Gotham star Cory Michael Smith has come out as queer.
The 31-year-old actor, who plays The Riddler in the Fox fantasy crime drama series based on the characters of DC Comics' Batman franchise, opened up about his sexuality for the first time in a new interview with The Daily Beast.
Smith, who accroding to The Daily Beast "identifies as queer", was promoting his role in upcoming film drama 1985, in which he plays a closeted gay New Yorker with AIDS who returns to his Texas family home in the early days of the epidemic.
"There’s something special about telling a story that feels closer to home," Smith explained. "I’m not exactly like The Riddler in real life."
He went on "I’m from Middle America. I’m from Ohio. I’ve been living here [in New York] for a while, and there are stretches when I don’t see my family often. Going home and that whole charade is very familiar. The first family dinner after a while. Coming out to a family, the fear of that."
Smith then touched on his own personal experience of coming out to his family, revealing they handled it with "a lot of love," though it took "a lot of time."
1985 deals with one of the darkest periods in gay history, and while recent queer films such as the Oscar-winning Call Me By Your Name and Greg Berlanti's teen drama Love, Simon have been praised for their more positive portrayals of the LGBT experience, Smith says depicting the horror the community went through remains a vital part of big screen story-telling.
"I don’t ever want to insinuate or push that the queer experience is hindered with shame or darkness and depression," the star explained.
"It’s not about connecting gay people with the idea of disease. But I do think it is important to look at the gay experience in the early ’80s and know that it was overwhelmed by disease."
He added: "It’s a film that is going back to a moment and telling a very personal story about the pain and suffering that certain people went through.
"Sometimes I think it’s OK to have a moment of silence and consider what that experience was."