Ben Whishaw talks about coming out, bears and Freddie Mercury


On the release of his latest movie, British actor Ben Whishaw has talked more about coming out.

RADA-trained Whishaw, who rose to prominence alongside Dustin Hoffman in the 2006 movie, Perfume, and has since taken on the role of Q in the James Bond franchise, stars in Lilting, which opened in UK cinemas yesterday (8 August).

Directed by Hong Khaou, 33-year-old Whishaw plays Richard: a man grieving the death of his Chinese-Cambodian boyfriend, Kai. Following his death, Richard attempts to forge a bond with Kai’s mother. However, the old woman, played by Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’s Cheng Pei-Pei, cannot speak English, did not know her son was gay, and already harbours a dislike for Richard.

Whishaw revealed that he was gay last year, after announcing that he had entered a civil partnership with his Australian partner, composer Mark Bradshaw. Talking to author Damian Barr on the BBC’s Front Row radio show about Lilting, he said that although there had been tremendous advances in gay rights, LGBT people still had to go through the ‘coming out’ process.

‘It’s still a difficult conversation to have with people who you are very close to and an intimate conversation and something people have to do in their own way and their own time and I don’t think that has gotten any easier… because it’s that thing that you never have to announce to anyone that you’re heterosexual, so it’s different and always will be, I suppose.’

Whishaw also joked about getting into character for his upcoming role as the voice of Paddington Bear in an animated feature.

‘It’s been quite wonderful and quite difficult – more difficult than I anticipated ‘cause the bear on the screen that I look at has such a clear character and it’s so painfully obvious to me when my voice is not working with that little bear but I think I’m slowly getting there… slowly becoming more and more beary!’

Besides the Paddington Bear movie, Whishaw will be reprising his role as Q in the next Bond movie, due for the release at the end of 2015. However, another rumoured project now appears to be on hold.

Having previously been confirmed to take on that role of Freddie Mercury in a biopic of the Queen singer, Whishaw told Time Out London this week, ‘Actually, I don’t know what’s happening, it seems to be on the back-burner… It was going, then there were problems getting the script working.’


How was your coming out ONTD?