Skip To Content

    Benedict Cumberbatch Shared His Thoughts On Straight Actors Playing Gay Characters Onscreen

    "It wasn't done without thought."

    Benedict Cumberbatch is defending his role in his new film The Power of the Dog.

    Benedict wears a navy suit and brown tie
    Roy Rochlin / Getty Images

    The modern Western flick follows a macho cattle rancher who torments his brother's new family — until he realizes he may be falling for the young son of the widow his brother married.

    View this video on YouTube

    Netflix / Via youtube.com

    While the film has received great reception so far, it has raised questions about straight actors playing LGBTQ roles.

    Benedict wears a black suit and skinny black tie
    Ernesto Ruscio / Getty Images

    Benedict, who is straight, recently opened up about his choice to take on the role, which he says he tried to do with great consideration.

    "I feel very sensitive about representation, diversity, and inclusion. One of the appeals of the job was the idea that in this world, with this specific character, there was a lot that was private, hidden from view," he said during the Telluride Film Festival.

    Benedict holds a microphone while speaking on stage
    Vivien Killilea / Getty Images

    He continued, "It wasn't done without thought. I also feel slightly like, is this a thing where our dance card has to be public? Do we have to explain all our private moments in our sexual history? I don't think so."

    Benedict wear a white tee and grey suit jacket
    Barcroft Media / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

    Benedict previously portrayed a gay man while playing mathematician Alan Turing in The Imitation Game. He says the role helped inform him about the conversation that comes with a straight actor taking on a gay role.

    A screenshot of Benedict playing Alan
    Weinstein Company / ©Weinstein Company/Courtesy Everett Collection

    But overall, Benedict says the decision to cast him in the The Power of the Dog came down to director Jane Campion — and any concerns were "her question to answer."

    The Power of the Dog hits theaters on November 17 and streams on Netflix starting December 1.

    BuzzFeed Daily

    Keep up with the latest daily buzz with the BuzzFeed Daily newsletter!

    Newsletter signup form