Here are seven Hollywood films and series that are paving the way for more LGBTQ inclusive content on screen

From Eternals to the Green Lantern series, we present to you a list of released, upcoming movies and shows that have finally broken the barriers of social construct

author_img P Parthiban Published :  27th May 2021 07:14 PM   |   Published :   |  27th May 2021 07:14 PM
Brian Tyree Henry from Eternals (left), Virginie Efira from Benedetta (centre), and Jake Gyllenhaal from Velvet Buzzsaw (right)

Brian Tyree Henry from Eternals (left), Virginie Efira from Benedetta (centre), and Jake Gyllenhaal from Velvet Buzzsaw (right)

Over the years, film industries across the globe have evolved and become more open towards portraying content related to the LGBTQ+ community. However, these movies have been focused on dramas, documentaries, biographies, and comedies in the past.

Now, films and television shows are finally moving towards newer genres that were earlier not associated with the community, like action, horror, and thriller.

We present to you a list of released/upcoming movies and shows that have finally broken the barriers of social construct.

Eternals

Brian Tyree Henry as Phastos in Marvel's Eternals
Brian Tyree Henry as Phastos in Marvel's Eternals

For the first time ever, Marvel Studios will be featuring its first LGBTQ relationship with an onscreen kiss in its upcoming movie Eternals. This comes after more than a decade of purely heterosexual relationship-based superhero films by the production house. Eternals stars Brian Tyree Henry (Atlanta) as Phastos, the first openly gay superhero in a Marvel movie, and Haaz Sleiman (Little America), who plays the role of his husband.

Also read: Angelina Jolie to make her superhero debut with Marvel's The Eternals

Directed by Chloé Zhao — who created history by becoming the first woman of colour to bag an Oscars for her movie Nomadland (apart from winning numerous other awards) — Eternals is expected to be a story about a race of immortal beings with superhuman powers who have secretly lived on Earth for thousands of years. The film is said to be on how these heroes reunite to battle evil forces.
 
Eternals is scheduled for release in India in October 2021. The movie will be released in multiple languages, including English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, and Kannada.

Benedetta

Horror movie Benedetta featuring a lesbian nun
A still from Benedetta

An upcoming French and Dutch biographical drama directed and co-written by Paul Verhoeven, Benedetta is a horror film set in the 17th century. The movie is about a nun named Benedetta Carlini, who joins an Italian convent and gets involved romantically with another woman.

Benedetta was also said to be prone to visions and displayed what was known as the ‘stigmata’ — supernatural wounds that mimicked the injuries inflicted on Jesus during his crucifixion. 

Virginie Efira plays the role of Benedetta Carlini in the film, which is adapted from Judith C. Brown’s book Immodest Acts: The Life Of A Lesbian Nun In Renaissance Italy. The movie will also be competing at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival and might be released globally in July 2021.

The director of the film, Paul Verhoeven, has often been criticised for his graphic depictions of sex and violence, and is known for his erotic thriller Basic Instinct (1992).

WandaVision

Gay superhero Billy/Wiccan in WandaVision
Billy in WandaVision (left); Grown-up version of Billy with Hulkling (right)

WandaVision is a sitcom that gave the Marvel Cinematic Universe its very first gay character in Wanda Maximoff’s (Elizabeth Olsen) son Billy (Julian Hilliard). The grown-up version of Billy is seen getting romantically entangled with another teen superhero called Teddy Altman, also known as Hulkling.

The television mini-series, created by Jac Schaeffer, features Marvel Comics characters Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch and Vision, who come across something strange while leading blissful lives in a suburban area inside a fantasy world. The show stars Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, and Kathryn Hahn in prominent roles.

The series, which has nine episodes, was released in January 2021 and can be viewed on Disney+ Hotstar.

The Old Guard

Stills from The Old Guard featuring LGBTQ content
Stills from The Old Guard

While this film could easily be termed a classic action movie with plenty of guns and blood, there’s a lot more going on the inside of The Old Guard. One of the key elements of the story is the gay relationship between two members of the immortal ‘Old Guard’, the characters Joe and Nicky.

Greg Rucka, who wrote the original graphic novel and adapted the screenplay, has said that the relationship between those two was crucial for him since he wanted the audience to see a queer relationship that was perfectly happy.

To drive this point home, the couple in the film were portrayed to be happy while an underlying sense of loneliness could be seen in the others, since they were mercenaries who were ‘un-killable’ killing machines.

The story is about this covert team of immortal mercenaries who are suddenly exposed and fight to keep their identity a secret. The Old Guard, directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, was released on Netflix in July 2020 and stars Charlize Theron, KiKi Layne, and Matthias Schoenaerts in the lead roles.

Spiral

A still from Spiral featuring LGBTQ content
A still from Spiral

Spiral is a one-of-its-kind horror film in which a homosexual couple moves to a small town to lead a better life and raise their daughter with strong social values. However, when their neighbours throw an unusual party, nothing is as it appears to be in the seemingly picturesque neighbourhood. The film creates horror in the prejudice it highlights of a society where the worst of us will hurt and exploit minorities for our own sense of strength and pleasure.

Directed by Kurtis David Harder, Spiral stars Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman, Ari Cohen, Lochlyn Munro, Chandra West, and Ty Wood. Initially released in August 2019, the movie is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video in India.

Velvet Buzzsaw

Stills from Velvet Buzzsaw and Brokeback Mountain featuring LGBTQ content
Jake Gyllenhaal from Velvet Buzzsaw (left); Still from Brokeback Mountain (right)

Actor Jake Gyllenhaal plays the role of a queer art critic in the Netflix satirical horror-thriller, Velvet Buzzsaw. This is the actor’s first gay role since his previous character  as a homosexual person in 2005’s romantic drama Brokeback Mountain, which won a BAFTA award.

Jake’s character in Velvet Buzzsaw, Morf Vandewalt, is a conceited and pretentious art critic who is in a relationship with a man. While Morf’s sexuality is not explicitly stated in the film, the character gives a rare example of sexual fluidity in cinema as he quickly becomes enamored with Zawe Ashton’s character, a gallerist named Josephina.

The story is about a supernatural force that takes revenge on those who allow their greed to get in the way of art. Velvet Buzzsaw, which was released in 2019, is available on Netflix now.  

Green Lantern series

Jeremy Irvine in Green Lantern as gay superhero Alan Scott
Jeremy Irvine (left); Alan Scott with his boyfriend Sam Zhao (right)

HBO Max has reportedly cast actor Jeremy Irvine for its series on Green Lantern, where the actor will play the role of an iconic superhero Alan Scott, who was revealed to be a gay character only in 2002. The character was also said to have a boyfriend named Sam Zhao.
 
The Green Lantern series might be turned into an anthology that will have stories of various ‘Lanterns’ over the decades including characters Alan Scott, Bree Jarta, Simon Baz, Jessica Cruz, Guy Gardner, and Sinestro, to name a few. The series will be co-written and executive produced by Seth Grahame-Smith and Marc Guggenheim.

The date of premiere for the series has not been announced yet. Stay tuned for more updates!

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