Michaela Jae Rodriguez
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Connor Jessup on Locke & Key and His 1st Queer Role Since Coming Out

Connor Jessup on Playing Queer Again in Locke & Key

It’s been 20 months since Locke & Key’s first season premiered on Netflix, but out actor Connor Jessup is excited for viewers to see how things have changed for the eponymous family at the center of this fantasy adaptation.

“Season 2 is a lot darker than season 1,” Jessup teases, comparing the narrative progression to another well-loved literary series: Harry Potter. What does this mean for Jessup’s Tyler, the eldest Locke sibling?

“In season 1, Tyler was not doing great because he carried around a lot of guilt regarding his father’s death,” Jessup says. “But he was able to work through that. In season 2, he’s able to have a bit more fun with his new girlfriend.” Viewers familiar with Locke & Key will remember Tyler’s crush on his new friend Jackie. If any queer viewer is disappointed that Jessup’s character Tyler isn’t queer like Jessup, then the feeling isn’t lost on the Canadian actor. “It’s been a while since I’ve played a queer character,” Jessup says. When looking at the connection between the characters he’s played and his own identity, Jessup only notices those connections in retrospect.

Connor Jessup on Playing Queer Again in Locke & Key

“I can draw lines between who I’ve played and who I’ve become but never in the moment. For instance, I played openly gay characters before I came out,” he says. Jessup received critical attention for his role as the closeted Taylor Blaine in the second season of ABC’s American Crime series.

“People ask if it was weird playing a queer character when I wasn’t out yet, but it wasn’t,” he notes. “I compartmentalized a lot of those experiences at the time, and luckily I don’t have to as much nowadays compared to when I played those characters years ago.”

Regarding who he would most love to portray, he shares, “I would love to play a character like Marianne.” Jessup is referring to the hired companion and portrait painter played by Noémie Merlant in Celine Sciamma’s 2019 film Portrait of a Lady on Fire. “I’d love to play such an active and present character living in the moment and observing it in such a way.”

Locke & Key’s second season is out now on Netflix.

 

This story is part of The Advocate’s 2021 People of the Year issue, which is out on newsstands November 23, 2021. To get your own copy directly, support queer media and subscribe — or download yours for Amazon, Kindle, Nook, or Apple News.

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