Taron Egerton on Why He’s Not the Right Fit for Bond and Whether Straight Actors Should Be Able to Play Gay Roles
Taron Egerton says that although he believes his body type means he’s “not the right choice” to play James Bond, actors regardless of their sexuality should be allowed to play gay.
The Golden Globe winner and Kingsman The actor opened up about his stances on both topics during a recent interview with The Telegraph as part of the promotional for his new film Tetris. Yet much of the discussion focused on his projects beyond the Apple Original Film about the little-known Cold War battle behind one of the world’s most popular video games, including his award-winning portrayal of Elton John in Rocketman and his West End stint opposite Bridgerton’s Jonathan Bailey in Cock.
While confirming that he “wouldn’t change [Rocketman],” despite differing box office performances between his film and Bohemian Rhapsody — released in certain international countries after making cuts around Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury’s relationships with men — Egerton addressed a question around the ongoing debate of whether straight actors should be able to play gay characters.
Sparked by gay actors’ historical exclusion not only from straight roles in Hollywood but from parts that reflect their own sexuality, it’s a conversation Egerton has found himself part of multiple times, in playing John and as well as during his short run in Cock.
“I grew up in a very liberal town, and a couple of my close friends are gay. I feel an affinity with that community,” he said. “I don’t particularly feel that there should be a blanket rule about whether straight actors should play gay roles. That’s very easy for me to say as a straight man, but I think that’s possibly a precedent not worth setting.”
At another point in the interview, Egerton directly addresses his decision to leave the West End show, which ran between March and June of 2022 at the Ambassador Theater in the UK Egerton’s time on stage, while anticipated, faced a number of hurdles. That includes the actor collapsing on stage during the show’s opening night and contracting COVID-19, resulting in several missed performances.
The fall resulted in a “slightly sore neck and a bruised ego,” but the entire experience was “a difficult episode” he denied — despite tabloid reports — had anything to do with a breakup. “[They] made it sound as if those two [events] were connected, when, in fact, they were a year apart,” he clarified.
As for whether Egerton would love to return to the theater, he said yes, “but I don’t know that anyone’s going to take that chance on me again.”
It was all part of a year Black Bird star had previously called “one of the most challenging of my life,” complicated by having to care for a family member who had been diagnosed with cancer. Egerton previously shared that this was the reason he withdrew from Cockbut notes in this new interview that it was his mother, whom he has “a special kind of bond” with as an only child raised by his mother, a single parent after she split with Egerton’s father.
During the interview, the actor also touches on the future of the Kingsman franchise and interest in him as a possible James Bond successor following Daniel Craig’s iteration. When it comes to returning to play Eggsy, a young recruit to the fictional secret service organization, Egerton says he and producer Matthew Vaughn have “very strong opinions” about what’s next, with the actor hinting that his character’s growth is of particular interest to him. .
“I think the most interesting question is: if Eggsy was the recruit at 22, who is he at 35? What have those 13 years done to him?” he ponders. “If you had to live in that Kingsman world, what would it do to you?”
As for Bond, the actor all but rules a portrayal out, pointing both to the fact that he’s had “zero phone calls” about it while adding that he doesn’t believe he’s “the right choice” because of his body type — with gym time being something he regularly thinks about when choosing roles.
“You have to be consistently statuesque to be that guy. And that’s something that I am still striving for. I’ve always struggled with my weight,” he said. “[Bond] is a bit like being a brand ambassador as well as being an actor. And that could be really fun in microcosm, but I’m sure I read that Barbara Broccoli said that it’s a 15-year commitment.”
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