Why Darren Criss Says He Won't Play An LGBTQ Character On Television Ever Again

andrew cunanan american crime story assassination of gianni versace fx
(Image credit: Image courtesy of FX)

Darren Criss has tackled a variety of characters over the years of his career on stage and screen alike, but a few of his highest-profile gigs have been playing LGBTQ characters. He first hit the national spotlight as Blaine in Glee, and his turn as Andrew Cunanan on The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story won him great critical acclaim. Now, however, Criss has stated that he's done playing LGBTQ characters, although he does describe his time playing such characters as "wonderful." Criss explained his reasoning, saying this:

But I want to make sure I won't be another straight boy taking a gay man's role.

According to Darren Criss at an event for Clorox's What Comes Next (via Deadline), he doesn't want to be somebody who accepts roles as gay characters that could be brought to life by gay actors. Showbiz in recent years has begun changing, with calls for gay and transgender actors to play gay and transgender roles that might have gone to heterosexual actors or actors who do not identify as trans. Judging by his comments, Criss supports the change and doesn't want to contribute to what many see as a problem.

Interestingly, Darren Criss -- who also played a transgender lead character in Hedwig and the Angry Inch on Broadway -- shared why he won't play LGBTQ characters in the future less than a month after Will & Grace actor Eric McCormack commented that he doesn't believe he'd be in the running to play Will Truman on Will & Grace if the show debuted in 2018 rather than 1998. Unlike co-star Sean Hayes (who plays Jack) and unlike Will, McCormack identifies as heterosexual.

Like Darren Criss, Eric McCormack shared his support for the changing times and that he is "glad that nowadays a Will Truman would probably be cast with someone who is gay." He didn't say whether or not he would pass on any future LGBTQ roles offered to him.

Given that Criss already won the Emmy for his role as Andrew Cunanan in The Assassination of Gianni Versace and the odds are pretty good that he'll take home the Golden Globe for the role as well, Criss may wind up with plenty of offers on his plate that would not ask him to tackle an LGBTQ role. Assuming he does avoid LGBTQ roles in the future, he should avoid backlash such as that Scarlet Johannson faced after accepting the role of a transgender man for Rub & Tug. She ultimately dropped out of the project.

If more actors choose not to pursue LGBTQ jobs if they are not members of the LGTBQ community, many more roles should be available to actors who may not have had the opportunities they deserve. Projects like Pose and -- somewhat surprisingly -- Supergirl with new transgender superhero Nia Nal have afforded some such opportunities in recent years.

For now, we can only wait and see what's in store next for Darren Criss. After he won the Emmy for Assassination of Gianni Versace, I won't be surprised if he nabs the Golden Globe as well. Find out when the 76th Annual Golden Globes air on Sunday, January 6 at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. For some additional viewing options in the not-too-distant future, check out our midseason TV premiere schedule.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).