Gareth David-Lloyd (L) opened up about a conversation with his friend and former showrunner (Photo: Getty/).
Torchwood star Gareth David-Lloyd spoke about his reaction to Russell T Davies’ comments about gay actors playing gay roles.
Russell, who brought Doctor Who back to screens in 2005 and created Torchwood, has already said he wants to film gay men in his new series It’s a Sin, which follows five 18-year-olds living in London in 1981 in the midst of the AIDS crisis.
Gareth played Ianto Jones in Torchwood, a character who had a love affair with Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) and whose sexuality was described by the actor as complicated.
After Russell’s comments, he admitted he was upset and wrote an obscure tweet in response.
But after speaking to his friend and former showrunner, he explained that he now understood better what he meant – and agreed with him.
Gareth remembered chatting exclusively on Metro.co.uk: I was a little frustrated, so I tweeted a somewhat dark comment.
I was a little irritated by the insinuation that all heterosexual actors approach gay roles with the attitude of being gay. Sure, some did, and there were some very lame performances, but I think it was a little unfair to lump all straight people together when it came to dealing with gay roles.
Gareth (L) describes Ianto’s sexuality as complex (Photo: )
I felt like he was not only rubbing off on my performance in the two roles he created, but also on my opinion of the performances I admire – Michael C. Hall in Six Feet Under, Sean Penn as Harvey Milk, Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club.
I thought he must be sorry he left me and that’s why he hasn’t seen me since Torchwood! Gareth laughed. Of course, like many actors in today’s climate, I was absolutely hypersensitive.
Russell contacted me after I tweeted about it, and he was upset that it upset me. He told me that he had no regrets about my casting, that he liked the work I was doing, and that what he meant to say in that interview was essentially a call for the industry to level the playing field and give more opportunities to homosexuals, and I completely agree with him on that point. Absolutely, gay actors should be considered for gay roles in the first place.
Ollie Alexander directs the cast of Russell’s drama This Is Sin (Image: Channel 4).
Gareth said he was initially concerned that this approach would limit the options of actors who are not openly gay or who do not want to share their sexuality.
I think in order to really level the playing field, we should no longer consider awarding the lead role to straight people regardless of the character’s sexuality, especially in big movies, he added.
Russell, whose drama This Is Sin stars Ollie Alexander, Omari Douglas and Callum Scott Howells, has already announced his decision to Radio Times : It doesn’t wake me up… but I feel like when I play someone in a story, I play them as a lover, or as an enemy, or as someone who does drugs, or as a criminal, or as a saint…. They’re not here to be gay, because being gay is much code for a show. It’s all about authenticity, taste of 2020.
Russell founded Torchwood (Photo: WireImage).
You don’t put an outpatient in a wheelchair, you don’t blackmail someone. Authenticity takes us to happy places.
As for his comments on The One Show, the writer noted that I’m just one of hundreds of programmers – hundreds more can do whatever they want. I’m not responsible.
Read more: Russell T. Davis
He continued: But just for my program, for these five hours, I wanted to create a safe space where gay actors could come voluntarily and be themselves.
I think it created a real atmosphere, for lack of a better word. I think there is an energy coming from the screen that is true, and I am very, very happy with the end result.
Metro.co.uk has contacted representatives of Russell T Davies for additional comment.
Sin starts tonight at 9:00 on Channel 4. Torchwood is available for streaming on iPlayer.
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