Hanks made the comments during an interview with The New York Times Magazine, saying he agreed that straight actors shouldn’t pretend to be gay for TV or movie roles. “Could a straight man do what I did in ‘Philadelphia’ now? No, and rightly so,” the 65-year-old actor told the publication.
“The whole point of ‘Philadelphia’ was don’t be afraid. One of the reasons people weren’t afraid of that movie is that I was playing a gay man,” he said.
“We’re beyond that now,” Hanks continued. “I don’t think people would accept the inauthenticity of a straight guy playing a gay guy. It’s not a crime, it’s not boohoo, that someone would say we are going to demand more of a movie in the modern realm of authenticity. Do I sound like I’m preaching? I don’t mean to.”
The actor won his first Academy Award for portraying Andrew Beckett, a gay attorney diagnosed with AIDS and facing workplace discrimination.
In his Oscars acceptance speech in 1994, Hanks said playing in the movie “is magnified by the fact that the streets of heaven are too crowded with angels,” per USA Today. Several attendees wore red ribbons to bring awareness to HIV and AIDS.
“We know their names,” Hanks said. “They number a thousand for each one of the red ribbons that we wear here tonight. They finally rest in the warm embrace of the gracious creator of us all — a healing embrace that cools their fevers, that clears their skin and allows their eyes to see the simple, self-evident, common-sense truth that is made manifest by the benevolent creator of us all and was written down on paper by wise men, tolerant men, in the city of Philadelphia 200 years ago.”
Elsewhere in the NYT Magazine interview, Hanks explained why he left Twitter. His last post was in May 2020.
“I stopped posting because, number one, I thought it was an empty exercise. I have enough attention on me,” the “Forrest Gump” actor said.
“But also I’d post something goofy like, ‘Here’s a pair of shoes I saw in the middle of the street,’ and the third comment would be, ‘[Expletive] you, Hanks.’ I don’t know if I want to give that guy the forum. If the third comment is ‘[Expletive] you, you Obama-loving communist,’ it’s like, I don’t need to do that,’” he said.