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‘Fosters’ Spinoff Exec Producer Praises Darren Criss for No Longer Playing Gay Characters

Darren Criss may have been the talk of the weekend following his Golden Globes win, but at Monday’s “Good Trouble” screening, it was his support of LGBTQ acting roles that had his name on everyone’s lips.

Recently, the “Assassination of Gianni Versace” actor told Bustle that he no longer felt comfortable taking on queer roles in film and television. As a straight actor, Criss said he wanted to make sure that he wouldn’t be taking away roles from gay actors — a statement that “Good Trouble” executive producer Bradley Bredeweg took to heart.

“I love it! I think it’s very bold and outspoken, and I love that he made that statement,” Bredeweg told Variety during the Freeform series’ red carpet at the Los Angeles LGBT Center in Hollywood.Hopefully one day we don’t have to make those statements, that we’re just in a world in which actors can be actors and play these really important roles, but I think right now in this moment in time, we should be giving the spotlight to the LGBTQ community within those stories.”

A spinoff of the hit show “The Fosters,” “Good Trouble” is no stranger to LGBTQ representation, following familiar characters Callie (Maia Mitchell) and Mariana (Cierra Ramirez) after they move to Los Angeles in pursuit of careers in law and tech. Along the way, they move into a communal living space called the coterie where they meet a host of new characters including lesbian building manager Alice Kawn (Sherry Cola) and bisexual heartthrob Gael (Tommy Martinez).

However, while the show continues to honor what Cola calls the “heart of ‘The Fosters,'” she also told Variety that “Good Trouble” is bringing a slightly more nuanced approach to its LGBTQ characters.

Her own character, Alice, is a lesbian first generation Asian-American who struggles to deal with the disappointment she feels from her parents and her own sexual identity while Martinez’s character unapologetically embraces his bisexuality in the face of stigma.

“I think about growing up in my twenty-something years, I never really saw a character like Alice on the screen,” Cola said during the panel. “To be both lesbian and Asian and her telling that unique perspective, kind of going through what she’s going, I’m really hoping that it does impact someone who can relate to that.”

As for Gael, executive producer Joanna Johnson said it was important to feature a bisexual character so that the show could explore some of the more misunderstood LGBTQ identities that make up a large part of the queer community. Additionally, Johnson teased the appearance of future trans guests and was hopeful for the eventual inclusion of a non-binary character.

“I think one thing that we were really struck by is how the younger generation defines their sexuality less specifically, in the sense that fluidity is something that is a phenomenon and that there are so many different ways that they do identify,” she told Variety. “I think that it’s interesting to see that there’s so much more freedom in sexuality and people don’t feel they have to define themselves as straight or gay.”

Also joining the panel was executive producer Peter Paige and actress Zuri Adele who plays a fellow coterie house mate.

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