Every gay role Josh O’Connor has played to date, from God’s Own Country to Peaky Blinders

If the rumours are to be believed, Challengers star Josh O’Connor is in talks to star in Luca Guadagnino’s next gay romance film, Separate Rooms.

Variety has reported that the 33-year-old actor will take on the lead role in the latest queer film from the Call Me By Your Name director, which is adapted from the eponymous novel by late Italian writer Pier Vittorio Tondelli.

Separate Rooms follows Leo, an Italian writer who meets pianist Thomas while travelling through Paris. The pair start a love affair that lasts several years, and while they continue their separate lives in different countries, they meet frequently in cities across Europe.

Eventually, tragedy strikes and Leo is left mourning the loss of his true love. O’Connor is reportedly in final talks to take on the role of Leo, while it’s not known who will star as Thomas.

If O’Connor’s role in Separate Rooms does come to fruition, it will be one of several LGBTQ+ roles taken on by the The Crown actor, despite publicly identifying as straight.

Josh O’Connor as a young Prince Charles in Netflix drama The Crown. (Netflix)

Way back in 2019, he addressed the age-old question of whether straight actors should play gay roles, simply saying: “I don’t know.”

“I have been asked, a few times, should a straight actor play a gay part?” he told GQ. “And every time I have been honest and said… I don’t know.

“I’d always be really open about it. Sexuality… is more complicated than we realise. Just as [The Descent of Man author] Grayson [Perry] talks about masculinity not being this steel rod, it’s true of queerness, too; it’s fluid and elastic, but we often don’t really have the tools to articulate that in our culture.”

Here are all the LGBTQ+ roles Josh O’Connor has played so far, and those he’s taking on in future.

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Hide & Seek (2014)

Daniel Metz as Jack (L) and Josh O’Connor as Max (R) in Hide & Seek. (Matchbox Films)

One of Josh O’Connor’s earliest roles was in the not-so-critically-acclaimed romantic drama Hide & Seek, in which O’Connor plays Max, one of four friends who move from London to the countryside to eschew all social conventions around being in a relationship.

The film follows couples Max and Charlotte (Hannah Arterton), and Leah (Rea Mole) and Jack (Daniel Metz) as they engage in scheduled partner-swapping – and yes, that includes Leah getting with Charlotte, and Max and Jack being intimate, too.

Hide & Seek is available to rent or buy on Prime Video and Apple TV.

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Peaky Blinders (2014)

Cillian Murphy and Josh O’Connor in Peaky Blinders. (BBC)

One of Josh O’Connor’s earlier TV roles was in Cillian Murphy’s famed period crime drama Peaky Blinders. He played the small role of James, friend and housemate of Ada Thorne (Sophie Rundle) in season two.

When Murphy’s character Tommy Shelby confronts James, suspecting him of being Ada’s new boyfriend, Ada confirms that James is actually gay – despite it being illegal during the early 20th Century, when Peaky Blinders is set.

Peaky Blinders is available to stream on BBC iPlayer.

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God’s Own Country (2017)

Alec Secareanu and Josh O’Connor in God’s Own Country (2017). (IMDb)

For the queer community, God’s Own Country was the film that put Josh O’Connor on the map. Francis Lee’s multi-award-nominated romantic drama saw O’Connor play Johnny Saxby, a young, lonely, and struggling farmer who slowly falls for Gheorghe (Alec Secăreanu), a migrant worker hired to help out with lambing season on the farm.

Their relationship starts precariously, but before long, they’re having secret sex in the farm’s muddy fields.

O’Connor previously told Attitude magazine that he had “dated the Johnny type in the past – emotionally inarticulate, unable to love and be loved,” types.

God’s Own Country was critically-acclaimed upon its release, and led to O’Connor being nominated for a BAFTA Rising Star award.

God’s Own Country is available to rent on Prime Video, YouTube, and Apple TV.

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The Colour of His Hair (2017)

In 2017, Josh O’Connor starred in a little-know short film entitled The Colour of His Hair, which merged documentary and drama to reflect on what life was like for queer men before and after the partial legalisation of homosexuality in 1967.

The Colour of His Hair, which won the Best Documentary Short award at the London Short Film Festival in 2018, is based on a script written way back in 1964 for the Homosexual Law Reform Society, a group of British campaigners who fought for the decriminalisation of homosexual relationships. 

O’Connor plays Peter in the 20-minute film, who is in a relationship with John (Sean Heart), and is trying to avoid being reported to the police.

The Colour of His Hair is currently available to stream on Vimeo.

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Bonus Track (2023)

Samuel Small and Joe Anders in new queer coming of age film Bonus Track. (London Film Festival)

In a slightly different feat, Josh O’Connor co-authored the story behind this sweet, coming-of-age musical rom com that debuted at the BFI London Film Festival last year.

Set in Britain in 2006, Bonus Track is about shy 16-year-old George (Joe Anders), who dreams of becoming a pop singer. He meets super-cool, super-handsome Max (Samuel Small), who is the son of a famous pop duo, who for some reason takes an interest in being George’s friend. From there, their friendship grows closer than the two of them ever expected.

O’Connor even has a cameo in the film, as a masked graffiti artist. So while Bonus Track isn’t a gay role he’s played, it’s certainly a story he’s thrown himself into.

Bonus Track is currently not available to watch on streaming platforms.

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Challengers (2024)

The second trailer for Zendaya’s Challenger’s has fans hoping for a gay subplot (MGM Studios)

Now, there is a big question mark hanging over this Luca Guadagnino-directed film: Josh O’Connor will play Patrick, a tennis star who goes head-to-head with his rival, Art (Mike Faist) – who just so happens to be the husband of his ex-lover, Tashi Duncan (Zendaya).

In the trailer, we see Tashi encourage the two men to fight for her affection, and essentially, it ends up being a steamy, sporty, threesome film. Based on what’s been shared about the film so far, fans are utterly convinced that Patrick and Art won’t just be toying around with Tashi, but with each other too.

Look, if you read the above plot for Hide & Seek, you’ll know that O’Connor knows a thing or two about unconventional yet extremely exciting sexual dynamics.

Challengers will land in cinemas on 26 April 2024.

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The History of Sound (TBC)

Josh O’Connor and Paul Mescal are ‘on fire’ in gay romance drama ‘The Sound of History’ (Getty)

If playing gay was a business, Josh O’Connor would be a CEO of sorts (possibly alongside Mary & George‘s Nicholas Galitzine). Yet in this upcoming historical romantic drama, he’ll be teaming up with a senior partner at Playing Gay Inc, All of Us Strangers star Paul Mescal.

Based on the eponymous short story by Ben Shattuck, The History of Sound follows O’Connor as David, a man who will be “deeply changed” when he meets Lionel (Mescal). Set during the First World War, the film sees the young men “set out to record the lives, voices and music of their countrymen” and fall in love along the way.

No release date for The History of Sound has been announced.

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Separate Rooms (TBC)

Whether Josh O’Connor will star in new queer film Separate Rooms remains to be seen. (Getty)

As mentioned, this is still very tentative, but Variety has reported that O’Connor has already started learning Italian for the role of gay writer Leo in Separate Rooms. In the film, Leo falls in love with a pianist, Thomas, in Paris.

Considering roles are yet to be finalised, it’s unlikely we’ll be seeing this film before the end of 2025/early 2026.

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