Kristen Stewart: Straight Actors Playing Gay Roles is 'Gray Area'

by Kevin Schattenkirk

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Tuesday November 24, 2020

Kristen Stewart believes that straight actors playing gay roles is a "gray area."

In an extensive new interview with Variety, the actress explains that the conversations surrounding who plays what types of roles is much more complicated than simply saying straight actors shouldn't play gay roles. Stewart, who identifies as bisexual, is currently promoting her latest rom-com, "Happiest Season," in which she plays Abby, a Doctoral student in history whose girlfriend Harper (played by Mackenzie David) takes her home for Christmas.

"I would never want to tell a story that really should be told by somebody who's lived that experience. Having said that, it's a slippery slope conversation because that means I could never play another straight character if I'm going to hold everyone to the letter of this particular law," Stewart says.

With regard to how communities' stories are portrayed and the responsibility incumbent upon actors — and Hollywood, in general — Stewart further explains that while she doesn't "have a sure-shot answer," nonetheless, "we need to have our finger on the pulse and actually have to care. You kind of know where you're allowed. I mean, if you're telling a story about a community and they're not welcoming to you, then fuck off. But if they are, and you're becoming an ally and a part of it and there's something that drove you there in the first place that makes you uniquely endowed with a perspective that might be worthwhile, there's nothing wrong with learning about each other. And therefore helping each other tell stories."

Or, as Stewart says more directly to her colleagues in film and television: "fucking think about what you're doing! And don't be an asshole."

Kevin Schattenkirk is an ethnomusicologist and pop music aficionado.