Tom Hanks has said in a new interview that he couldn’t play a gay lawyer in Philadelphia today.
Hanks earned a Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of Andrew Beckett, a gay attorney who was battling workplace discrimination after being diagnosed with AIDS.
In a new interview with The New York Times Magazine published today (June 16), Hanks said it was “rightly so” that this was the case now, as Hollywood looks for more diversity in its casting.
“Could a straight man do what I did in Philadelphia now? No, and rightly so,” Hanks told the publication.
“The whole point of Philadelphia was don’t be afraid. One of the reasons people weren’t afraid of that movie is that I was playing a gay man.” Hanks added: “We’re beyond that now.”
“I don’t think people would accept the inauthenticity of a straight guy playing a gay guy,” he went on.
“It’s not a crime, it’s not boohoo, that someone would say we are going to demand more of a movie in the modern realm of authenticity. Do I sound like I’m preaching? I don’t mean to.”
In his Oscar acceptance speech for the role, Hanks said: “I know that my work in this case is magnified by the fact that the streets of heaven are too crowded with angels. We know their names. They number a thousand for each one of the red ribbons that we wear here tonight.”
Back in 2018, Hanks and his Philadelphia co-star Denzel Washington marked the 25th anniversary of the film by appearing in a powerful video about the progress made in tackling HIV and AIDS since the release of the landmark film.