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Heartstopper’s Joe Locke says his ‘dream’ would be to play the ‘first gay Disney prince’

Maggie Baska May 7, 2022
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Heartstopper star Joe Locke stares at the camera while wearing an orange patterned shirt and blue jacket

Heartstopper star Joe Locke says a "dream" role of his would be to play Disney's first openly gay prince. (David M Benett/Dave Benett/Getty for One Hundred Hotel & GQ Style)

Heartstopper star Joe Locke has set his sights on his next big role and said he would love to play the “first gay Disney prince”. 

Locke has quickly become a household name for his role as loveable gay teen Charlie Spring in Netflix’s beloved LGBTQ+ show Heartstopper. The role was Locke’s first-ever acting gig, and he absolutely hit it out of the park as Heartstopper has been heralded as one of the most important modern queer TV series

Locke was selected from a casting pool of about 10,000 young actors who all wanted to play Charlie in the British coming-of-age TV show, which is based on Alice Oseman’s graphic novel series of the same name. 

He told the Independent that he “just screamed” with joy after he got a phone call from his agent telling him that he got the role. Locke described the series as a “beautiful story of acceptance and love and friendship and happiness” which has definitely resonated with the LGBTQ+ community. 

“It shows the really nice things about being queer,” Locke said. “I think a lot of queer people growing up feel like they don’t deserve love, because they don’t have access to the same dating pool or support as straight people do. And so Heartstopper is so lovely in that it gives that to queer characters.”

Locke added that he hoped Netflix would renew Heartstopper for a second season, but Netflix has remained quiet on if it will be picking up the show for another series. So fans could be waiting a while to see how Charlie’s relationship with popular rugby player, Nick (Kit Connor), develops.

He thought the show could lead him to being cast in more projects that “mean something”, and he had an idea of what role he would like to land next. 

“I would love to play the first gay Disney prince,” he said. “That would be a dream.”

Joe Locke even cheekily tried to get Disney’s attention by retweeting his interview with the Independent, and he would honestly be the right choice for any openly queer Disney prince. 

Dedicated Heartstopper fans have rallied behind Locke on social media and now want to see the 18-year-old’s dream made reality. 

Joe Locke recently told Entertainment Weekly that he auditioned for Heartstopper after a family friend told him he should “go for this”. The teen figured “what’s the worst that could happen”, and he only realised after getting multiple recalls that he might actually come to fruition. 

“And then it did and this whole experience has just changed my life completely and I feel like I’m living my dream, which is cliché but true,” Locke said. 

Looking ahead, Locke said it was “quite easy” to envision that there would be a second season of the show because there are still more graphic novels in Oseman’s series, which cover topics like Charlie’s journey with his mental health. 

“Charlie develops an eating disorder and his mental health takes a turn for the worse and I think that would be interesting to look into, especially if the show continues to be very much a teen show,” Locke said. 

“Whenever people tackle mental health on TV, it tends to be really dark and I think what our show has really done well so far is tackling issues, but from an optimistic lens.”

He added: “You can always see the light at the end of the tunnel, you always know it’s going to get better. I think it’d be really great to look at that more.”

Connor added that he would be “very excited” to see how the relationship between Tao (William Gao) and Elle (Yasmin Finney) grows as fans saw their connection “slowly progress” throughout the season. He also wanted fans to see how Nick and Charlie grow together by “learning health practices as a couple”.

Heartstopper is out now on Netflix. 

More: Heartstopper, Joe Locke

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