Ewan McGregor and Chris Messina clumsily say their Birds of Prey villains are probably, maybe, sort of gay
Billed as a not-so-typical superhero flick, Birds of Prey has been buzzing praise for its women-led cast, but its two male villains have seen a different kind of response from fans.
Actors Ewan McGregor and Chris Messina play the Black Mask and Victor Zsasz respectively in the spin-off from the Academy Award-winning film Suicide Squad.
Rumours swirled that the characters, in contrast to their original depiction in the DC comic books, might be gay.
Are the Birds of Prey villains gay? ‘More than likely’, says Chris Messina.
This was heightened when reports cited that the Black Mask’s characterisation will be that of a “flamboyant gay man”, polarising fans and leading to some to accuse the studio of whittling sexuality down to tired tropes.
Speculation was put to rest, well, kind of, when a Variety reporter pinned the actors down and asked them point-blank yesterday.
“It’s very complicated,” McGregor answered.
“Their relationship is very much based,” he said before stumbling on his words and adding: “There’s a want and a need in there for sure.”
— Variety (@Variety) January 24, 2020
Messina added: “There’s like a real love of anarchy.”
McGregor then interjected and said: “More than likely, yes.”
Just before the interview, Messina planted a kiss on McGregor’s cheek.
‘Honestly just say they’re straight. Please.’
Ahead of its February 7 release, the actors’ vague confirmation didn’t sit too well with fans, with some accusing the studio of “queerbaiting”.
Comedian Billie Eichner derided the response. Tweeting: “Honestly just say they’re straight. Please.
“Enough with this have it both ways nonsense. Imagine how tired we are.”
Honestly just say they’re straight. Please. Enough with this have it both ways nonsense. IMAGINE HOW TIRED WE ARE.
— billy eichner (@billyeichner) January 24, 2020
Other fans chimed similar comments, branding the queerbaiting as “cruel and disrespectful”.
I love them both, but kiss each other onscreen or I don't give a shit. https://t.co/p8qQ2WgjpM
— Louis Peitzman (@LouisPeitzman) January 24, 2020
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Can straight male actors please stop queerbaiting to try to trick gay audiences to see their films. If a character is gay it needs to be obvious to the audience. Tired of the queerbaiting. Please stop it.
— OrvilleLloydDouglas🇨🇦🏳️🌈 (@OrvilleLloyd) January 25, 2020
One part of the film that is less ambiguous is the character of Renee Montoya, the Gotham City detective.
The lesbian will be played by Rosie Perez, becoming the gay DC superhero to star in a film.
DC characters have led the way in LGBT representation, though up until now, it has been exclusively limited to TV shows.