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Kit Harington: When Will a Marvel Superhero Be Played by a Gay Actor?

Kit Harington

There's a "big problem" in Hollywood around queer acceptance, said the star of Xavier Dolan's The Death and Life of John F. Donovan.


Kit Harington is taking Hollywood to task for its antigay culture.

The Game of Thrones star -- speaking to Variety for his production at the Toronto Film Festival, The Death and Life of John F. Donovan -- pointed to the lack of gay male actors in Marvel films as symptomatic of a "big problem."

"There's a big problem with masculinity and homosexuality that they can't somehow go hand in hand," Harington said. "That we can't have someone in a Marvel movie who's gay in real life and plays some superhero. I mean, when is that going to happen?"

The blockbusters of the Marvel Universe have featured a variety of superheroes, among them Iron Man, Thor, Black Panther, Deadpool, Doctor Strange, Spider-Man, Captain America, and Ant-Man. Yet no openly gay male actors have been cast in these roles -- or felt comfortable coming out, if any were gay.

In fact, Marvel Studios has made headlines for de-gaying its films -- cutting scenes in Black Pantherand Thor: Ragnarok that would have revealed the queer sexuality of characters Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) and Ayo (Florence Kasumba). In interviews, Thompson said her character was bisexual, and she later came out as bi herself.

Times may be changing. Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand, who identifies as a member of the LGBTQ community) became the first clearly queer character in the Marvel Universe this year, when a girlfriend was introduced in Deadpool 2.

Xavier Dolan, the gay director of The Death and Life of John F. Donovan, noted how social media and conversations around diversity in Tinseltown have created more of a space for queer actors to come out.

"In the past year, there have been so many queer actors and actresses that came out through social media," he said. Yet the Canadian filmmaker also has doubts regarding Hollywood's response to them. "Does that mean that the industry has changed in how it regards [this] talent and the opportunities that it wants to offer them, or doesn't want to?"

Dolan recounted that a common message he receives from newly out actors is "I'm now free, but I'm not going to get the career I once wanted. I'm at peace with that, because at least I can be who I am." He noted that in a perfect world, no person should have to choose between one's life and one's dream.

In Dolan's film, Harington portrays the titular character, John F. Donovan, a television star whose life and career are ruined by a tabloid after it publishes his correspondence with an 11-year-old boy.

Watch their conversation with Varietyhere.

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Daniel Reynolds

Daniel Reynolds is the editor of social media for The Advocate. A native of New Jersey, he writes about entertainment, health, and politics.
Daniel Reynolds is the editor of social media for The Advocate. A native of New Jersey, he writes about entertainment, health, and politics.