Bryan Fuller, former Heroes exec, let it spill that Heroes once ditched a gay storyline because of an offstage fracas involving petulant actorly sorts.
The TV series, which ran for four and a half seasons between 2006 and 2010, made Zachary Quinto a household name and launched the career of many other stars.
This week at Outfest, Fuller revealed that projected gay storyline, saying:
“The gay character was het-washed after the actor’s management threatened to pull him from the show if [the character] were gay.”
Fuller didn’t name the actor making the complaint, but it’s not difficult to read between the lines.
During the show’s original run, it was often suggested that Zach (Thomas Dekker), who played a good friend of Claire Bennet (Hayden Panettiere) was gay.
Well, that plot-line abruptly flew out the window — just like most superheroes are wont to do.
Zach suddenly became very heterosexual indeed. And was then written right off the show.
Heroes creator Tim Kring vaguely alluded to backstage drama at the time, telling After Elton:
“It was certainly not our intention to confuse the issue of Zach’s character being gay. We have too much respect for our audience to do that intentionally.
However, it has simply become too complicated behind the scenes to push this issue further with this particular character.
We wish that we could have handled things better on our end. But making a TV show is often a very imprecise business.”
Dekker saw things quite differently.
In a blog post written in 2007, he wrote:
“I, nor my management have ever had any kind of problem with creating a gay character. To me acting is about being prepared to play all kinds of roles and it is an honor and a challenge to portray ANYTHING that comes my way.
What transpired on Heroes is something far more complicated than anyone being “afraid” to make Zach homosexual.
The character that I created in the beginning of the show, a process I take very seriously, was based on Zach being an outcast who had a burning love for Claire, a crush that drew him to her and effected every ounce of his self-esteem around her.
I created the character that way because it was WRITTEN IN THE ORIGINAL SCRIPT that he was in love with Claire.
I was not informed in the beginning of the series, of any planned character arc, because I was told there wasn’t one.
What ensued later was a combination of miscommunication, confusion, surprise and last minute decisions, not a knee jerk reaction from me or my team.”
He insisted that “me leaving Heroes has NOTHING to do with this gay controversy.”
So it was his devotion to Stanislavskian method acting that got him written off the show. The story checks out.