Tom Hanks Says Modern Audiences Wouldn’t Accept ‘Inauthenticity’ of His ‘Philadelphia’ Turn as a Gay Lawyer: ‘Rightfully So’

Actor won an Oscar for the role

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Tom Hanks doesn’t think modern audiences would accept accept his Oscar-winning performance as a gay lawyer battling AIDS in 1993’s “Philadelphia.”

“Could a straight man do what I did in ‘Philadelphia’ now? No, and rightly so,” he said in an interview with The New York Times Magazine published Wednesday. “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 continued, “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.”

In “Philadelphia,” Hanks played Andrew Beckett, a gay lawyer who is fired from his firm after he is diagnosed with AIDS. He hires a homophobic small-time attorney played by Denzel Washington, who is depicted as the only willing advocate for a wrongful-dismissal suit.

Hanks won his first best actor Oscar for his performance. He secured his second golden statuette a year later for playing the titular role in “Forrest Gump.”

In the NYT interview, Hanks called both his Oscar-winning films “timely movies, at the time, that you might not be able to make now.”