ETERNALS: Haaz Sleiman on Bringing a Gay Hero to Life
In an article posted to the Out.com website on Tuesday, September 28th, 2021, Eternals star Haaz Sleiman discussed what it is like to play one of the most visible gay characters yet to appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
A History of Sleiman
Sleiman came out as gay in 2017, and, as a Muslim, he has appeared in multiple roles that spotlight his intersectional identity. He has appeared in the show Nurse Jackie and “The Son,” his episode of the Little America anthology series on Apple+, was honored with a 2021 GLAAD Media Award.
He also appeared in Breaking Fast, which is a movie that features a gay inter-faith relationship (but due to the ongoing COVID-19 panemdic, Breaking Fast was not released on the festival circuit or in theaters).
In Eternals, Sleiman will play the husband to Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry, who also plays Jefferson Davis, father of Miles Morales, in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse). In addition to sharing an on-screen kiss (and not just one in the background of the climactic scene), Phastos and his husband have a child.
Not everyone is excited about the representation, however: literally more than a year before Eternals is set to debut, in March 2020, “One Million Moms” had already organized a boycott against the movie.
However, as Archie Comics legend and creator of gay character Kevin Keller Dan Parent told my wife Avery Kaplan in a recent interview, the debut of Kevin actually benefited from the negative press One Million Moms generated, leading to Veronica #202 (Kevin’s first appearance) becoming the first comic in the publisher’s long history to ever return for a second printing!
Arriving in Theaters in November
Eternals is scheduled to arrive in theaters on November 5th, 2021. Will you be heading to the theaters to see the newest entry in the MCU, or are you one of the people who will be waiting until the movie reaches streaming?
We want to know what you’re thinking, Marvel Blog True Believers! Let us know in the comment section.