'Will & Grace' star Eric McCormack defends straight actors playing gay roles

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By James Kay

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Eric McCormack, who starred in the iconic sitcom Will & Grace, has made his thoughts known on straight actors portraying gay characters.

McCormack is famed for his portrayal of gay lawyer Will Truman on the NBC sitcom Will & Grace.

Will & Grace, created by Max Mutchnick and David Kohan, revolved around the lives of Will, a meticulous lawyer, and Grace (Debra Messing), a neurotic interior decorator, sharing an apartment in New York.

Originally airing from 1998 to 2006, with a brief revival between 2017 and 2020, the sitcom was heralded for its groundbreaking portrayal of LGBTQ+ characters in an era where such representation was scarce on television.

Will & Grace is celebrated for its portrayal of LGBTQ+ characters. Credit: Ron Davis/Getty

Speaking on Monday's episode of ITV's Good Morning Britain, McCormack, though straight himself, emphasized the importance of casting the "best person for the role," regardless of their sexual orientation.

“That’s a tough one for me, because I didn’t become an actor so that I could play an actor,” McCormack shared when questioned about his stance. “There’s no part I’ve ever played where I wasn’t playing something I’m not. It’s part of the gig. And I’ve always said, if gay actors weren’t allowed to play straight actors, Broadway would be over."

Continuing, McCormack expressed his perspective: “So this is what we do. I’d like to think that I represent it well. I came from the theater, and one of my best friends was a gay man. So I think I took their spirit and their message in what was otherwise just a sitcom and, represented it, I hope."

McCormack has defended straight actors playing gay characters. Credit: Manny Carabel/Getty

Asked if he believes he would land the role of Will in today's climate, McCormack replied: “Well, I guess the answer would be, they’d have to say in the casting room, ‘And you’re gay, right?' which I don’t think they can say,” he responded.

"I would like to think in general that the best person for the role, the one that comes in and knocks it out of the park, is the one that gets the part.”

Elsewhere in the interview, McCormack revealed that his longtime friend Elton John and the musician's partner David Furnish might have been among the first viewers of the sitcom in the UK.

"I sent VHS tapes to David and they watched them on their vacation," he said.

McCormack is a long-time friend of Elton John. Credit: Dave Benett/Getty

McCormack is set to make his West End debut in the musical Wild About You at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in March.

Featured image credit: Ron Davis/Getty

'Will & Grace' star Eric McCormack defends straight actors playing gay roles

vt-author-image

By James Kay

Article saved!Article saved!

Eric McCormack, who starred in the iconic sitcom Will & Grace, has made his thoughts known on straight actors portraying gay characters.

McCormack is famed for his portrayal of gay lawyer Will Truman on the NBC sitcom Will & Grace.

Will & Grace, created by Max Mutchnick and David Kohan, revolved around the lives of Will, a meticulous lawyer, and Grace (Debra Messing), a neurotic interior decorator, sharing an apartment in New York.

Originally airing from 1998 to 2006, with a brief revival between 2017 and 2020, the sitcom was heralded for its groundbreaking portrayal of LGBTQ+ characters in an era where such representation was scarce on television.

Will & Grace is celebrated for its portrayal of LGBTQ+ characters. Credit: Ron Davis/Getty

Speaking on Monday's episode of ITV's Good Morning Britain, McCormack, though straight himself, emphasized the importance of casting the "best person for the role," regardless of their sexual orientation.

“That’s a tough one for me, because I didn’t become an actor so that I could play an actor,” McCormack shared when questioned about his stance. “There’s no part I’ve ever played where I wasn’t playing something I’m not. It’s part of the gig. And I’ve always said, if gay actors weren’t allowed to play straight actors, Broadway would be over."

Continuing, McCormack expressed his perspective: “So this is what we do. I’d like to think that I represent it well. I came from the theater, and one of my best friends was a gay man. So I think I took their spirit and their message in what was otherwise just a sitcom and, represented it, I hope."

McCormack has defended straight actors playing gay characters. Credit: Manny Carabel/Getty

Asked if he believes he would land the role of Will in today's climate, McCormack replied: “Well, I guess the answer would be, they’d have to say in the casting room, ‘And you’re gay, right?' which I don’t think they can say,” he responded.

"I would like to think in general that the best person for the role, the one that comes in and knocks it out of the park, is the one that gets the part.”

Elsewhere in the interview, McCormack revealed that his longtime friend Elton John and the musician's partner David Furnish might have been among the first viewers of the sitcom in the UK.

"I sent VHS tapes to David and they watched them on their vacation," he said.

McCormack is a long-time friend of Elton John. Credit: Dave Benett/Getty

McCormack is set to make his West End debut in the musical Wild About You at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in March.

Featured image credit: Ron Davis/Getty