Russell Tovey on Playing a Gay Superhero
After steaming up the small screen on shows like “Looking” and “Quantico,” out actor Russell Tovey is about to get animated.
Tovey is providing the voice of the main character in “Freedom Fighters: The Ray,” a new animated series, which is to debut Friday. The series is about a band of DC Comics heroes who live on Earth X, a parallel world in which Germany won World War II. Six episodes will be available on CW Seed, the CW network’s digital content site.
The actor is portraying Raymond “Ray” Terrill, a superhero with the ability to manipulate light who also happens to be gay. We were introduced to the character last week, when Tovey appeared in nonanimated form in the four-part “Crisis on Earth-X” on The CW, where he shared a same-sex smooch with Wentworth Miller as Citizen Cold. The kiss lip-lock was praised by the LGBTQ community as a rare primetime TV moment featuring openly gay actors playing gay characters.
“Growing up, I always wanted to be a superhero,” Tovey told The New York Times in a recent interview. “I want the Ray to become someone that gay kids watching TV — who might feel a bit out there and not accepted or who don’t understand themselves — can relate to.”
He added, “Everyone wants to play a superhero. It’s definitely one of the boxes you want to tick. It feels wonderful to be ticking that box in a big way and with a big, pink triangle.”
Unlike other actors, Tovey has said that he’s not worried that playing a variety of gay roles will leave him typecast in Hollywood.
“Being gay has made my career,” he told The Guardian in 2016. “And it’s made me realize that just like there’s not just one way to play a straight person, or one story to tell, there are a billion fascinating wonderful stories to tell with gay characters.”