Weekend actor Chris New: ‘Being out’s done nothing but restrict my career’


Chris New (left) and Tom Cullen in Weekend | Photo: Synchronicity Films

Actor Chris New has said being public about his sexuality has ‘done nothing but restrict my career.’

New made the comment while discussing whether gay roles should be reserved for gay actors with The Guardian.

Chris starred in the 2011 film Weekend, about a same-sex romance that takes place over a weekend, alongside straight actor Tom Cullen.

He told the publication: ‘In my work, I am increasingly allowed to engage in my culture only when that engagement centres on being gay. Being out has done nothing but restrict my career.’

‘In the current cultural climate I am invited to participate only on the basis of my supposed oppression,’ he added. ‘Nothing more is required of me. I live in a cultural ghetto.’

In response, New says that ‘any role where the character’s sexuality is their defining characteristic I turn down. Which means I don’t work very much. Or, at least, nowhere near as much as I’d like to.’

‘Working on LGBT material with LGBT people feels liberating’

Weekend was helmed by openly gay director Andrew Haigh, who went on to direct the movie 45 Years and HBO’s Looking, about a trio of gay men living in San Francisco.

Haigh also spoke to the Guardian about the debate around gay roles being reserved for gay actors.

‘For Weekend, and especially Looking, I wanted as many gay actors as possible,’ he said. ‘The same goes for the crew. Working on LGBT material with LGBT people feels liberating. But it’s also about finding the right actor for a role.’

He furthermore added: ‘The sexuality of a character is not their defining characteristic. Identities are complex. Tom Cullen in Weekend or Raul Castillo in Looking may not have been gay in real life but they completely understood and related to the psychology of their roles.’


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