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‘Will & Grace’ Star Eric McCormack Defends Straight Actors Playing Gay Roles

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“Will & Grace” star Eric McCormack argued Monday that a person’s sexuality should not determine the types of roles they’re allowed to play and that the “best person for the role” should be the one who gets the part.

McCormack, a straight actor who famously played gay lawyer Will Truman on the beloved NBC sitcom, told “Good Morning Britain” that his goal as an actor has always been to play men who are outside of himself — and that includes Will.

“I didn’t become an actor so that I could play an actor,” McCormack mused. “There’s no part I’ve ever played where I wasn’t playing something not. It’s part of the gig.”

He continued: “And I’ve always said: ‘If gay actors weren’t allowed to play straight actors, Broadway would be over.”

McCormack added that he had real-world, lived inspiration for Will and feels that in hindsight, he played the role authentically.

“I’d like to think that I represent it well, you know, literally. I came from the theater, and one of my best friends was a gay man,” McCormack explained. “So I think I took their spirit and their message in what was otherwise just a sitcom and represented it, I hope.”

If “Will & Grace” were to be cast today, however, McCormack admitted he thinks that casting a straight man to play gay could cause more issues in the long run. He played Will in the NBC sitcom’s first run, from 1998 to 2006 and again when the show got its 2017 revival.

“Well, I guess the answer would be, they’d have to say in the casting room: ‘And you’re gay, right?,’ which I don’t think they can say,” he said. “So I still think, as you say, it’s hypothetical. I would like to think in general that the best person for the role, the one that comes in and knocks it out of the park, is the one that gets the part.”

McCormack was Emmy-nominated four times for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for his performance on “Will & Grace,” winning in 2001.

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