A friend and I were discussing Elegance Braton‘s The Inspection (A24, 11.18), a drama about homophobia in the Marine Corps. At one point I asked about the off-screen orientation of Jeremy Pope, who plays the lead character. Whoops!

“What does Pope’s sexuality have to do with anything?,” came the reply. “Who cares? He’s twice been Tony-nominated, and both noms were in the same year. And he’s spectacular in The Inspection. Plus he’ll soon be back on Broadway playing Basquiat.”

“I always want to know who’s who and what’s doing,” I said. “And, as you know, today’s rule of thumb when it comes to gay characters is that it’s inauthentic for straight actors to play them. Tom Hanks recently said that he couldn’t play his gay Philadelphia character in today’s realm, that audiences wouldn’t accept that, he said. I presumed from the get-go that Pope wouldn’t have been cast in The Inspection if he weren’t gay, but I asked nonetheless out of idle curiosity. If Pope was straight his casting would be unusual in a 2022 context, and I was wondering if anyone is defying or ignoring the basic requirements.

“The answer in this instance is ‘no — Pope’s Inspection casting went right by the book.'”

Significant Northeastern Critic: “I’m with you on this.”