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Neil Patrick Harris doesn't see an issue with straight actors playing gay characters

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John Parra/Getty Images for Goldbelly(LOS ANGELES) — Neil Patrick Harris broke his silence on the debate over straight actors playing gay characters.  The A Series of Unfortunate Events star, who came out as gay in 2006, says he doesn’t see an issue.

In a Thursday interview with The Sunday Times, Harris weighed in on the comments made by screenwriter Russel T. Davies, who said he is against straight actors playing gay roles.

“I’m not one to jump onto labeling. As an actor, you certainly hope you can be a visible option for all kinds of different roles,” the 47-year-old Emmy nominee expressed, using the character he played on How I Met Your Mother — serial womanizer Barney Stinson — to illustrate his point.

“I played a character for nine years that was nothing like me,” said Harris before referencing Davies’ series Queer as Folk, which starred three straight actors as gay men.

“It was one of the real true turning points for me as examples of sexy guys behaving as leads in something of import, not as comic sidekicks,” the father of two elaborated. “There’s something something sexy about casting a straight actor to play a gay role, if they’re willing to invest in it.”

Harris also added that mentality may force actors and actresses in uncomfortable situations and also limit their opportunities, explaining, “In our world that we live in, you can’t really as a director demand that… Who’s to determine how gay someone is?”

Davies, in a previous interview, expressed, “You wouldn’t cast someone able-bodied and put them in a wheelchair. You wouldn’t Black someone up. Authenticity is leading us to joyous places.”

When asked about Davies’ comments directly, Harris understood where the Welsh television producer was coming from, saying he was “speaking more about the joyfulness of being able to be authentic.”

By Megan Stone
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