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Marvel actor reveals ‘The Eternals’ will feature married gay superhero

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Haaz Sleiman will play the husband of gay superhero Phastos in Marvel’s upcoming “The Eternals” (Image via Instagram)

It looks like Marvel is finally going to deliver on its promise to provide substantive LGBTQ representation in its “cinematic universe.”

Actor Haaz Sleiman, who is openly gay, was speaking to LGBTQ media outlet NewNowNext for a profile story when he revealed that he will be portraying the husband of a gay superhero in the studio’s upcoming film, “The Eternals,” slated for a November 2020 release.

Sleiman, 43, has recently garnered attention for his role as a gay Syrian refugee in Apple+ TV’s anthology series “Little America,” and previously made headlines in 2017 when he came out not only as gay but as a “total bottom.”

In the interview, Sleiman mostly talks about his episode of “Little America” and his starring role in the upcoming LGBTQ rom-com, “Breaking Fast,” but in discussing the increased presence of positive role models for queer young people since his own youth, he segues onto the subject of his casting in “The Eternals,” casually dropping the big news.

“I just shot a Marvel film with the first openly gay superhero… I’m married to the gay superhero Phastos (…) and we represent a gay family and have a child.”

Phastos, as previously announced, will be played by Brian Tyree Henry, known for his roles in the FX series “Atlanta” (as the rapper Paper Boy) and in the film “If Beale Street Could Talk.” Henry has not publicly spoken about his own sexuality, but in a trailer for “The Eternals” that debuted at a Comic Con in Brazil in December, he was seen holding the hand of another man, leading to assumptions – now confirmed by Sleiman – that the character was gay.

MCU President Kevin Feige has previously expressed his frustration over the shortage of LGBTQ characters in the franchise’s films, and told an audience in New York last October that “a forthcoming movie” would include LGBTQ representation, after previously announcing plans for queer storylines in both “The Eternals” and the upcoming “Thor: Love and Thunder,” which will reportedly feature Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie character in a relationship with another woman.

The studio’s previous attempts at inclusion, like those made in other Disney-owned franchises, have fallen far short of expectation by remaining vague about the sexuality of the characters in question or relegating the “gay moment” to a brief, blink-and-you-miss-it onscreen reference, this one will feature a same-sex kiss.

According to Sleiman, that won’t be the case in “The Eternals.” Asked by NewNowNext if there will be a kiss between Phastos and his husband, the proud queer Muslim actor, who left his native Lebanon at 21 to escape the country’s oppressive and dangerous homophobia, answers enthusiastically.

“Oh, yeah, absolutely, and it’s a beautiful, very moving kiss,” he discloses. “Everyone cried on set. For me it’s very important to show how loving and beautiful a queer family can be.”

Of his co-star, he says, “Brian Tyree Henry 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. We forget that because we’re always depicted as sexual or rebellious. We forget to connect on that human part.”

“The Eternals” depicts a group of superhumans who have obtained their powers through genetic alteration by an alien race known as the Celestials. It features at least eleven super-powered characters, and among the actors are Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Richard Madden, and Kumail Nanjiani.

It will appear in movie theaters on November 6.

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“Sex and The City” star Willie Garson has died at age 57

Garson found professional success on shows including “Sex and the City” but his favorite job happened when the cameras stopped rolling

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Willie Garson image via Titus Welliver Twitter

NEW YORK – In a tweet on Tuesday, actor Titus Welliver broke the news of the death from pancreatic cancer of his friend and fellow actor Willie Garson. Garson’s 20 year-old son Nathan, a student at The College of Wooster, a private liberal arts college in Wooster, Ohio, added his own heartbreaking tribute to his father in an Instagram post.

The actor was in New York City reprising his role of Stanford Blatch in HBO’s Sex and the City‘s revival series,  And Just Like That.

According to an exclusive interview by Page Six in 2020, the actor’s favorite role however was that of ‘Dad.’

Willie Garson found professional success on shows including “Sex and the City” and “White Collar,” but his favorite job happened when the cameras stopped rolling. […] “He’s an adult and soon to be taking care of me which is really why I got him to be honest,” Garson said at the time. “He’s lovely and a really special guy. He’s wonderful and he’s in college in Ohio.”

The New Jersey-born actor also told us that he “always wanted to have a child,” so he decided to pursue adoption as a single parent.

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Online Culture

Video: A straight & a gay guy react to “That’s what I want” by Lil Nas X

StanChris is a 20-something vlogger from the Northeastern U.S. who chronicles his life as a young everyday average gay guy

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StanChris (Screenshot via YouTube)

LOS ANGELES – The twenty-something StanChris, the Out YouTuber who has been building his audience on his channel by vlogging about the ordinary everyday experiences of his life as a young gay guy, is back with his straight friend and together they react to the brand new Lil Nas X’s new music video THATS WHAT I WANT which was released on September 16, 2021.

WATCH:

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Out & About

Audra McDonald and Chita Rivera come to Gay Days Disneyland

During Gay Days thousands of LGBTQ+ Disney fans celebrate in Disneyland and Disney California Adventure in Anaheim

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Photo courtesy of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, Inc.

ANAHEIM- Broadway is back, and it’s come to Anaheim. The legendary Audra McDonald and Chita Rivera, two absolute Titans of musical theatre, stopped by Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel Friday night for two intimate back to back engagements for the crowds at the annual Gay Days Anaheim, or as it is more popularly known: Disneyland Gay Days. 

During Gay Days thousands of LGBTQ+ Disney fans celebrate in Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, with a weekend filled with scavenger hunts, meetups and parties. The park and the hotels almost feel like West Hollywood on a Friday night. The energy this year is especially lively, as Covid prevented last year’s celebration. 

Gay Days began in 1998, attracting a crowd of 2,500 visitors. The weekend now pulls in over ten times that, with 30,000 visitors joining in on the magic in 2019. In a massive group photo outside Sleeping Beauty’s castle, the entire group is decked out in the signature Gay Days red t-shirts – the 2019 edition featured a fabulous Star Wars Storm Trooper with the text “May the Fierce Be With You.”

While the event is not officially sanctioned by Disney, it is supported by it. Disney Pride, as well as several other branches of the Disney empire, have joined in as sponsors for the weekend. It’s also a favorite weekend for the Disneyland cast and staff. 

Photo courtesy of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, Inc.

The schedule is simple: Friday is arrival day, Saturday is about Disneyland and Sunday is about  California Adventure and the pool party. But Gay Days has got so much more than just a park visit: it now has Hollywood Bowl level-talent coming in for concerts. Kicking off the return to Disneyland this year is Audra McDonald and Chita Rivera. 

The two stars headlined Broadway Night at the 23rd annual Gay Days, kicking off the weekend-long celebration which ran from September 17–19. Drag Race fan favorites Nina West, Jackie Cox and Jan Sport joined in the weekend’s entertainments, with shows on Saturday and Sunday.

Friday night is buzzing. In the hotel lobby, Gay Days visitors are striking up conversations, getting to know each other, sharing stories about Gwen Verdon, Bob Fosse and that time they worked with Debbie Reynolds. Gay Days is definitely a great way to meet your Prince Charming. 

Three-time Tony Award winner Chita Rivera began the evening with An Intimate Conversation With Chita Rivera featuring the Broadway legend in conversation with theatre historian Eddie Shapiro. She’s a decorated performer with a score of firsts. She was the original Velma Kelly in Chicago, she was the original Anita in West Side Story, and she’s the first Latino American to receive a Kennedy Center Honor. 

When Rivera was called out on the stage she kicked her leg out high from behind the curtain, and then strutted her way to her chair. She’s 88 years old, but has the bright energy, wit and sparkle of someone decades younger. With charm and humor she tells a captivated audience about that time she won the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Barack Obama, dancing with Dick Van Dyke and why she loves gay audiences – “they get it.”

She looks back on her storied career with humble gratitude, unexpected for someone who has an award named after themselves (The Chita Rivera Awards for Dance and Choreography). When asked about a star studded concert she appeared in recognizing entertainment’s greats she simply said “it’s God’s way of saying you’re doing something right.” Chita Rivera left the Disney audience spellbound. 

An hour later, Audra McDonald walked out on the same stage for a piano concert – with Chita Rivera in the front row! Audra is a record-breaking icon. She’s a 6-time Tony winner, and has won at least one Tony in all four acting categories. But, like Chita, she is down to Earth, well-spoken and incredibly gracious. Between songs she peppers in stories about her daughter, playing Mother Superior in Sound of Music Live and Chita Rivera’s influence. 

Audra McDonald sings with a flawlessly smooth, often operatic quality. Standouts from her set include her cover of “Children will Listen” from Sondheim’s Into the Woods and an eerie reimagining of the title track from “Cabaret”, which she performed at The Met Gala by Anna Wintour’s request. She also included a moving performance of the song “I’ll be Here” from the lesser known musical Ordinary Days. The narrative of the song centers on a woman’s relationship with her husband who dies in 9/11. In the capable hands of McDonald, the audience is moved to tears.

The evening is a shining example of the exceptional programming Gay Days has added to an already incredible weekend. The two live performances are signs that a pre-Covid world is slowly returning.

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