Actor Haaz Sleiman, known for his roles on the TV series Jack Ryan and Little America, has revealed a few details about his hotly-anticipated new Marvel film, The Eternals.
In The Eternals, Sleiman plays the husband of the superhero Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry). The couple marks the first explicitly-LGBTQ pairing in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
While promoting his latest movie, the rom-com Breaking Fast (for which he’s nominated for a Queerty Award), Sleiman teased the superhero film, and reassured queer audiences that Marvel has gone to great lengths to ensure respectful treatment.
“It’s my first Marvel film, so of course I’m excited, Sleiman told the website NewNowNext. “My gut feeling is you’ll be so proud. What Marvel has been able to accomplish, I’m so proud of them because they approached it in a very thoughtful way, and Phastos is one of the biggest superheroes in the film. I’m his husband, an architect; we have a child. Even though I wished I was the superhero, because when will we see an Arab Muslim openly gay actor playing a superhero? I can’t wait to see it.”
Sleiman also clarified that he’s excited to see the movie as everyone else. “If I’m not Angelina Jolie or Salma Hayek, you know I haven’t seen it,” he added.
Marvel has endured criticism over the past few years for its lack of LGBTQ representation in its films. An attempt at inclusion in Avengers: Endgame met with backlash when the much-touted gay character was little more than a bit part, played by one of the directors. In addition to introducing pivotal queer characters to the MCU, The Eternals will also feature several openly-LGBTQ actors, including Sleiman, Henry, Richard Madden and Angelina Jolie.
The Eternals is scheduled for release later this year, though a firm opening date has yet to be announced due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.