Rebel Wilson joins heated Hollywood debate

Comedian Rebel Wilson seriously participated in the debate about whether straight actors should play gay characters.

In an interview published on Sunday by the BBC's Desert Island Discs, Wilson, who is engaged to a woman, commented on political correctness: “If you are something, you are now allowed to make jokes about it.” This means that if you are overweight, you are allowed to make jokes about fat people, she said.

When asked by presenter Lauren Laverne whether this was a “good thing” or whether she found it limiting, the “Bridesmaids” star changed the subject.

“I think that’s difficult,” she said.It's about saying, 'Only straight actors can play straight roles and gay actors can play gay roles,' which I think is utter nonsense.”

“I think you should be able to play any role you want,” the “Rebel Rising” author continued. “But I always think the job in comedy is to flirt with the line of what is acceptable. Sometimes you cross it, but ultimately you're trying to entertain people. I'm telling you, you're not going to entertain if people are always playing it safe and protecting themselves. That's not going to make good comedy.”

Open image modal

Rebel Wilson supports actors who play gay and straight roles.

Matt Winkelmeyer via Getty Images

Wilson's comments fueled a controversy that has grown in recent years. Stanley Tucci, who played a gay man with dementia in 2020's “Supernova,” said last year, “I really believe that as an actor you're supposed to play diverse people. That's just who you are.”

Others have made strong counterarguments. Writer and producer Russell T. Davies said LGBTQ+ actors should be cast in appropriate roles for “authenticity reasons.” Eddie Redmayne, who played a transgender woman in 2015's “The Danish Girl,” said in 2021 he would no longer accept such a role to encourage representation of others on screen.

“The bigger discussion about the frustrations of casting is because a lot of people don't have a seat at the table,” he said. “There has to be a leveling out, otherwise we're going to keep having these debates.”