As William Clayton on Arrow, Ben Lewis is proving that a new generation of Hollywood actors can't - and won't - be held back by being out and proud.
The 33-year-old might be enjoying possibly his most high profile role to date on The CW's hit superhero series, but Ben believes industry gatekeepers still have a responsibility when it comes to championing LGBTQ talent.
Speaking exclusively to Attitude in our new July issue - available to download and to order globally now - Ben discussing the ongoing issue of whether LGBTQ actors should prioritised for LGBRQ roles, and says he hopes that Marvel Cinematic Universe leads the way when it comes to casting the franchise's first out LGBTQ superhero.
“How many fucking Avengers are there at this point, and not one gay actor in the bunch,” Ben says (it should be noted that franchise star Tessa Thompson, who plays Valkyrie, has spoken about having relationships with both men and women).
Ben Lewis, shot by Leigh Keily exclusively for Attitude's July issue
“It would be a huge missed opportunity if they didn’t do that and I know the community would certainly let them have it,” he adds.
Ben, who has also appeared in The Handmaid's Tale and 2010's Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, admits it "never occured" to him not to be open about his sexuality when starting out in the industry, but that the issue of casting gay actors in gay roles should be assessed "on a case by case basis."
“It has never been an even playing field and it’s still not, but because of the likes of [Arrow executive producer and Love, Simon director] Greg Berlanti and Ryan Murphy, we’re seeing more out actors being given a platform to succeed,” he explains.
“It’s a valid and important conversation to be having and it needs to be evaluated on a case by case basis.”
“There are times when you have straight actors playing gay characters, such as Richard E Grant and Melissa McCarthy in Can You Ever Forgive Me? and you can’t imagine two better people for the roles.
“I guess it’s up to the LGBTQ audience to decide.
"Either they see themselves represented in an authentic way or they don’t, and if they don’t it’s necessary to call it out."
Read the full interview with Ben in Attitude's July issue, out now.