I wanted to talk to you about your LGBTQ advocacy work. One of the things I’ve admired about you is that you spoke out against homophobia at a young age, and have been a strong supporter of The Trevor Project, which focuses on suicide prevention for LGBTQ youths. I’m curious how you feel Hollywood is doing as far as providing a platform for LGBTQ actors goes, as well as its overall acceptance of those who identify as LGBTQ?

It is definitely getting better. I think there’s a lot more effort being made to tell stories about different people—and about different groups of people. That’s something that can always improve, but it is something that is happening, though not as quickly as people would like. I think people are starting to think differently, when you’re writing a TV show or a film, about the perspectives that you’re choosing to right from, who you’re choosing to include in that, and handling that with care, versus just being like, “Oh, I’m a middle-aged white guy, I can easily capture the voices of these young, diverse people.” I’m explaining this badly, but I do feel like it’s getting better and we’re a good industry for that.

The thing that made me want to get involved [in LGBTQ advocacy] was less specific to the film industry and more the amount of young kids that are killing themselves around the country, and having my attention drawn to that. I’m from a family of actors and I grew up around a lot of gay people and it was never even explained to me, I don’t think—or if it was, it was in passing. It was never explained to me as being something different. It was just, “Oh, this is my parent’s friend Mark, and Mark has a boyfriend.” When you’re a kid, you’re not going to question that unless somebody tells you to question it, so I didn’t. And then I got to school, and that’s where you hear homophobic slurs being thrown around as kids experiment with swearing when they’re nine or ten, and then you get a sense of homophobia, and how prevalent it is.

Right. All too prevalent.

Very. I’m from a fairly secular upbringing and am totally in support of anybody being religious or having religion in their life, and that’s great, but if your religion tramples on the feet and the lives of the people around you, that was something that I felt is an issue. It’s an issue in the middle of this country—in super-religious areas in the middle of America, it’s very, very hard to be young and gay. If I as Harry Potter or somebody they have watched or whatever saying “don’t worry about who you are” made any difference to anybody, then that seems like a very small thing to do on my part. The thing about The Trevor Project is that the people that man the phones and do all that on a daily basis at The Trevor Project are the people who are on the frontlines of actually saving lives. It’s something that people do mention to me occasionally as having been important to them, and whenever they do I feel incredibly honored to have been able to help in some tiny way.

Speaking of Harry Potter, you recently addressed Johnny Depp’s involvement in the Potter spinoff franchise Fantastic Beasts. What do you feel the level of responsibility should be for particularly men in Hollywood with power when it comes to casting people who have been credibly accused of things like abusive behavior toward women? It seems men, as allies, can do a lot better when it comes to standing up for the women in the industry.

There’s something happening which I think is really, really good, where people and audiences are caring about the people who make these things, and what ethical or moral code they live by. I don’t know if it’s happening because of social media, or because we know so much more about everyone now, but I do think people are going to have to start thinking about that, and hopefully it will make people think about their behavior. The meaty thing is about sexual harassment, as it should be, and that should be stamped out and wiped out of our industry—from the awful Harvey Weinstein stuff to the low-key, on-set weirdness—all of that is just crazy, and needs to go, and there’s no place for it. But there’s no place for a lot of the behavior of people in my industry.

I can only speak for my industry, but particularly with actors, actors operate with a kind of freedom on set because it’s very hard to replace them during a production if you’ve already started filming—it’s just very hard to shoot them out. If half the crew members acted in the way some actors act, they would be kicked off and replaced immediately. The only reason that doesn’t happen is because you’ve already shot half the movie and you’re gonna have to finish. There’s not enough incentive to stop people from behaving badly, so hopefully the general knowledge that you can’t be a shit and get away with it will make people act differently.