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Armie Hammer Talks STRAIGHT WHITE MEN, Toxic Masculinity, and Making His Broadway Debut

Armie Hammer Talks STRAIGHT WHITE MEN, Toxic Masculinity, and Making His Broadway Debut

Armie Hammer is best known for playing roles in films such as The Social Network and Call Me By Your Name. Now he's making his Broadway debut in Young Jean Lee's play Straight White Men at Second Stage.

The actor sat down with Vogue to talk about why he took so long to come to the stage, toxic masculinity, and more.

When talking about his career shift from screen to stage, he was prompted with the question "why now?"

"The easy answer is that it scared me," he said. "I've come to realize that the point of life is not to be comfortable-you should be in some sort of discomfort and pain at any given moment because that's the only way to grow, as an actor and as a person. Plus, the play is so brilliant and prescient and timely-it deals so well with the concepts of toxic masculinity and white privilege, which we're finally reckoning with as a society. And I thought, Not only will I get to push myself and do a play on Broadway but I'll also get to be part of something that really has something to say."

Lee is also making her Broadway debut as a playwright, and she is the first Asian American woman to do so.

"To me, the naturalistic three-act play feels like the straight white male of theatrical forms," she said. "I noticed that straight white maleness, which used to be the default, seemed to have become a label. And I noticed Straight White Men adapting to suddenly having to take on this label, the way marginalized people have had labels applied to them forever. And then I realized that I could make an identity-politics show about that-it seemed like a really difficult challenge."

Lee directed Straight White Men herself in 2014 at The Public Theater and a few years later at the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago. Now Steppenwolf's artistic director, Anna D. Shapiro, will be at the helm.

Hammer says that he felt a connection to the play after he portrayed a gay man in Call Me By Your Name.

"A lot of my research for the film lent itself to this from the opposite side, looking at a man who's pressured by his family to be something that he doesn't necessarily feel that he is," he said. "The question is how many Straight White Men feel that that's their existence-not just in terms of sexuality but in terms of the concept of the job hunt or the dating game or xenophobia or racism."

He is looking forward to exploring this character through the lens of his own life experiences as well.

"Like Drew, I've always been, like, 'I'm a fairly liberal guy, I'm progressive, I work in the arts, and blah blah blah,'" he said. "But do I still suffer from those same blindnesses? Am I still less evolved than I like to think I am? Am I Drew? It's going to be amazing to delve into this character and just see what happens."

Read more on Vogue.

Straight White Men begins previews at the Hayes Theater (240 West 44th Street) on Friday, June 29, 2018 and officially opening on Monday, July 23, 2018. Young Jean Lee's dark comedy, directed by Anna D. Shapiro, will star Armie Hammer, Tom Skerritt, Josh Charles, Kate Bornstein and Ty Defo.

It's Christmas Eve, and Ed has gathered his three adult sons to celebrate with matching pajamas, trash-talking, and Chinese takeout. But when a question they can't answer interrupts their holiday cheer, they are forced to confront their own identities. Obie Award-winning playwright Young Jean Lee takes a hilariously ruthless look at the classic American father-son drama. This is one white Christmas like you've never seen before.

STRAIGHT WHITE MEN will feature scenic design by Todd Rosenthal, costume design by Suttirat Larlab, lighting design by Donald Holder, sound design by M.L. Dogg, choreography by Faye Driscoll and casting by Telsey + Company.

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