15 Queer Actors We Want to See In Superman's Cape And Tights
Superman could benefit from a queer edge.
Only a select group of actors have gotten to play Superman on the big screen in blockbuster live-action films and TV shows featuring the DC Comics superhero – and they’ve all been straight-presenting men.
During a recent interview with Vanity Fair, Luke Macfarlane revealed that his own agent told him that the DC hero couldn’t possibly be played by a gay man. “I can literally remember an agent once saying to me, ‘Superman can’t be gay’ – like just straight out,” the actor recalled. This was a very disappointing experience for Macfarlane, who wanted to audition for the role of young Clark Kent on Smallville but was clearly discouraged by his team.
The first actor to play Clark Kent in the movies was Christopher Reeve, who appeared as the Man of Steel in 1978’s Superman, 1980’s Superman II, 1983’s Superman III, and 1987’s Superman IV: The Quest for Peace.
In 2006, DC cast Brandon Routh for a new sequel in the original Superman series of films: Superman Returns. That new installment picked things back up from Superman II, which means that it disregarded the third and fourth sequels starring Reeve. Even though the movie received mostly positive reviews, it didn’t go on to have any continuity.
As Warner Bros. started out to build out its DC Extended Universe (DCEU) franchise with Zack Snyder, the studio decided to completely reboot the character of Superman with 2013’s Man of Steel starring Henry Cavill as the titular character. Cavill reprised his role in 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and 2017’s Justice League, as well as in the “Snyder Cut” version released in 2021.
On TV, the most noteworthy live-action portrayals of Superman include George Reeves (Adventures of Superman in the 1950s), Dean Cain (Lois & Clark in the 1990s), Tom Welling (Smallville in the 2000s), and Tyler Hoechlin (The CW’s Arrowverse in the late 2010s and early 2020s).
Scroll through to find out which LGBTQ+ actors we’d love to see playing Superman a.k.a. Clark Kent in future movies and TV shows featuring the DC Comics superhero.
Between his multiple appearances on Hallmark Channel movies and in the upcoming gay rom-com Bros starring Billy Eichner, Luke Macfarlane is set to have a massive 2022. Despite being discouraged to play Superman back in the Smallville days just for being a gay man, Macfarlane would be an incredible actor to play the DC vigilante in a live-action adaptation.
Best known for his role as Aric on Insecure, Curtis Hamilty thrilled the queer community when he came out as part of his becoming a cast member on The Real Friends of WeHo earlier this year. Now that he’s out of the closet, it’s time to hop back in, just to grab a cape and tights.
Jonathan Groff has hunted down serial killers in Mindhunter, saved magical snowmen and princesses in Frozen, tracked down “the one” in The Matrix Resurrections, and even took on the end of the world in Knock at the Cabin. Who better be the protector of the world than Groff as Superman?
Jonathan Bennett broke onto the scene as everyone’s dream boy in Mean Girls. Since coming out, he’s also made history on The Holiday Sitter, Hallmark’s first gay holiday film. So yeah, he’s got the wholesome side of Clark Kent on lock, and he’s got the gorgeous superhero looks to go with it. Make this man the Man of Steel already.
Do we really need to explain? Just look at him. Not only does he fit the part of a superhero but Lee Pace has the acting chops to add layers of nuance to Kal-El (Superman), an alien sent to earth and forced to assimilate until that same world calls on him to step up and be its protector.
Keinyan Lonsdale is already part of the DC universe in his role as Wally West aka Kid Flash on the CW series. So why not promote him to the big screen as a young Superman finding his footing as a hero and trying to balance that with a secret identity? Hello, juicy subtext!
Best known for Magic Mike, The Normal Heart, and In Time, Matt Bomer was practically born to play a live-action Clark Kent. Bomer has the face, physique, and acting chops for it, so it’s truly wild that he’s never gotten to play the DC hero.
Cheyenne Jackson has appeared multiple times on American Horror Story, as well as TV shows like 30 Rock, Glee, and Call Me Kat. All things considered, Jackson would be another pretty perfect choice of a queer actor to play Superman on television or in film.
Brian J. Smith
Sense8, Stargate Universe, and The Matrix Resurrections star Brian J. Smith would be another amazing casting choice to play the Man of Steel. Smith has proven over the course of his career that he has the necessary charisma for Clark Kent and the required physique to pull off the action sequences from Superman.
After his breakout role on ABC’s How to Get Away With Murder, Conrad Ricamora established himself as a leading man on Hulu’s gay rom-com Fire Island. Ricamora is a fresh face could bring a new edge to such a well-known character like Superman.
Another actor who stood out in Fire Island was Zane Phillips, who could very well play Clark Kent in a movie or TV show as well. Just like his Fire Island costar Ricamora, Phillips has everything it takes to bring a fresh – and queer – energy to the DC superhero.
Bridgerton star Jonathan Bailey would be another great actor if Hollywood ever looked for a queer actor to play DC’s Man of Steel. Bailey has shown a lot of range on the hit Netflix series, so he could bring out a lot of different sides to Clark Kent as well.
Jeremy Pope is best known for starring on FX’s Pose and Netflix’s Hollywood, and he is now set to star in the upcoming film The Inspection. Even though audiences have never seen a Black actor portraying a live-action Superman, certain comic books have featured Black characters as the superhero – and Pope would be perfect for the role.
Charlie Carver has come a long way since starring on Teen Wolf. As of late, Carver is best known for appearing on Ratched and The Boys in the Band. This is another actor who has a similar bone structure and physique that have become associated with live-action versions of Clark Kent, which makes him a great choice.
Speaking of Teen Wolf, Colton Haynes would also be a great Superman on TV or in film. We’ve come a long way since Macfarlane’s agent telling him that a gay man could never play the DC hero, and Haynes could be a queer actor to break this mold.