Tom Hanks may have won an Oscar for his role as a gay AIDS lawyer in the 1993 film ‘Philadelphia’ – but he doesn’t think his performance would go down well today.
And “rightly so,” he said in an interview with The New York Times Magazine, published Wednesday.
“Could a straight man do what I did in ‘Philadelphia’ now? No, and rightly so,” he said. “The whole point of ‘Philadelphia’ was to not be afraid. One of the reasons people weren’t afraid of that movie was because I was playing a gay man.”
Hanks added that “we’re beyond that now.”
“I don’t think people would accept the inauthenticity of a straight guy playing a gay guy,” he continued. “It’s not a crime, it’s not boohoo, for someone to say we’re going to demand more from a film in the modern realm of authenticity. Do I sound like preach? I don’t want to.”
Hanks won his first Best Actor Oscar for his performance in “Philadelphia” as Andrew Beckett, a gay lawyer diagnosed with AIDS and struggling with workplace discrimination. Hanks won his second Best Actor Oscar a year later for playing the title role in 1994’s “Forrest Gump.”
In his “Philadelphia” acceptance speech, Hanks said his work in the film “is amplified by the fact that the streets of heaven are too crowded with angels.”
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“We know their names,” he continued. “There are a thousand of them for each of the red ribbons we wear here tonight. They rest at last in the warm embrace of the gracious Creator of us all – a healing embrace that cools their fevers, clears their skin and empowers their eyes to see the simple, obvious, common-sense truth that is made manifest by the benevolent Creator of us all and that was written on paper by wise men, tolerant men, in the city of Philadelphia 200 years ago. “
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