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Last week Warner Brothers unleashed their slate of superhero movies that span out to 2020 along with a few tidbits like who has been cast.
We learned that Wonder Woman was getting a solo outing, relative movie unknown Ray Fisher had been cast as superhero Cyborg and that Ezra Miller, who identifies as ‘queer’, had been cast as The Flash.
The fact that Miller is not straight is not a big deal. It is 2014 and whatever sexual orientation you are is not something that really should be making headlines.
What is worth noting, is that this is actually a big step forward, at least in Hollywood.
While most people won’t see Miller identifying as queer as a thing of note, there is a still a lot of stigma in Hollywood when it comes to actors and actresses who are not of the typically straight variety (or, at least if they are open about it).
There are plenty of openly gay actors and actresses in Hollywood yet I am willing to bet that there are still quite a few more who are living in the closet for fear of the ramifications to their careers.
The reason being, is that there are still a sub-section of people who think for instance that a gay man can’t play it straight convincingly, never mind the fact that there are plenty of performances by gay and lesbian actors that prove this to be false.
Neil Patrick Harris as the womanising Barney in How I Met Your Mother is the obvious example. Ellen Page in roles like Juno and Whip It is another.
Author, Brett Easton Ellis, who is a man who loves to share his opinion, took to twitter on the subject of the potential of Matt Bomer, an openly gay actor being cast as Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey (a casting fans of the book were clamouring for). He tweeted ‘Fifty Shades of Grey demands an actor that is genuinely into women.’
This kind of attitude and opinion is quite startling, surely, if someone can act they can do the job?
Many straight actors have been lauded for their portrayal of gay characters (think Annette Bening in The Kids are Alright, who was Oscar nominated for her role), so why would it be different for a gay actor?
When you act you are not playing yourself, you are becoming someone else. So the sexual orientation of an actor should really have nothing to do with it.
Ezra Miller being cast as The Flash is a big deal. It is a big deal because this is the first superhero movie that is being led by an out actor.
It is a big budget movie that will be showcased as one of the hottest films to watch when it is released.
It is a step forward because it is a major studio film, a superhero movie where the traditional construct of masculinity frequently comes into play and casting a lead who is unashamedly out, is a big thumbs up for other actors in the industry who are afraid their sexuality will hold them back.
Miller is a hugely talented individual who won every scene that he was in in The Perks of Being a Wallflower. And if the script and direction are good will sure to be perfect in The Flash. His sexual orientation is not a big deal, but this casting makes history and will hopefully be the start of more equality in roles.
You don’t need to be gay to play gay, just like you don’t need to be straight to play straight. You just need to be a good actor. I personally don’t care at all what an actor’s sexual orientation is, I just care that they do a good job.