Reese Witherspoon Criticizes Actors Who Won’t Play Gay Characters: Who Is She Talking About?

Reese Witherspoon thinks it’s silly that some stars are so afraid of playing gay characters. But to which actors might she be referencing?

During a recent interview with Pridesource, Hot Pursuit co-stars Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara chatted about how much they love their gay and lesbian fans, and Reese decided to call out the straight actors who have a problem with pretending that they’re attracted to the same sex.

“I think gay people are able to play straight roles; straight people are able to play gay roles. The whole point of being an actor is to transform. If people don’t understand that we need to be malleable in our sexuality, then I think they need to lighten up.”

In other words, Reese Witherspoon doesn’t think a star needs to actually be sexually attracted to whoever is playing his/her love interest — an actor is supposed to be able to act. Sofia Vergara’s Modern Family husband, 69-year-old Ed O’Neill, is old enough to be her father. However, Sofia’s real-life boyfriend is Magic Mike hottie Joe Manganiello, a man who is four years younger than she is. You don’t hear her complaining that she can’t play Ed’s wife because he’s not her type.

Reese Witherspoon didn’t name names when she called for actors to quit worrying so much about their characters’ sexual orientation, but there are a few actors who have stated that they won’t play gay characters.

According to ET Online, Get Hard star Kevin Hart admitted that he turned down the Alpa Chino role in Tropic Thunder because he wasn’t comfortable with the character being gay. During an interview with Power 105.1’s The Breakfast Club, he was asked if he would ever play a gay character, and he revealed that he would never do it because he’s too afraid of what his fans would think.

“No — not because I have any ill will or disrespect. It’s because… I don’t think I’m really going to dive into that role 100 percent because of insecurities about myself trying to play that part. Does that make sense? Like, what I think people are going to think while I’m trying to do this is going to stop me from playing that part the way that I’m supposed to.”

Kevin Hart’s comment got a lot of buzz a few months ago, so perhaps Reese Witherspoon’s words were a direct response to his irrational fear that people might think that he’s gay if he plays gay characters.

Speaking of fear, Mark Wahlberg was comfortable playing a murderer/stalker/rapist alongside Reese Witherspoon in the movie Fear. However, he turned down a role in Brokeback Mountain because he was “creeped out” by the movie’s gay scenes.

“I met with Ang Lee on that movie, I read 15 pages of the script and got a little creeped out,” Wahlberg said, according to SF Gate. “I told Ang Lee, ‘I like you, you’re a talented guy, if you want to talk about it more …’ Thankfully, he didn’t.”

The gay scenes also scared Mark Wahlberg away from seeing the movie, and he made sure that his fans knew that he had no desire to watch it.

“I didn’t rush to see Brokeback, it’s just not my deal. … Obviously, it was done in taste — look how it was received.”

Then there’s the case of True Blood star Luke Grimes. He allegedly quit the show after finding out that his character was bisexual and would have a gay love interest. During an interview with Vulture, Nelsan Ellis slammed his former co-star for sending a horrible message to the LGBT community by walking away from the popular series.

“You make a statement, a big statement, when you go, ‘I don’t want to play this part because it’s gay.’ If you have a child, if you have a son, and he comes out as gay, what are you going to do? If you have a daughter who comes out gay…? You just made a statement, and it has ripple effects.”

Reese Witherspoon doesn’t play a gay character in Hot Pursuit, but she and Sofia Vergara do temporarily pretend to be lesbians to escape from a guy with a gun. You can check out their very awkward kissing scene below, and you check out Hot Pursuit in theaters on May 8.

Do you agree with Reese Witherspoon that actors shouldn’t worry about which sex their characters are attracted to?

[Image credit: Jason Merritt/Getty]