Tom Hanks is reflecting on his role in the critically acclaimed film “Philadelphia.”
Hanks, who scored an Oscar after starring in the 1993 movie as Andrew Beckett, a gay man with AIDS, said that if the production were created today, a straight actor wouldn’t be cast in that role.
“Rightly so,” he added.
In an interview this week with The New York Times’ David Marchese to promote the new Elvis Presley biopic, Hanks looked back on his part in the groundbreaking film. He called both “Philadelphia” and “Forrest Gump” (1994) “timely movies, at the time, that you might not be able to make now.”
“Philadelphia” was the first major studio film to face the AIDS crisis head-on. It portrays the struggles and eventual death of Hanks’ character as he battles discrimination after contracting AIDS.
Hanks agreed with Marchese that a heterosexual actor couldn’t be cast in the nearly 30-year-old film anymore.
“Let’s address ‘Could a straight man do what I did in ‘Philadelphia’ now?’” Hanks said. “No, and rightly so.”
“The whole point of Philadelphia was don’t be afraid. One of the reasons people weren’t afraid of that movie is that I was playing a gay man,” Hanks said.
“We’re beyond that now, and I don’t think people would accept the inauthenticity of a straight guy playing a gay guy,” he added.
“It’s not a crime, it’s not boohoo, that someone would say we are going to demand more of a movie in the modern realm of authenticity.”