Sunday 25 August 2019

Suranne Jones says actors are singled out when playing LGBT roles

The Gentleman Jack star has said actors are just one part of any project.

Suranne Jones has spoken about portrayals of sexuality. (Ian West/PA)
Suranne Jones has spoken about portrayals of sexuality. (Ian West/PA)

By Craig Simpson, Press Association

Suranne Jones has said straight actors are singled out when playing LGBT roles.

The Gentleman Jack actress, who plays lesbian diarist Anne Lister, has said the controversy of portraying a different sexuality on screen would not be as great if people thought “more intelligently”.

She has said that actors are the target of complaints about LGBT representation, with directors, writers and other staff not being taken into account.

Jones has told Radio Times magazine that if the entire staff on a project were considered, controversy would fade away.

The actress plays the 18th century figure Lister, who wore male dress created a coded diary of her life, including her conquests of women.

Jones has said that as the figurehead of a show tackling LGBT issues, she is the one who would be the target of criticism over on-screen sexuality.

She said: “Actors are just the face of a project. On this job, there were a lot of gay, lesbian and straight people giving their input, and I think people forget that when they point the finger at actors and say that only straight actors should play straight parts.

“No-one ever points the finger at directors and writers, which I find odd. I think that’s because we’re the face.

“If people thought about it a little more intelligently, the question wouldn’t come up so much.”

Jones has said that her character is a fascinating subject, who just happens to be a lesbian. The sex scenes in the show, she says, avoided being gratuitous.

The full interview with Jones can be read in Radio Times magazine, out today.

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