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Wentworth Miller Calls Out Hollywood's Heteronormative Representation

Wentworth Miller Calls Out Hollywood's Heteronormative Representation

Wentworth Miller Calls Out Hollywood's Heteronormative Representation

The Prison Break star wants more to be done when it comes to LGBTQ+ representation in TV and film.


Just a few weeks after publicly declaring that he will no longer take on heterosexual roles (sorry Prison Break fans), actor Wentworth Miller shared some thoughts on the state of LGBTQ+ representation and the power gay actors in gay roles can have. 

"At this moment in time/the culture, for me, it's not just about playing these characters," the 48-year-old wrote on Instagram. "It's about advocating on their behalf."

The previous announcement detailed Miller's commitment to progressive LGBTQ+ representation on screen. In this post, he opened up about his Legends of Tomorrow character Leo (aka Captain Cold), who had a notable kiss with Russel Tovey's character The Ray a few years ago.

"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."

Miller shared some of the edits he made to his character to make him, in his eyes, more authentic. 

"In the sc[ene] 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)."

By changing the line, Miller challenged the implicit normalization of marriage, something not every queer person aspires to.

"Hollywood is never not sending messages," he added. "2 actors of the same gender kissing onscreen is the beginning of the conversation. Not the end."

He also noted another change he made to the script. "The sc[ene] 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."

If the character was played by a heterosexual actor, Miller believes his meaningful changes likely would've stayed in the script. "Would a straight actor playing Leo push for that change? Have that conversation with the (straight) writers and (straight) director? Maybe. I did bec[ause] I had to. It reflects my lived experience. I'm having those conversations 24-7. Not just on set."

He does acknowledge the privilege he has here as a seasoned actor. "I should note I had the weight — and will — to push for rewrites. Not every actor does. #privilege."

There's a lot of work to be done as far as LGBTQ+ representation goes, but Miller certainly seems dedicated to making sure queer people on screen are as diverse as their wide range of lived experiences are.

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