Love, Victor stars Michael Cimino has opened up about the reception to the series, and the blowback he received for playing the show’s leading gay character.
In a new interview with the UK magazine Attitude, Cimino, who identifies as straight, revealed that he endured criticism from straight and queer people alike, even receiving death threats over his work.
“I got some homophobic comments — I kind of expected that to happen. I didn’t expect it from my own family members, though”, Cimino admits. “Some of them reached out, saying, ‘You used to be so cool; now you’re so gay.’ I chalk it up to ignorance.”
He continued, “People have that programming and they often don’t have to evolve and try to push past that. There’s nothing wrong with being gay. That ignorance is often something that’s been passed on from generations prior. I always approach that [by saying], ‘These are normal people that are struggling and they shouldn’t have to struggle.’”
Related: WATCH: Things get steamy as Victor plots to lose his virginity in ‘Love, Victor’
“I’ve definitely had some criticism from the LGBT community for being in the role,” Cimino continues, referring to queer activists who insist actors should come out as LGBTQ to play a queer character. “I’ve had death threats, which is horrible. But the show is important to me. The messages of hate—I came into it knowing that would happen, regardless of how good I was.”
“There are some straight actors who play gay characters, who are all about supporting LGBT rights while they’re promoting their project, but once they’re done, a year later, it’s kind of forgotten,” he further observes. “That’s not how [to] be an ally, that’s not how you support LGBT rights. If you’re not an actual ally, then what are you doing? It’s an honor to play Victor, and a big responsibility. I went in with the pure intent to represent that correctly. I held myself to a really high standard to make sure everyone going through this story felt represented by the show.”
In the same interview, Cimino also says he was advised against playing a gay character.
“I’ve been advised that you shouldn’t play gay roles, especially your first big role,” he says. “‘Everyone will think you’re gay’ or ‘You won’t be able to book anything,’ ‘You’ll never be able to build a fan base.’ I’m not a traditional ‘masculine’ man, so that would be people trying to force me into something I’m not. Here I am playing a gay role that might not be considered masculine in an outdated idea of what masculinity is.”
Despite the drama, Love, Victor has proven very popular with audiences, and Cimino has earned praise for his work. The show currently streams on Hulu.
“I’ve been advised that you shouldn’t play gay roles, especially your first big role,” he says. “‘Everyone will think you’re gay’”
That’s exactly the way I feel about actors playing roles where they murder someone. I mean how can I ever look at them the same and not think..murderer!
Seriously though. He’s got a fairly big role at just 21. Most actors would kill for an opportunity like that. If this was my friends or family giving me this advice I’d just get rid of the losers.
He said all of that when season one first came out. It’s like a copy paste interview.
If it wasn’t for this role, no one would’ve ever known about him.
He also has normal parents, so he wouldn’t have been able to rely on nepotism, like so many of today’s “actors.” girls, American horror story, scream queens, etc.
It was probably his agent and possibly his parents. minority-ish + religious.
Just once I would love for them to list out the people.
I was told by these 4 people at the William Morris Agency that…….
Not to get into the whole debate again, but if people are going to present arguments 1 way or the other, they should have some logical basis. Being gay is an inherent, immutable trait, like race or ethnicity. It is not comparable to being a murderer, a baker, or a candlestick maker.
Correct! It’s called ACTING! Which is why I think Rock Hudson was one of the greatest actors of all time. It can’t be easy playing a straight man his entire life.
And if every executive in Hollywood hadn’t spent the last 50 years screening LGBTQ actors out of getting roles this wouldn’t be an issue.
He’s a lovely and thoughtful young man.
The first season was a bit of disappointment, even with my middling expectations. The show took no risks, was rather shallow and didn’t have much wit or personality. Furthermore, it’s been tired that the majority of “gay” stories from film and TV is still mostly about self-discovery, being closeted, being confused, and/or coming out, and they still mostly center around “straight passing” characters. There’s plenty of conflict and tension and struggles and stories that can be told for out “queers” and/or less than “straight passing” people. 80% of these projects don’t have to be stories centered around “straight passing” people coming out or having secret same-sex affairs/relationships. Ultimately, I recognize that I’m not the target audience, and I didn’t care for the first season for a variety of reasons (despite enjoying the movie well enough). So, I won’t be returning.
Michael seems cool and seems to understand some things on a deeper level. He has all the right answers at least.
lol. season was meant to be family friendly and was created for disney+, but was later moved to Hulu because it was too “controversial.”
Straight passing characters are far more interesting and help people see a different kind of gay man because most are viewed as caricatures. Look at the garbage queer eye guys, or the contestants on drag race.
It’s okay to have over the top “fem” “non-binary” characters, but normal gays need representation too.
Second season is honestly way better.
Most of the high-profile fictional movies and TV shows that are about homosexual/gay/queer/whatever characters are centered on “straight passing” characters. Most of those high-profile movies and shows are also stories mostly about self-discovery, confusions, “coming out”, secret relationships, A-I-D-S. That’s what the majority are already. So, you don’t have any argument as far as wanting “diversity”. What you’re claiming is already the majority representation in fictional entertainment.
Please don’t bother responding to me with one of your multiple handles if all you’re gonna say is same basic and hateful shit over and over again. You might as well not even have multiple handles if they’re all gonna use the same language and say the things and all be basic as hell. At least put a bit of effort in.
Jake123, I have been reading that the second season is quite a bit less bland, less filtered through a “straight world” prism and overall better written and acted. It seems as if the writers might have taken some of the criticism to heart. I may check it out eventually.
Jonathon Majors first major role was playing Young Ken Jones in the ABC TV Mini Series, When We Rise. As we all know was about the gay rights movement in the U.S. which started with the Stonewall riots. A heterosexual male actor playing a Black, gay character. Majors’ mother is a pastor and she had hangs up about it until she actually watched it. She told him after she watched it that she didn’t know and that she loved it. That being said, Majors acting career soared after that. Playing that role didn’t change his sexuality at all. He put himself out there to tell human stories and that is what actors are supposed to do. And a mighty FINE actor he is…lawd! Lol
Same can be said of a little known Aussie actor called Heath Ledger his first big role was in a Aussie TV show SWEAT (1996) playing a teenage cyclist at a sports academy who is coming to terms with being gay.
There should be no discrimination on either side.
I get death threats occasionally online too. I think the last time was when I said Jesus supports a living minimum wage. Not sure exactly what that says about the health of humanity. Truth be tool, humanity has always been been kind of malignant.
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