Luca Guadagnino, out director of the critically acclaimed Call Me By Your Name, has tapped Drew Starkey to co-star with Daniel Craig in his upcoming film Queer.
Queer is an adaptation of William S. Burroughs' candidly gay novel of the same name. The story centers on Lee, an alter ego of Burroughs himself, who wanders through Mexico City and falls madly in love with a discharged American Navy serviceman named Allerton.
Per Variety, Starkey is set to play Allerton while Craig, the former James Bond actor who recently played a gay detective in Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, will star as Lee. Craig left the Bond franchise following the release of No Time to Die in 2021, and Queer will be only his second post-Bond film role. Starkey, following up a series of small parts in films like Love, Simon and The Hate U Give, joined the cast of the hit Netflix series Outer Banks in 2020.
Though one of the foremost working gay filmmakers, Guadagnino has faced criticism in the past for casting straight actors in queer roles, most notably Timothee Chalamet and Armie Hammer in Call Me By Your Name. By casting Craig and Starkey — two men who publicly identify as straight — in Queer, the Italian director looks to continue the pattern (though Craig has shared that he loves gay bars).
Speaking with The Independentin 2020, Guadagnino responded to the criticism, saying, "I honestly don’t believe I have the right to decide whether an actor is straight or not. Who am I to know what somebody is thinking of himself or herself within themselves?"
Queer is set to begin shooting in Rome this month. Alongside Craig and Starkey, the film's cast includes Jason Schwartzman (The French Dispatch), Lesley Manville (The Crown), and Henry Zaga (The New Mutants). Guadagnino's other upcoming film, Challengers, will release in the US on September 15 of this year.