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Julianna Margulies on playing a lesbian: 'Who's to say I haven't had my own gay experiences?'

"I’ve played a gay character before."
/ Source: TODAY

(Warning: Spoilers for season two of “The Morning Show” ahead!)

Should straight actors play gay characters?

It’s an ongoing debate in Hollywood, and Julianna Margulies weighed in with her views in a recent interview on the “Just for Variety with Marc Malkin” podcast.

The former “Good Wife” star, 55, plays a high-powered journalist on season two of “The Morning Show.” Her character, Laura Peterson, is a lesbian, and she becomes romantically involved with Reese Witherspoon’s character, Bradley Jackson.

Margulies said she did not have any hesitations about portraying a gay character.

“No, because they asked me to do it, and I’ve played a gay character before, and who’s to say I haven’t had my own gay experiences?” she said. “We’re making assumptions, then.”

She acknowledged the debate surrounding straight actors taking on gay roles and whether those opportunities should be reserved for members of the LGBTQ community.

“I know there was some trepidation of — will lesbian actresses be angry,” she said. “And I can tell you I would never, ever be angry if a lesbian played a straight woman. … I haven’t seen the discrimination toward lesbians to play gay women. So I don’t know if it’s the same kind of conundrum. But maybe I’m naive, maybe it is, and if so, I apologize.”

Margulies added that she admires her “Morning Show” character for being “completely comfortable with who she is in her sexuality.”

“(Laura) has no ulterior motives,” she said in another part of the interview. “She doesn’t have a hidden agenda. She is probably the only character on that show that has no hidden skeletons in her closet.”

Margulies plays journalist Laura Peterson on season two of "The Morning Show."Erin Simkin / AppleTV

Several celebrities in recent years have weighed in on the question of whether only queer actors should portray gay characters on screen.

Kristen Stewart, who publicly came out as part of the LGBTQ community in 2017 while hosting "Saturday Night Live," said the question is “such a gray area.”

“There are ways for men to tell women's stories, or ways for women to tell men's stories. But we need to have our finger on the pulse and actually have to care. You kind of know where you're allowed,” she told Variety last year. “If you're telling a story about a community and they're not welcoming to you, then f--- off. But if they are, and you're becoming an ally and a part of it and there's something that drove you there in the first place that makes you uniquely endowed with a perspective that might be worthwhile, there's nothing wrong with learning about each other.”

Darren Criss, who has played multiple gay characters, including Blaine Anderson on “Glee,” said in 2018 that he now hesitates to accept LGBTQ parts.

"There are certain (queer) roles that I'll see that are just wonderful," he told Bustle. "But I want to make sure I won't be another straight boy taking a gay man’s role."

Meanwhile, Neil Patrick Harris, who is gay but played a straight character, Barney Stinson, on “How I Met Your Mother," said that if he was casting a film or TV show, his priority would be finding the best actor for the part.

“I’m not one to jump on to labelling,” he said in an interview with The Times in January. “As an actor you certainly hope you can be a visible option for all kinds of different roles. I played a character (in 'How I Met Your Mother') for nine years who was nothing like me.”