Russell T. Davies Explains Why He Only Casts Gay Actors in Gay Roles

Russell T Davies attends the 2019 Attitude Awards 2019 - Getty - H 2020
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Russell T. Davies

"You wouldn’t cast someone able-bodied and put them in a wheelchair, you wouldn’t black someone up. Authenticity is leading us to joyous places," said the 'It's A Sin' and 'Years and Years' creator.

Russell T. Davies, the British TV creator behind Queer as Folk, the BBC's Doctor Who revival and recent hit Years and Years, has discussed only casting gay actors in the role of gay male characters.

Speaking to the Radio Times, Davies — whose latest show, HBO Max/Channel 4 It's A Sin is set during the 1980s AIDS epidemic — stressed that "authenticity" was a crucial factor.

"I’m not being woke about this… but I feel strongly that if I cast someone in a story, I am casting them to act as a lover, or an enemy, or someone on drugs or a criminal or a saint… they are not there to 'act gay' because 'acting gay' is a bunch of codes for a performance. It’s about authenticity, the taste of 2020," he said.

"You wouldn’t cast someone able-bodied and put them in a wheelchair, you wouldn’t black someone up. Authenticity is leading us to joyous places."

It's a Sin, following a group of young gay men who move to London just as the epidemic starts and loosely based on Davies own experiences in the early 1980s, stars Olly Alexander, Neil Patrick Harris, and Stephen Fry. The five-part drama is due to launch on Channel 4 and HBO Max on Jan 22.