Out actor Nathan Lane on Tuesday
praised Mark Ruffalo's performance in the HBO AIDS drama The
Taking questions from TV critics, Lane
was asked if he believes gay roles should be solely portrayed by gay
“We just had The Normal Heart
[with] Mark Ruffalo, fantastic job,” he said. “I think who's
right for the part and most talented” should play the part.
Ruffalo, who is openly straight,
tackled his first gay role in The Normal Heart.
“That way only madness lies. … I
wouldn't have played Nathan Detroit or Max Bialystock,” Lane said,
a reference to straight parts he played in Guys and Dolls and
The Producers, respectively.
earned a Tony nomination for playing a gay burlesque performer in The
Nance. The play, set in the
1930s, airs October 10 on PBS' Live from Lincoln Center.