How Gay Is Brick In Broadway's New 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof' Revival?

By: Brandon Voss

In the 1955 Tennessee Williams drama Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Brick Pollitt power-drinks after the suicide of his best friend Skipper, who had confessed his romantic feelings for Brick. It's pretty clear that Skipper was gay, but Brick's sexuality has long been the subject of debate.

An actor best known for playing the titular roles in Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Benjamin Walker portrays Brick — opposite Scarlett Johansson as wife Maggie — in the latest Broadway revival of the play, which officially opens Jan. 17 at the Richard Rodgers Theatre. So does Walker consider Brick a gay character?

"I can't tell you that," he says to Playbill. "It's a strength of the play that it talks about something bigger than that question. If you're asking that question on the way out, either I've done my job really well or I haven't done my job at all — I don't know. Human connection is so much bigger than the categories we like to put it in, which almost ruins it. But I can already hear my mom — 'So was he gay?'"

Although he's not blabbing one way or the other, rest assured that Walker is confident in his own interpretation of Brick's sexuality: "I can't show up if I don't know that. I can't say Tennessee Williams' words if I haven't done that work. That would be a lazy actor right there."

Photo: Joan Marcus