How 'Eternals' Star Haaz Sleiman Is Bringing LGBTQ+ Representation to Marvel

by Emell Adolphus

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Saturday November 6, 2021
Originally published on October 2, 2021

Haaz Sleiman
Haaz Sleiman  (Source:Instagram / @haaz.sleiman)

Out actor Haaz Sleiman has come a long way since his breakout role in Showtimes' "Nurse Jackie," and this year he is proving that he has much more talent to give.

In a revealing interview with Out magazine, Sleiman discusses why he feels super "lucky" and "grateful" to be making history in Marvel's upcoming "Eternals" as one half of a groundbreaking same-sex couple.

As the husband of Phastos (played by Brian Tyree Henry) — the first out gay superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe — Henry and Sleiman will be the first same-sex parents with a child in a Marvel production and the first to share an on-screen kiss.

Directed by Oscar winner Chloé Zhao ("Nomadland"), the film follows a band of immortals who unite to save humanity, starring an all-star cast that includes Gemma Chan, Kumail Nanjiani, Richard Madden, Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, and Kit Harington.

But superhero powers aside, Sleiman says his role is all about bringing humanity to the screen to connect with the audience.

"I don't want to sound arrogant, but I feel like Marvel, they were very smart to cast me in it because I got to humanize the hell out of it," he told told Out. "I got to humanize an LGBTQ+ family and show how beautiful they are."

"Eternals" is a big film that presents a big opportunity to evolve the portrayal of LGBTQ+ people, says Sleiman.

"We're evolving," he said. "The most exciting thing is the stories that are being told in television and film about LGBTQ people. A lot of TV shows are being more thoughtful about portraying queer people in a more fuller way, not so one-dimensional or very stereotype[d]."

Sleiman adds: "Things that have never happened before are starting to happen." And from the sounds of it all, he couldn't be more excited.

See Marvel's final trailer for the "Eternals" below.