Benedict Cumberbatch has weighed in on straight actors playing gay roles in Hollywood movies.
The 45-year-old is set to play a sexually repressed cowboy in the new Netflix film, The Power of the Dog.
According to IndieWire, Cumberbatch said the role appealed to him because a lot about the character remained ‘private’.
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At the Telluride Film Festival, he explained: “One of the appeals of the job was the idea that in this world, with this specific character, there was a lot that was private, hidden from view.”
He added that the director, Jane Campion, specifically ‘chose these actors’ for the roles, adding: “I also feel slightly like, is this a thing where our dance card has to be public?
“Do we have to explain all our private moments in our sexual history? I don’t think so.”
Cumberbatch plays Phil in the film, which is based on the 1967 novel of the same name.
In the book, the character’s sexuality is hinted at but never overtly confirmed by the author, Thomas Savage.
The synopsis for the film reads: “A domineering but charismatic rancher wages a war of intimidation on his brother’s new wife and her teen son until long-hidden secrets come to life.”
Heterosexual males playing gay characters is not a new thing, with Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal having famously played lovers in Brokeback Mountain.
Cumberbatch himself has previously played Alan Turing in The Imitation Game. He was a World War II codebreaker who was convicted on ‘indecency’ charges for his relationship with a man and tragically, he underwent chemical castration.
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