In a new interview with HuffPost UK, actor Eric McCormack — star of Will & Grace — explained why he thinks the conversation about straight actors playing gay roles is a dumb one.
“If anybody had a problem with me playing Will, I’d just say, ’go back and watch 200 episodes and tell me if you still have a problem,” he said.
McCormack’s next argument involves another actor who is gay, saying if he (McCormack) can’t play gay roles — then why should Neil Patrick Harris be able to play straight ones? He says: ″And then go and watch every episode of How I Met Your Mother where Neil Patrick Harris plays a straight guy. I think it’s a dumb conversation.”
McCormack did explain however that he feels “differently” when it comes to cisgender actors portraying transgender roles.
He explained: “That’s just different. It is as important as a black man should play a black man and an Indian woman should play an Indian woman, that we start to give transgender people a chance to play themselves.
“Just as Will and Jack were kind of new for a lot of America back then, so is the idea of what a transgender person is and can be.”
“And so I think it’s important they have their voice. But in the meantime, if I can’t play a gay man… then why should I play a dentist? Because I’m not a dentist either.”
Will & Grace was brought back to NBC last year after its last season in 2006. It was nominated for two Golden Globes, one for McCormack’s portrayal of Will Truman, and the other for Best Comedy series. They lost in both categories.
During its original run, Will & Grace was heralded as one of the most successful television series with gay principal characters.