Tom Hanks: Impossible today to play the gay protagonist of Philadelphia


In 1994, Tom Hanks won the first Oscar of his acting career for the dramatic film Philadelphia. There, the Californian embodied Andrew Beckett, a lawyer from the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, who in order to keep his job, must hide his homosexuality and his HIV-positive medical condition. The cast also included Denzel Washington, in the role of Joe Miller, a legal representative who becomes an ally of the protagonist in the fight for his rights.

Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington in Philadelphia (1993)

Philadelphia, directed by Jonathan Demme, also won the Academy Award for Best Original Song (“Streets of Philadelphia” by Bruce Springsteen) and nominations for Best Original Screenplay and Best Makeup. It is also recognized for being one of the first popular Hollywood productions to speak openly about HIV and homophobia. However, Tom Hanks accepts that if he wanted to film that same feature film today, the demands would be very different.

In a recent interview with New York Times (via ew), the veteran actor chose to include Philadelphia in the type of “timely movies that you may not be able to do now”. The interviewer’s question was how Hanks saw the landscape of today’s culture, where multiple people would object to a homosexual character falling into the hands of a heterosexual actor, as he did. However, he doesn’t see it as a problem, just an indication that we live in different times of greater diversity and inclusion that allow the LGBT community to represent itself on screen.

“There is nothing you can do about it,” he said. “But let’s see, could a straight man do now what I did in Philadelphia? No, and with good reason. The objective of Philadelphia was not to be afraid. One of the reasons people weren’t afraid of that movie is that I was playing a gay man. We’re beyond that now, and I don’t think people will accept the inauthenticity of a straight man playing a gay man.”

And I add:

“It is not a crime. [No es lloriqueo] someone saying that we are going to demand more from a movie in the modern realm of authenticity. Do I sound like I’m preaching? It is not my intention”.

In the same conversation with ewTom Hanks accepted that Forrest Gump -where he personified a man with a low IQ- would not be an allowable film for our days either. On the other hand, days before, the actor still defended Robert Zemeckis’ nineties film for its human values ​​and the emotional connection between his characters.

Now, nearly thirty years after those Oscar-winning films, Hanks is still very active in the film industry. In 2022, we will see it in the biopic Elviswhich opens theatrically on July 14, and in the live action Pinocchiowhose arrival at Disney Plus will happen on September 8 of the current year.

The entry Tom Hanks: Impossible today to play the gay protagonist from Philadelphia was first published in Cine PREMIERE.



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