Whatever role Darren Criss tackles next, he won’t be playing a gay man.
The actor, who won an Emmy for his portrayal of gay serial killer Andrew Cunanan in “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story,” told Bustle in an interview published Tuesday that he has pledged not to play queer characters anymore in order to make space for LGBTQ actors in the industry.
“There are certain [queer] roles that I’ll see that are just wonderful,” he said. “But I want to make sure I won’t be another straight boy taking a gay man’s role.”
Criss, 31, has played several queer characters and became a household name thanks to his starring turn as gay high school student Blaine on the musical comedy series “Glee.” He then took Broadway by storm in the lead role in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.”
Criss said it’s “been a real joy” and “inherently a wonderful dramatic experience” to bring LGBTQ characters to life but that he no longer feels comfortable taking those roles.
The actor has previously spoken about his deep affection for the LGBTQ community and has welcomed a critical eye regarding his queer-focused career choices.
“I’ve been really fortunate in that, while I almost bizarrely invite that, there hasn’t really been any scrutiny,” Criss told The Daily Beast earlier this year. “As a straight, cisgender white guy, I can definitely see how people in the LGBTQ community could be a little weirded out about the consistency of these roles. But it’s not conscious. I’m not going, ‘Ooh, I’m going to go after all these queer roles.’ It’s sort of no different than a gay actor only doing straight roles. I think in our political climate those things are important to talk about and important to notice.”
Criss proposed to longtime girlfriend Mia Swier in January, after more than seven years of dating.
Audiences increasingly have little patience for actors who who are not part of the LGBTQ community playing queer characters on screen.
Scarlett Johansson dropped out of the upcoming film “Rub and Tug,” about a transgender massage parlor owner, after her casting was widely criticized.
In her apology, the “Avengers” star expressed a “great admiration and love for the trans community” and expressed gratitude that her casting has resulted in a conversation about inclusivity in Hollywood.