Perhaps inspired by the casting of openly queer actor Ezra Miller in the title role of The Flash (set to hit the big screen in 2018), TheWrap asked a number of Hollywood’s out and prouds (plus a few allies) to weigh in on Hollywood’s recent LGBT superhero surge — both in terms of the characters themselves and the people who play them.
While the casting of gay, lesbian, or bisexual actors in superhero or villain roles is hardly novel (witness Wentworth Miller as Captain Cold on the TV version of The Flash, John Barrowman as Malcom Merlyn on Arrow, or Ian McKellen, Ellen Page, and Anna Paquin in the various X-Men movies), are audiences ready to accept an actual LGBT superhero?
Yes, says Modern Family‘s Eric Stonestreet. “If you you buy in that it’s possible there is such a thing as a superhero, you also have to buy into the fact that there are gay superheroes.”
NFL player and LGBT ally Chris Kluwe seconds that. “It shouldn’t necessarily even matter what the sexuality is of the superhero,” he says. “It should just be, like, oh, Superman wants to go home to his boyfriend — you know, Louis Lane — then that’s what Superman does.”
But have we been missing something? Have there been gay superheros all along? “Superheros are super gay,” said Queer Eye for the Straight Guy‘s Carson Kressley. “I mean — hello — Aquaman? I have so many Aquaman fantasies. Batman and Robin — the first same sex couple on television.”
As for the issue of acceptance, GLAAD’s director of entertainment media Matt Kane calls sexual and gender heterogeneity “a total non-issue” for the under-30 crowd. “We’re seeing a greater emphasis on diversity from [major comic publishers],” he told TheWrap. “I know Marvel has more female-led titles than they had before, not to mention quite a few LGBT characters.”
But as a lead? While out bi actor Andy Mientus will appear on the small screen version of The Flash as gay villain The Pied Piper, the question of whether or not openly gay good guy can drive a movie or TV remains to be seen. Still, Mientus feels that characters are moving in the right direction. “I feel really proud to take on this role,” he says. “I’m a villain and I’m powerful and I think it would be really cool if there’s some queer kid sitting at home watching me blow up cars and shit, while knowing that I am who I am in my personal life and that the character is out and happy.”
Watch more stars sounding off on the topic: