Last week, when talking about his lead role in the London production of Tony Kushner’s iconic play Angels in America, Andrew Garfield talked about how he felt he shouldn’t take the role.
“I had to trust that it was the right thing and Tony had asked me and maybe if he’d asked me, it was the right thing,” he said during a live Q&A.
Garfield also said that he might have an “awakening later in my life” and realize that he’s gay, which, in the audio recording (below), sounds like a dry joke.
He went on to describe how we learned about gay culture by reading about the AIDS crisis, going to drag workshops, watching We Were Here, talking with the Tony Kushner and his gay colleagues… before making a joke about RuPaul’s Drag Race. “My only off-time during rehearsals – every Sunday I would have eight friends over and we would just watch Ru. This is my life outside the play. I am a gay man right now just without the physical act – that’s all.”
But tone doesn’t translate into writing, and that last part about RuPaul’s Drag Race made it around the internet without any of his other, more serious comments.
— Scott Evans (@thescottevans) July 6, 2017
Garfield was criticized in LGBTQ and social media for simplifying what it means to be gay, but he’s now saying that his comments were taken out of context. “That discussion was about this play and how deeply grateful I am that I get to work on something so profound,” he told the BBC. “We were talking about, ‘How do you prepare for something so important and so big?’ and I was basically saying, ‘I dive in as fully as I possibly can.'”
“My comments were taken out of context” is a defense that bigots use when what they really mean is “I don’t like being criticized.” But here it looks like it’s actually true – Garfield’s jokes were taken out of context.
And even by themselves, I would still rather have straight actors watch RuPaul’s Drag Race to learn about gay men than, say, Brüno or Cruising.
“The intention [in my comments] was to speak to that, speak to my desire to play this part to the best of my ability and to fully immerse myself in a culture that I adore,” Garfield said.
Good for him. Gay culture is great. There’s no point in getting mad at a straight guy with decent intentions.