Fry: 'It's not brave to play gay characters'

Stephen Fry has criticised the way straight actors are congratulated for playing gay characters.

He questioned why heterosexual male stars are hailed as “brave” when they kiss other men on screen.

The QI host was speaking about the single status of his TV character solicitor-sleuth Peter Kingdom in the ITV1 Sunday night drama.

He told the Radio Times: “I think the fact that I’m so well known to be gay makes it very difficult to have a convincing relationship with a woman on screen.

“Straight actors can play gay people and they’re rather congratulated on it.

“People say ’Ooh, how brave of you’.”

But Fry, 50, added that no one says to a gay actor who plays a heterosexual person: “’How brave of you to kiss that woman, that must have been very difficult for you’.”

He said: “It wouldn’t be at all difficult for me to kiss a woman – I’ll kiss a frog if you like. And why should it be difficult for a man to kiss another man?”

Fry added: “It’s difficult to ride bareback backwards while unicycling, but to kiss someone isn’t difficult.

“It’s just part of the insanely irrational way that the human mind works.”

The star said it would have been selfish of him to hide the fact that he was gay.

He said: “If you... have had the experiences I have had, not to share them where they can be useful is just mean.

“The obvious case is coming out as a gay man, which I did when it was quite a rare thing to do.

“You think of the average person in the playground who’s terrified of being beaten up, or the people who are not in a job like mine, where it doesn’t really matter, and these people need to be reassured that they’re not alone and they’re not freaks.”

His comments come after a slew of Hollywood stars have won acclaim for playing gay characters.

Philip Seymour Hoffman starred as Truman Capote in a movie about the gay author, Jake Gyllenhaal and Heath Ledger were cast as secret lovers in Brokeback Mountain and Tom Hanks a gay lawyer in Philadelphia.

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