Tom Hanks Wouldn't Do 'Philadelphia' Today Due to 'Inauthenticity of a Straight Guy Playing a Gay Guy'

"Could a straight man do what I did in Philadelphia now? No, and rightly so," said Tom Hanks, who played a gay man battling HIV in 1993's Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA, Tom Hanks, 1993
Tom Hanks in Philadelphia (1993). Photo: TriStar Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

Tom Hanks is weighing in on the debate over which actors should get the opportunity to portray LGBTQ characters in film and on television.

The 65-year-old won his first Oscar for Best Actor for 1993's Philadelphia, in which he played a gay man battling HIV who is discriminated against and fired from his job. Speaking with The New York Times Magazine, Hanks said today, he would not take the part.

"Let's address 'Could a straight man do what I did in Philadelphia now?' No, and rightly so," he said. "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. We're beyond that now, and 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," added the Elvis actor. "Do I sound like I'm preaching? I don't mean to."

When asked about Philadelphia and the other film he won an Oscar for, 1994's Forrest Gump, Hanks called them both"timely movies, at the time, that you might not be able to make now."

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PHILADELPHIA, Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington, 1993.
Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington in Philadelphia (1993). TriStar Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

In his Oscars acceptance speech for Philadelphia, which was directed by Jonathan Demme and also starred Denzel Washington and Antonio Banderas, Hanks acknowledged those who died of HIV/AIDS.

"I know that my work in this case is magnified by the fact that the streets of heaven are too crowded with angels," he said at the time. "We know their names. 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, 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," Hanks added. "God bless you all. God have mercy on us all. And God bless America."

GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 04: Tom Hanks attends the Australian premiere of ELVIS at Event Cinemas Pacific Fair on June 04, 2022 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)
Tom Hanks. Chris Hyde/Getty

Elsewhere in his NYT Magazine interview, Hanks explained why he's no longer active on Twitter.

"I stopped posting because, No. 1, I thought it was an empty exercise. I have enough attention on me," he 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," Hanks added. "If the third comment is '[Expletive] you, you Obama-loving communist,' it's like, I don't need to do that."

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