Gay actor playing superhero's boyfriend in Eternals on 'humanising' LGBTQ families in film

Haaz Sleiman says he feels very "lucky" and "grateful" to be cast in the role opposite Bryan Tyree Henry, who's playing Marvel's first openly gay superhero.


Words: Alastair James; pictures: Instagram/@haaz.sleiman/Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Eternals actor Haaz Sleiman says he got to "humanise the hell" out of LGBTQ families in the upcoming film - and is "grateful" to have been given the chance to do so. 

Discussing his role in a new interview, the Nurse Jackie actor also said he thinks LGBTQ families are "healthier" than others because they stick together.

Eternals will introduce Marvel's first openly gay superhero, Phastos, played by Atlanta's Bryan Tyree Henry. Sleiman, who came out publicly as gay in 2017, will play Phastos' partner and the pair will have a child in the film.

"I feel lucky, and I’m grateful"

In an interview with Out magazine where he discussed his groundbreaking role, Sleiman said: "I feel lucky, and I’m grateful. And… I don’t want to sound arrogant, but I feel like Marvel, they were very smart to cast me in it because I got to humanize the hell out of it. I got to humanize an LGBTQ+ family and show how beautiful they are."

He also shared his belief that queer families "are way healthier than regular families," adding: "We stay together and there’s so much love."

He also celebrated the improving LGBTQ representation in film and TV, which he thinks has come as a result of greater equality for LGBTQ in parts of the world. 

"The most exciting thing is the stories that are being told in television and film about LGBTQ people. A lot of TV shows are being more thoughtful about portraying queer people in a more fuller way, not so one-dimensional or very stereotype[d]."

Sleiman previously revealed what to expect of his involvement in the film, including the Marvel Cinematic Universe's first same-sex kiss. 

He told Logo last year: "It’s a beautiful, very moving kiss. Everyone cried on set. For me, it’s very important to show how loving and beautiful a queer family can be."

Eternals is due to be released in the UK on 5 November. Watch the trailer below:

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