August 30, 2018 at 12:18 pm PDT | by Mariah Cooper
Idris Elba defends casting straight actor Jack Whitehall as gay character

Idris Elba (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

The controversial casting of straight actor Jack Whitehall as a gay character in Disney’s upcoming film “Jungle Cruise” was met with plenty of criticism but actor Idris Elba is defending the decision.

In an interview with Time Out London, Elba attributed the casting to “artistic license.”

“Artistic licence is artistic licence,” Elba said. “If an actor has the attributes to do something, they should be able to do it. They’re acting. You don’t necessarily have to be gay to play a gay character. Though you do have to be black to play a black character.”

Elba faced his own possible casting controversy when rumors swirled he would take on the iconic role of James Bond. The casting choice would have made him the first black James Bond.

“It’s like the debate about James Bond. It’s nonsense. It’s a fictional character. I’ve got mad respect for how Ian Fleming described him. He said he was a white guy, looked like this … That’s how it was written. But then there’s interpretation,” Elba said. “If we were always bound by the confines that something has to be [one way], people would never have expanded on things and come up with some of the most genius ideas.”

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