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Homophobia Caused Thomas Dekker to Leave Heroes

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There were rumors and stories going around that the producers of NBC hit Heroes had intended for the character of Zack to be gay, and that actor Thomas Dekker's management had been fighting the idea, fearing that his client playing a gay character would 'damage' his career.

Now it seems that Dekker has been pulled from the show completely, and this interview with writer Bryan Fuller gives some insight into the issue.

It absolutely was a path that we were going to take. In the first meetings when we were sitting down and talking about the show, one of the things about the show that Tim said that he wanted all these characters to represent different people in the world and we had an Asian guy and an Indian guy and… a whole bunch of white people. He just wanted it to be a united Benetton cast. I said that's fantastic, but if we have this many people, then we need to have a gay character. If you want to represent the world, that's certainly a demographic that we need to hit. [Tim completely agreed and] was thinking Claire's best friend might be a good person - and I couldn't agree more. So we were definitely going down a route of making [Zach] the gay character and having him have a big role in her life and sort of teaching her to come out about her ability and embrace herself and actually using the coming out metaphor and the gay metaphor in that instance as a fun piece of storytelling.

There was an unfortunate miscommunication and when the script arrived that had the line in it, 'I would take you to homecoming but you have to know that I don't like girls that way.' The actor [Thomas Dekker]'s, manager threatened to pull him from the show because he was up for the John Carter role in The Sarah Connor Chronicles and she didn't want him playing a gay character because it might affect FOX's interest in hiring him. It got really ugly.

This is just despicable, and I don't know who to place the blame on more, Drekker for not firing his bigoted manager, or the bigoted manager for showing the world that he himself and his client as a pacifist are both raging homophobes.

I can't imagine any studio in town that would discriminate against an actor because of the sexual preference of one of his past characters, it's just a shocking and ridiculous notion. And as if this all weren't bad enough, it turns out that writer Bryan Fuller is actually gay himself. Could that possibly be any more screwed up?

We had episodes planned for him to be in, and she pulled him from the show altogether. So that's why he sort of disappeared.

Note that his bigoted manager pulled him over a single line in one script, one that was removed in order to keep peace on the show.

I'm tempted to skip watching Drekker's new show just because of this. I have no interest in giving higher ratings to a show that employees bigots.

With that, I give you this mornings quickies.

  • NCIS star Mark Harmon is fed up with the EP Don Bellisario, and wants to leave the show if things don't improve.

  • Two X-Files and Battlestar Galactica alumni are teaming up for "The Gathering", a new Lifetime mini-series that has something to do with modern-day witches and a doctor's search for his missing wife.

  • Actor Luke Goss talks up Hellboy 2.

  • Variety has info on a new Steven Spielberg reality show called "On the Lot". Contestants go to a bootcamp of sorts, then make short films, and Hollywood bigwigs decide who wins. Typical bs, always focusing on the director, not the real creative talents behind the film. Judges will be: Carrie Fisher (an actor? .. why?); Brett "I can't keep a film on budget..ever" Ratner, and two people I've never heard of. Oh yeah, it'll be on Fox. *click*

  • As has been reported yesterday, a "fire broke out in a vacant post office Tuesday where a movie crew had been filming scenes for an upcoming 'Batman' sequel." It had nothing to do with the filming and nobody was hurt. Whoopy.

  • Sony is reporting after a short investigation that Spider-Man 3 is *not* being sold on the streets of China. According to wire reports, these were in fact repackaged copies of Spider-Man 2. Neither of these events has been confirmed, so anything is still possible.

  • Bad news: many of the biggest TV shows are seeing a drop in ratings. Good news: it's industry wide.

  • Universal Pictures has bought the film rights to a book about the astronauts that were stranded aboard the International Space State for three months in 2003. This should be an excellent film.

  • Spider-Man 3 star Topher Grace (Venom) is whining about becoming filthy rich and extremely famous. Oh, how terrible it must be to walk in his shoes.
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Apr 25, 2007, 11:18:00 AM
I want to play devil's advocate for just a moment even though I am inclined to agree with you for the most part. Giving credit to him and his manager, I think you have to be careful what roles you play today. Several actors get pigeonholed into roles especially if they start young which does not necessarily mean, the actor/manager does not appreciate that segment of society but are just looking out for the most opportunities as an actor and wanting to leave the door a little more open. Jake Gyllenhaal for example. After Brokeback Mountain rumors flew about him. Did they about Heath Ledger? Not so much because he was much more established in my opinion as a heart throb (and a married man). Have we seen much of either one since that movie? Not so much.
Better example: Kerr Smith (the lovable gay guy from the sappy Dawson's Creek series). A very straight actor who jumpstarted his career with a gay teen role. It took him landing a straight adult, mysterious role on another WB show "Charmed" to get him out of that "is he gay" direction. Kerr stated in 2004 for an interview when he landed the role "We will shed the gay thing yet, you and I. We will do it together. It's slowly diminishing. I knew it was going to stick with me for a little bit, but after a couple of jobs, people forget about it. I think it's fun.
"I just have to make out with a lot of women, starting with Rose. My wife is fine with that. She'd rather have me kiss girls than guys, that's for sure."
I don't think he could be considered a homophobe by any means but a teenage boy who is still waiting to land a lead role and a manager who is doing her job, can they be abused for trying to learn from other actor's experiences??
As for removing him from the show over the ONE line...I admit, that's a bit ridiculous. It takes more then a few lines to stick you into a category of any kind as an actor. But in the long run, there are stereo types, bigotry, etc still rampant in the world today, and if your income consists of pleasing the masses, I don't know if I would want to take the chance of losing out on other jobs for one "type" of role, but the situation could have been handled MUCH BETTER then it was by all means.

Apr 25, 2007, 11:24:00 AM
Rumor has it that Gyllenhaal is topping the short list to replace Tobey Macguire, if Macguire bails on the Spider-Man franchise.

What Drekker's manager did was unconscionable and bad business.

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