Andrew Garfield received acclaim for his performance as a gay man diagnosed with AIDS in the revival of the play Angels in America, but there was some criticism, too.
Speaking to The Independent, the 35-year-old actor responded to critics who felt a straight actor shouldn’t have been taking on the role of an LGBTQ character.
“I understand the complaint,” Garfield said. “I think [Angels playwright] Tony Kushner put it best. He said, ‘It’s illegal for me to ask someone who they f**k in terms of hiring them for a job. That’s none of my business who someone sleeps with. The only question I have as the playwright is, are they right for this character?’ He said that if we only let people play who they are, then it’s the death of empathic imagination. I think that’s beautifully put, and I agree with it.”
But Garfield also acknowledged that “taking such a role means potentially taking it away from an LGBTQ person. The community has suffered so much oppression. As a straight, white male, with so much privilege in this world, I believe my job right now is to pay attention, to listen and to be an ally.”