars Olly Alexander, Omari Douglas, and Callum Scott Howells, previously told Radio Times of his decision: ‘I’m not being woke about this… but I feel strongly that if I cast someone in a story, I am casting them to act as a lover, or an enemy, or someone on drugs or a criminal or a saint… they are not there to “act gay” because “acting gay” is a bunch of codes for a performance. It’s about authenticity, the taste of 2020.‘You wouldn’t cast someone able-bodied and put them in a wheelchair, you wouldn’t black someone up. Authenticity is leading us to joyous places’.
Elaborating on his comments on The One Show, the writer pointed out: ‘I’m just one programme maker amongst hundreds – hundreds of others can do whatever they want. I’m not in charge.’
He continued: ‘But for my one programme, for these five hours, I wanted to create a safe space where gay actors could voluntarily come in and be themselves.
‘I think it’s created a genuine vibe, for want of a better word. I think there’s an energy that rises off the screen and a truth, and I’m very, very happy with the end result.’
It’s A Sin begins tonight at 9pm on Channel 4. Torchwood is available to stream on BBC iPlayer.
Credit: Original article published here.