In an interview with UK LGBT glossy
Attitude, out actor Andrew Rannells talked about straight actors
playing gay roles.
Rannells is promoting his latest
project: Ryan Murphy's film adaptation of the Tony Award-nominated
musical The Prom.
In the musical, four washed-up Broadway
stars travel to Edgewater, a small fictional town in Indiana, looking
to help a lesbian teen who was not allowed to take her girlfriend to
the high school prom. The actors claim they are there to help the
teen, Emma Nolan, but are mostly pursuing headlines.
The movie stars Meryl Streep, Nicole
Kidman, James Corden, Andrew Rannells, Ariana DeBose, Keegan-Michael
Key, Kerry Washington, and Kevin Chamberlin. Newcomer Jo Ellen
Pellman stars as Emma Nolan.
Rannells was asked about playing a
straight role in the film, while Corden, who is straight, took on the
“What do you anticipate the reaction
to that will be? Because it will go against a lot of people’s
expectations,” asked Attitude.
“You know, I kinda go back and forth
about this,” Rannells
answered. “Obviously, representation is very important, but
what I feel that Ryan [Murphy] does so well is, you know, it’s the
best person for the job, quite frankly. In the same way that James
can play the gay character, he’s also given me an opportunity to
play a straight character, which is not something I do all the time.
As much as he takes [an actor’s sexuality] into consideration, I
think ultimately he’s looking for talent and parts, and he’s
given me the opportunity to play this part which maybe another
director wouldn’t have cast me in, and I’m very grateful for the
When asked whether the story hit close
to home, Rannells, who grew up in a small town in Nebraska, answered,
“I was very lucky, my family was
incredibly supportive,” he said. “I came out after high school
before I moved to New York for school, but I’m grateful to say I
had a very easy coming out. But certainly, [Corden's] character did
not, and unfortunately, that experience is probably a little more
realistic than the one I had. I came out to my mother, I told her
‘Mom, I’m gay’, and she was like ‘Yuh-huh’. When I was a
kid I wanted to be a Solid Gold dancer, which was like a dance show
in the US in the ‘80s. That was my dream job, so I’m pretty sure
my parents had a sneaking suspicion there was something special about
The Prom is now streaming on