Wentworth Miller on why it’s better to use gay actors for gay roles / Queerty

Wentworth Miller on why it’s better to use gay actors
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Wentworth Miller in Prison Break
Wentworth Miller in Prison Break (Photo: Fox)

Actor Wentworth Miller has spoken further about the importance of gay representation on screen. Two weeks ago, Miller – who came out as gay in 2013 – took to Instagram to inform fans that he had no plans to return for a mooted sixth season of Prison Break, saying he only wished to play gay characters from now on.

Yesterday, Miller posted an Instagram video of himself kissing the actor Russell Tovey. The two men played love interests Leo Snart/Captain Cold and Ray Tyrrell on the DC show, The Flash, in 2017.

In the accompanying caption, Miller spoke about the power of having two gay actors to play gay superheroes and kiss on screen. He also went on to highlight one of the benefits of casting a gay actor.

Related: Russell Tovey and Wentworth Miller share passionate kiss

“Leo. The powers-that-be willed him into existence and I was grateful. He didn’t have to be gay but the writers wrote that shit. So we got 2 gay actors playing 2 gay superheroes kissing onscreen… Felt like a moment.

He went on to say that when he read the script, he felt it needed tweaking.

“Where Leo tells Mick and Sara he’s marrying Ray, his original line was like, ‘I just want something normal…’ Gays. Just like us. Except me? I’m not getting married. I didn’t want Leo framing marriage as ‘normal’ for folks (kids) watching. It’s not. It’s homonormative. A ton of queer folks are living full/content lives outside the marriage construct. That line became, ‘I’m looking for a new kind of adventure’ (or some such).”

Miller went on to ask, “Would a straight actor playing Leo push for that change? Have that conversation with the (straight) writers and (straight) director? Maybe. I did bec I had to. It reflects my lived experience. I’m having those conversations 24-7. Not just on set.

“I should note I had the weight – and will – to push for rewrites. Not every actor does. #privilege.”

He says he also questioned another part of the script.

“Last tweak: The sc where Leo and Ray argue while Ray changes. The first draft called for me to ‘blush and turn away’ at the sight of a shirtless Ray. Hello. They’re lovers. Pretty sure it was the person who wrote that sc who wanted to blush and turn away.”

A day earlier, Miller also returned to the issue of him not rejoining Prison Break. Since his first announcement a couple of weeks ago, some fans have speculated that the show’s creators might tempt him back by making his character, Michael Schofield, gay.

Related: Wentworth Miller quits Prison Break, doesn’t “want to play straight characters”

Miller appeared to pour cold water on this idea. He also dismissed further speculation that Scofield might enter into any sort of relationship with the character T-Bag, who is shown having sex with men in prison but is also a racist, pedophile, murderer, and rapist. Millers suggests T-Bag should not be considered gay representation.

“Forgive me,” said Miller on Instagram. “I need to put my finger on something. In and around the ‘reveal’ I’m gay IRL, don’t wish to play straight parts etc., I saw dozens of comments suggesting Michael leave Sara for T-bag. Or that T-bag will be ‘looking’ for Michael/me.

“Is it possible, to some folks, T-Bag = “gay” rep on PB? Maybe the ONLY rep on TV in their part of the world? Forget the homophobes + zealots (bec fuck them) – for the queer kids, the queer adults who will never come out bec coming out = death in their part of the world… is T-bag the best they can expect?”

He went on to say that Hollywood sends out messages to viewers, whether intentional or not, which is why he believes so strongly about bringing authentic LGBTQ representation to the screen.

“Stories matter. Balanced, responsible storytelling matters. You never know who’s watching. Or where.”

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