NBC's "Heroes" Writer Uncovers Gay Debacle: "It Got Really Ugly"
APRIL 26, 2007:Bryan Fuller, an openly gay writer on NBC's hit series "Heroes," has spoken about the show to popgurls.com and finally confirmed what we had suspected since the Thomas Dekker incident occurred last year in December - NBC was forced to convert the actor's character into a heterosexual by his management.
Dekker who is repped by TalentWorks and Untitled Entertainment was playing Zach, a gay character on the show, who was a friend of Claire, Hayden Panettiere's invincible cheerleader.
Fuller said to the website that after the series creator Tim Kring decided to come up with the so-called "Benetton-style" cast representing different people and cultures of the world, a decision was made to conceive a gay character as well.
Both men believed Zach was an excellent choice to introduce a gay character on the show and they had written for him since the beginning keeping that in mind. He was supposed to help Claire come out about her abilities and embrace herself the way she was; a clever metaphor.
As soon as the actor obtained the script for an episode in which Zach strongly implied to his best friend he was not interested in girls, the manager was quick to nix the coming out line. Fuller reveals:
"The actor's manager threatened to pull him from the show because he was up for the John Carter role in "The Sarah Connor Chronicles" and she didn't want him playing a gay character because it might affect FOX's interest in hiring him. It got really ugly."
"I was very upset by it – I was not happy about it at all. There were times I had to avoid talking about it because we didn't want to have a negative reflection on the show. The show's been such a positive experience for so many people, we didn't want to get hung up on the fact that one actor's management felt that it was a career killer for him to play a homosexual which, as a gay man, I found incredibly insulting."
"We had episodes planned for him to be in, and she pulled him from the show altogether. So that's why he sort of disappeared."
Kring tried to downplay the controversy by releasing the following statement in December: ""We apologize for misleading the audience and wish that we could have handled things better on our end. But making a TV show is often a very imprecise business. As you stated, Heroes is a big sprawling drama, and there is no reason to believe that a gay character will not be represented on our show in the future. It is my hope that if we do, we do it with honesty and dignity."
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