After 12 years and 25 films, the Marvel Cinematic Universe will have its first LGBTQ kiss when “Eternals” hits theaters this fall, and one of the actors involved says that filming it was a very emotional moment for everyone on set.
“It’s a beautiful, very moving kiss. Everyone cried on set,” actor Haaz Sleiman said in an interview with NewNowNext. “For me, it’s very important to show how loving and beautiful a queer family can be.”
Sleiman plays the husband of Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry), who is one of the immortal beings known as the Eternals. The Eternals have lived in secret on Earth for thousands of years, but must come out of hiding after the Earth is threatened by their evil counterparts, the Deviants.
Phastos, who was described at San Diego Comic-Con last year as an “intelligent cosmic-powered inventor,” is the first openly gay superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Sleiman had strong praise for Henry’s performance as Phastos and said he helped bring something to the character that is important for LGBTQ representation.
“Brian is such a tremendous actor and brought so much beauty into this part, and at one point I saw a child in his eyes, and I think it’s important for the world to be reminded that we in the queer community were all children at one point,” Sleiman, who came out in a Facebook video on in August 2017, said. “We forget that because we’re always depicted as sexual or rebellious, we forget to connect on that human part.”
While “Eternals” is the first MCU film to explicitly feature an LGBTQ character in its cast, the 2017 film “Thor: Ragnarok” hinted in flashback scenes that Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie was also a queer character. This past week, after winning at the Oscars for his screenplay for “Jojo Rabbit,” director Taika Waititi said that he is open to exploring Valkyrie’s sexuality in his upcoming sequel, “Thor: Love & Thunder.”
“The IP is not mine. But with the actors, I feel whatever makes them comfortable — whether they feel like there’s a natural choice, or a natural way for that character to go — then I’m pretty supportive,” Waititi told Variety. “If Tessa wanted to do that, I’m in.”
“Eternals” will be released on Nov. 6.