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Sir Ian McKellen defends straight actors playing gay roles: “We’re acting. We’re pretending.”

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X-Men star Sir Ian McKellen has weighed in on the ongoing debate regarding straight actors playing gay roles. Over the last few years, the topic of authentic casting has been a constant conversation within Hollywood.

Recently, Dame Helen Mirren faced backlash after she was cast as Israel’s former Prime Minister Golda Meir. Since the announcement, many have called out the film due to Mirren not being Jewish.

In an extensive BBC interview with Amol Rajan, the Lord of the Rings actor weighed in on the situation and compared the casting to straight actors playing gay roles. “There are two things: is the argument that a gentile cannot play a Jew and is the argument therefore that a Jew cannot play a gentile?” he said. “Is the argument that a straight man cannot play a gay part, and if so does that mean I can’t play straight parts and I’m not allowed to explore the fascinating subject of heterosexuality in Macbeth? “Surely not.

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