Despite conversations about representation and visibility for queer people in media, British actor Matt Smith has publicly defended his casting as gay photography icon Robert Mapplethorpe in an upcoming biopic.
According to a report by Vulture, during an event with Smith and Mapplethorpe producer Eliza Dushku last week at New York's 92nd Steet Y center, the Doctor Who alum responded to a question about his opinon on playing a gay role.
"I think your sexual orientation, or your sex and your choices outside of work, shouldn't influence—in either way, positive or negative—what happens." Smith said about playing Mapplethorpe, who was best known for his provocative and stylized black-and-white portraits that explored homoerotic and BDSM themes. "So, to me, it doesn’t matter if you’re gay or straight. That has no bearing on whether you should get the part."
Dushku added onto Smith's statement, saying that the conversation surrounding Smith's casting as a gay man was an "important discussion."
Vulture also points out that Smith's statements comes on the heels of straight actor and Emmy winner Darren Criss announcing he will no longer be playing gay roles in an effort to increase opportunities for actually gay actors.
The Mapplethorpe biopic is set for release on March 1. Watch the trailer below.