Words: Steve Brown
Robert Sheehan doesn’t want his The Umbrella Academy character to be defined as just ‘gay’ and nothing else.
The Misfits actor is starring as Klaus Hargreeves aka The Séance in the new Netflix superhero series – which is set to hit the streaming site this Friday (February 15) – alongside the likes of Ellen Page.
And his character has the special ability to communicate with the dead and also happens to be gay but while speaking to Digital Spy, the actor admitted he doesn’t want his character’s sexual to define him.
He said: “Like it or not, if your character is labelled as a ‘gay character’, then that label becomes defining and it kind of reduces all else about the character.
“So, you’re kind of doing the character a bit of a disservice.
“Oversimplification if you say, ‘Oh, well he’s the gay one’. So, it doesn’t matter, basically, is the point.
“It doesn’t matter who he’s attracted to. It’s a boy, it’s a girl, it’s a donkey, it’s a bus. All four perhaps, at once. But that would be an uncomfortable evening.”
Based on the comic book series by My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way, the series follows surviving members of a supernaturally-gifted family as they reunite to solve the mystery of the death of their adopted father.
While the character in the comic book series isn’t gay, Sheehan hopes that the new Netflix show will help LGBT+ people with their sexuality.
He continued: “It’s very nice if it happens and it some way improves people’s lives. Great. Excellent! But I don’t think you can go in with this sense of self-importance playing a character.
“You kind of have to play the truth of the character. The character has to feel truthful to you, and not go in with an agenda.
"It’s very, very lovely that maybe young people who are embarrassed about the fact that they’re gay and they’re keeping it to themselves, can feel a little less uncomfortable about it by seeing a character like Klaus who is very out there and very colourful and unashamed about the fact that he is pansexual, or whatever you want to call it.
“But I just wanted to play the truth of it, man."
Watch the trailer for The Umbrella Academy below: