Ongoing Debate

Neil Patrick Harris says it’s “sexy” to cast straight actors in gay roles

Harris in ‘How I Met Your Mother’

Actor Neil Patrick Harris has weighed in on the ongoing backlash to heterosexual actors playing gay roles. The 47-year-old, Emmy-winning actor maintains the best actor for the role should get the job.

Harris, who has played a variety of straight and gay characters on stage and screen throughout his career, shared his thoughts with The Times.

“I think there’s something sexy about casting a straight actor to play a gay role — if they’re willing to invest a lot into it,” Harris said. “I played a character for nine years [the womanizing Barney on How I Met Your Mother] who was nothing like me. I would definitely want to hire the best actor.”

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“In our world that we live in you can’t really as a director demand that [an actor be gay or straight],” Harris added. “Who’s to determine how gay someone is?”

The remarks come as a subtle rebuttal to Harris’ current director, Russell T. Davies of the upcoming British series It’s a Sin. Davies has vocally criticized other films and series–including those made by queer producers, directors and writers–for casting heterosexual actors as LGBTQ people. Davies also claims that casting gay actors as heterosexual characters is not a double standard, as LGBTQ people face more discrimination.