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Digital Subscriptions > Attitude > Issue 278 > PITCH PERFECT


Actor ARINZÉ KENE has played the long game in avoiding stereotypical roles. And it’s paid off, with his latest turn, as a gay footballer, earning him a nomination for best supporting actor at the British Independent Film Awards

ACTOR AND PLAYWRIGHT Arinzé Kene isn’t much of a football fan, beyond tuning in to see Nigeria, the country of his birth, play in the occasional international tournament. But his lack of passion for the beautiful game didn’t assuage his annoyance at missing John Donnelly’s play, The Pass, when it premiered at the Royal Court Theatre back in 2014. The play’s popularity (the subject of gay footballers — and hot, gay footballers, in particular — was always going to attract a media circus), coupled with a relatively small theatre space, resulted in a shortage of tickets.

With Russell Tovey hailed for his commanding portrayal of Jason, a brash, closeted footballing prodigy who struggles to keep his sexuality secret while living in the voracious world of celebrity culture, The Pass captured the attention of the critics. Famed for its claustrophobic hotel setting, its intense, snowballing dialogue and Donnelly’s finer understanding of the game’s mechanics, The Pass was generally well received.

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About Attitude

On the cover, the new queen of pop Christine and the Queens talks sexuality, subversion, Michael Jackson… and Trump! Elsewhere in this issue: from courtroom battles to the Strictly ballroom with Judge Rinder; Sweden’s siren Tove Lo on sex, drugs and pop music; Do throuples work? Millennial sexuality in the spotlight; and The Pass star Arinze Kene on the taboo of gay footballers.