Eric McCormack Discusses Straight Actors in Gay Roles: 'It's Part of the Job'

Eric McCormack tackles casting controversies with insight.

by Zain ul Abedin
Eric McCormack Discusses Straight Actors in Gay Roles: 'It's Part of the Job'
© Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for Project Angel Food

Eric McCormack, renowned for his role as the charismatic Will Truman on NBC's iconic sitcom "Will & Grace," recently shared his insights on the ongoing debate about whether straight actors should portray gay characters on screen.

Speaking on ITV's "Good Morning Britain," as reported by Out magazine, McCormack emphasized his belief that casting should be determined by talent and suitability for the role rather than an actor's personal s----l orientation.

The accomplished actor, who identifies as straight, has been celebrated for his portrayal of a gay character, leading to a broader discussion on representation and authenticity in the acting world. McCormack argued, "The essence of acting is the ability to embody characters distinctly different from ourselves.

This transformative art is what I signed up for, not to be pigeonholed by my own identity."

Acting Beyond Labels

McCormack further articulated his viewpoint by highlighting the potential repercussions of limiting roles based on an actor's real-life s--uality, stating, "If we were to restrict gay actors from playing straight roles, the vibrant world of Broadway would cease to exist as we know it." This statement underscores his belief in the importance of versatility and diversity in acting, celebrating the craft's inherent requirement to step into various characters' lives.

"Will & Grace," which originally aired from 1998 to 2006, with a successful revival from 2016 to 2020, became a cultural phenomenon, blending humor with groundbreaking LGBTQ+ representation. McCormack, alongside co-stars Debra Messing, Megan Mullally, and Sean Hayes, brought to life a narrative that resonated with many, contributing significantly to the conversation on inclusivity and visibility in media.

In honor of the 25th anniversary of "Will & Grace," the Paley Center for Media organized a special exhibit featuring memorable costumes and props, coupled with a panel discussion with McCormack, Messing, and the show's creators, Max Mutchnick and David Kohan.

Maureen J. Reidy, the Paley Center's president and CEO, remarked on the show's historic role in enhancing LGBTQ+ representation across television and its lasting impact on society, celebrating the series' enduring legacy in shaping cultural perceptions and fostering a more inclusive entertainment landscape.