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Brian J. Smith Comes Out as Gay

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In the cover story for Attitude‘s December issue, the Tony-nominated star, 38, comes out as gay while discussing the hardships of growing up closed in suburban Texas.

“I was terrified. At school I really couldn’t fit in anywhere. I wasn’t a jock or a nerd,” he told the magazine. “Forget about any [LGBTQ+] union or groups. There was absolutely nothing. I was completely alone. I heard all the names: p—-, f—–.”

“I could never be who I was,” he added. “I was constantly having to check myself and make sure I wasn’t looking at someone too long or making someone feel uncomfortable.”

For Smith, acting became a place where he could escape those tough feelings.

He got involved in his high school theater productions. “In front of an audience, I disappeared and became someone else,” Smith told Attitude. “I had 600 students at school, all of whom probably thought I was an absolute idiot, a nerd. [But] on stage, they paid attention to me, and they saw that I had something. And that’s when I didn’t feel alone.”

[...]

In Sense8, his breakout project, Smith played a pansexual character. “I remember being so relaxed,” Smith recalled of the show, which was cancelled in 2017 after two seasons (but eventually returned with a special finale movie). “I thought, ‘Finally, I can just be myself, I don’t have to put on airs for any of these people.’ “

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On 11/10/2019 at 5:08 PM, ElectricBoogaloo said:

Thanks for sharing that! I'm so happy for Brian, and so glad that coming out gives him peace. It's such a brave, cool thing to do, and I love that his wonderful experiences on "Sense8" contributed to his wanting to live a more open life as a gay man. Everything I've seen behind the scenes on the show really demonstrates that the actors all became so close after so much travel and time working together.

The thing is, Brian's coming-out shows YET AGAIN (as always) that orientation means crap in terms of what an actor can play. Just as I bought Miguel and Alfonso as gay men, I completely bought Brian's Will as a guy who began his journey on "Sense8" as a primarily heterosexual person, and whose primary love interest was Riley (Brian had terrific chemistry with Tuppence Middleton, too). There was something innocent and sweet about his performance of Will -- and I love that as Will eventually evolves, like the rest of the cluster, to pansexuality, he never shows discomfort with that journey, and actually treated those scenes with a sense of wonder and discovery.

Meanwhile, SPOILERS for the entire show below!

I just did a total series rewatch of "Sense8" and honestly, I enjoyed it even more this time around. I also went back and reread our archived forum discussions, which were so much fun as always.

Some of my favorite moments this time included the ones so many fans of the show love, like:

  • The "What's Up" Singalong
  • The "Demons" orgy
  • Nomi's pursuit/bike chase
  • The 'births' montage
  • Lito and Nomi's museum conversation
  • The S1 finale cluster team-up to rescue Riley
  • The birthday and "Hallelujah" montages (Christmas special)
  • Sun's fight (and kiss) with Detective Mun (aka Hot Cop)
  • Lito's declaration at Sao Paolo Pride
  • The Cluster vs. Cluster showdown (Wolfy vs. Lila)
  • Lito and Hernando on the Beach

But I also loved several other small moments and revelations:

  • Sun stepping in to save Capheus (pretty much every time it happened)
  • Lito's fabulous, very Wachowski, over-the-top movie shootout
  • Will's joyous Fourth of July fireworks with his Dad (and several cluster members)
  • Kala and Wolfy in the Berlin rain and Mumbai sunshine (the production on this show was simply staggering)
  • Lito experiencing Sun's PMS
  • Lito saving Wolfgang (and vice versa)
  • Hernando's fantastic mic-drop monologue about art in S2 to the homophobic student
  • Bug's teary joyful expression when Nomi and Neets invite him to join their Christmas
  • The Cluster group-hug for Sun when she visits the cemetery
  • Lito wandering an entire episode depressed in onesie pajamas, before curling up to weep and snuggle with Sun (each cuddling a Hello Kitty plushie)
  • "My sister's the fucking Terminator!"
  • Will's big reveal to Whispers in the S2 finale
  • All the little happy Cluster moments in the series finale (bus, train, wedding, etc.).
  • The adorable resolution of the Kala-Wolfy-Rajan triangle (yes, it was rushed, but yes, I loved it)

On this rewatch, my third of the show total (I haven't rewatched since the finale in 2017), it was interesting to realize that Dany is always a poly third member of the Lito-Hernando relationship -- meaning, she doesn't start as a nonsexual beard and evolve, she's always been a participant. It's more apparent on rewatch that she joined in the first night, apologizes the next day, and Lito says it was fine -- and after that she's always shown sleeping in bed with them (and, of course, getting off every time they get down). And while she is obviously cool that Lito and Hernando are the OTP, she is also sort of touchingly close to Hernando -- sleeps with her arms around him, and has several little moments with him, to the extent that when Lito allows her to sacrifice herself to Joaquin for his career, that's when Hernando leaves him).

And by Season 2, from the Christmas special, through the series finale, she is presented as part of the Lito/Hernando relationship, which then becomes more openly sexual between the three -- beyond her solely as a voyeuristic participant -- in the series finale. I think part of this is due to the evolution of her intimacy with Hernando and Lito, but I also think it's because at this point, after all the Cluster orgies, Lito is now pansexual and completely okay with the idea of sex with at least some women (i.e., we've seen him sexually engage with Nomi, Amanita, and eventually Sun and Kala as well, in addition to Will, Wolfgang, and the other guys).

This rewatch was also the one that cemented for me that replacing Capheus's actor was the right thing to do. I loved Aml Ameen, the original actor -- he was this incredibly joyous presence and his smile lit up the world. But there was also something innocent and almost childlike about him (which was sometimes jarring, given his ultra-violent storyline). I don't think he would have had the gravitas to play Capheus's more mature, political, and romantic S2 plot convincingly (Toby Onwumere definitely carries it off well). Beyond whether Ameen was actually uncomfortable with the sexytimes/orgies as rumored, I think it was ultimately the right move by Lana Wachowski.

Meanwhile, the whole "Trojan Horse" subterfuge where everyone acts like a scared, confused tourist in Naples is hilarious, especially this moment from Wolfgang and Felix...

nswkqe5fsuxqqewkh2go.png

Anyway, I still love the show, and revisiting it was a treat. I wish it had been able to continue for a full third season, but I was happy with what we got. There's truly never been a show remotely like it.

Also, for those seeking good recaps, I revisited some during my latest rewatch, and while the AV Club reviewer basically just complained grumpily through them all (despite primarily A/B ratings), Kyle Fowle's recaps are really joyous and appreciative while still managing to be critical.

Edited by paramitch
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Also, I meant to post this in my earlier post the other day, but when I rewatched this time, I noticed that -- in the very funny (yet sweet) scene where Lito is weeping in his onesie on Sun's bed, when she joins him, he hands her his (very Sun-appropriate) grumpy-face CAT PILLOW, and then picks up and cuddles a CRYING CAT PILLOW. It's the best thing ever. I love little details like this.

 

Sense8_Sun and Lito Cat Pillows.PNG

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On 1/9/2020 at 4:29 AM, paramitch said:

Thanks for sharing that! I'm so happy for Brian, and so glad that coming out gives him peace. It's such a brave, cool thing to do, and I love that his wonderful experiences on "Sense8" contributed to his wanting to live a more open life as a gay man. Everything I've seen behind the scenes on the show really demonstrates that the actors all became so close after so much travel and time working together.

The thing is, Brian's coming-out shows YET AGAIN (as always) that orientation means crap in terms of what an actor can play. Just as I bought Miguel and Alfonso as gay men, I completely bought Brian's Will as a guy who began his journey on "Sense8" as a primarily heterosexual person, and whose primary love interest was Riley (Brian had terrific chemistry with Tuppence Middleton, too). There was something innocent and sweet about his performance of Will -- and I love that as Will eventually evolves, like the rest of the cluster, to pansexuality, he never shows discomfort with that journey, and actually treated those scenes with a sense of wonder and discovery.

Meanwhile, SPOILERS for the entire show below!

I just did a total series rewatch of "Sense8" and honestly, I enjoyed it even more this time around. I also went back and reread our archived forum discussions, which were so much fun as always.

Some of my favorite moments this time included the ones so many fans of the show love, like:

  • The "What's Up" Singalong
  • The "Demons" orgy
  • Nomi's pursuit/bike chase
  • The 'births' montage
  • Lito and Nomi's museum conversation
  • The S1 finale cluster team-up to rescue Riley
  • The birthday and "Hallelujah" montages (Christmas special)
  • Sun's fight (and kiss) with Detective Mun (aka Hot Cop)
  • Lito's declaration at Sao Paolo Pride
  • The Cluster vs. Cluster showdown (Wolfy vs. Lila)
  • Lito and Hernando on the Beach

But I also loved several other small moments and revelations:

  • Sun stepping in to save Capheus (pretty much every time it happened)
  • Lito's fabulous, very Wachowski, over-the-top movie shootout
  • Will's joyous Fourth of July fireworks with his Dad (and several cluster members)
  • Kala and Wolfy in the Berlin rain and Mumbai sunshine (the production on this show was simply staggering)
  • Lito experiencing Sun's PMS
  • Lito saving Wolfgang (and vice versa)
  • Hernando's fantastic mic-drop monologue about art in S2 to the homophobic student
  • Bug's teary joyful expression when Nomi and Neets invite him to join their Christmas
  • The Cluster group-hug for Sun when she visits the cemetery
  • Lito wandering an entire episode depressed in onesie pajamas, before curling up to weep and snuggle with Sun (each cuddling a Hello Kitty plushie)
  • "My sister's the fucking Terminator!"
  • Will's big reveal to Whispers in the S2 finale
  • All the little happy Cluster moments in the series finale (bus, train, wedding, etc.).
  • The adorable resolution of the Kala-Wolfy-Rajan triangle (yes, it was rushed, but yes, I loved it)

On this rewatch, my third of the show total (I haven't rewatched since the finale in 2017), it was interesting to realize that Dany is always a poly third member of the Lito-Hernando relationship -- meaning, she doesn't start as a nonsexual beard and evolve, she's always been a participant. It's more apparent on rewatch that she joined in the first night, apologizes the next day, and Lito says it was fine -- and after that she's always shown sleeping in bed with them (and, of course, getting off every time they get down). And while she is obviously cool that Lito and Hernando are the OTP, she is also sort of touchingly close to Hernando -- sleeps with her arms around him, and has several little moments with him, to the extent that when Lito allows her to sacrifice herself to Joaquin for his career, that's when Hernando leaves him).

And by Season 2, from the Christmas special, through the series finale, she is presented as part of the Lito/Hernando relationship, which then becomes more openly sexual between the three -- beyond her solely as a voyeuristic participant -- in the series finale. I think part of this is due to the evolution of her intimacy with Hernando and Lito, but I also think it's because at this point, after all the Cluster orgies, Lito is now pansexual and completely okay with the idea of sex with at least some women (i.e., we've seen him sexually engage with Nomi, Amanita, and eventually Sun and Kala as well, in addition to Will, Wolfgang, and the other guys).

This rewatch was also the one that cemented for me that replacing Capheus's actor was the right thing to do. I loved Aml Ameen, the original actor -- he was this incredibly joyous presence and his smile lit up the world. But there was also something innocent and almost childlike about him (which was sometimes jarring, given his ultra-violent storyline). I don't think he would have had the gravitas to play Capheus's more mature, political, and romantic S2 plot convincingly (Toby Onwumere definitely carries it off well). Beyond whether Ameen was actually uncomfortable with the sexytimes/orgies as rumored, I think it was ultimately the right move by Lana Wachowski.

Meanwhile, the whole "Trojan Horse" subterfuge where everyone acts like a scared, confused tourist in Naples is hilarious, especially this moment from Wolfgang and Felix...

nswkqe5fsuxqqewkh2go.png

Anyway, I still love the show, and revisiting it was a treat. I wish it had been able to continue for a full third season, but I was happy with what we got. There's truly never been a show remotely like it.

Also, for those seeking good recaps, I revisited some during my latest rewatch, and while the AV Club reviewer basically just complained grumpily through them all (despite primarily A/B ratings), Kyle Fowle's recaps are really joyous and appreciative while still managing to be critical.

Aaah! Thank you for including thar screenshot. I'm laughing at that scene all over again and might need to do a rewatch. I'll always treasure and miss this show. 

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I started rewatching this show yesterday, and was reminded again just how fucking likeable all the characters are. It's so rare, in a TV show, for all the main characters to be really engaging, sympathetic and warm.

But each scene leaves me with a smile on my face. Especially any scene where Riley smiles, because Tuppence Middleton has one of the most infectious smiles I've ever seen. But they're all just so much fun, even before they start to regularly share experiences. Even their various non-Sensate friends - Amanita, Daniella, Diego and (okay, this is a bit of a stretch, because he's often annoying) Felix.

On 1/9/2020 at 9:29 AM, paramitch said:

Thanks for sharing that! I'm so happy for Brian, and so glad that coming out gives him peace. It's such a brave, cool thing to do, and I love that his wonderful experiences on "Sense8" contributed to his wanting to live a more open life as a gay man. Everything I've seen behind the scenes on the show really demonstrates that the actors all became so close after so much travel and time working together.

The thing is, Brian's coming-out shows YET AGAIN (as always) that orientation means crap in terms of what an actor can play. Just as I bought Miguel and Alfonso as gay men, I completely bought Brian's Will as a guy who began his journey on "Sense8" as a primarily heterosexual person, and whose primary love interest was Riley (Brian had terrific chemistry with Tuppence Middleton, too). There was something innocent and sweet about his performance of Will -- and I love that as Will eventually evolves, like the rest of the cluster, to pansexuality, he never shows discomfort with that journey, and actually treated those scenes with a sense of wonder and discovery.

I'll be honest, I've known Brian was probably gay ever since Stargate: Universe. There were people online talking about it back then, and I figured he was out but private about it. But you're right, he's played both gay and straight characters with aplomb - he's really good in the BBC's World on Fire, as a gay American doctor in Paris at the outbreak of World War Two.

His relationship with Riley is such a strong element of the show. I love their early interactions, and the wonder they share together - Riley at being in America, Will at seeing Iceland, their first conversation on the phone. It's all so sweet and genuine.

I see them all as being mental pansexuals, in that they enjoy feeling the experiences of both the men and women in their cluster, but I don't know that they would all necessarily be up for physical interactions with members of a gender they weren't into. 

Maybe they are, at least when it comes to their cluster mates, but I think it was Jonas who said love within a Cluster was "the ultimate form of narcissism", so it may not be how things normally go, and these eight people are different in their attitudes and sexuality to past clusters.

On 1/9/2020 at 9:29 AM, paramitch said:

On this rewatch, my third of the show total (I haven't rewatched since the finale in 2017), it was interesting to realize that Dany is always a poly third member of the Lito-Hernando relationship -- meaning, she doesn't start as a nonsexual beard and evolve, she's always been a participant. It's more apparent on rewatch that she joined in the first night, apologizes the next day, and Lito says it was fine -- and after that she's always shown sleeping in bed with them (and, of course, getting off every time they get down). And while she is obviously cool that Lito and Hernando are the OTP, she is also sort of touchingly close to Hernando -- sleeps with her arms around him, and has several little moments with him, to the extent that when Lito allows her to sacrifice herself to Joaquin for his career, that's when Hernando leaves him).

That's an interesting observation. I thought she was always just watching them, and it was the voyeurism that she was apologising for. But now I think about it, doesn't she show up in one of the orgy scenes, which would suggest that she is in a physical relationship with Lito too.

On 1/9/2020 at 9:29 AM, paramitch said:

This rewatch was also the one that cemented for me that replacing Capheus's actor was the right thing to do. I loved Aml Ameen, the original actor -- he was this incredibly joyous presence and his smile lit up the world. But there was also something innocent and almost childlike about him (which was sometimes jarring, given his ultra-violent storyline). I don't think he would have had the gravitas to play Capheus's more mature, political, and romantic S2 plot convincingly (Toby Onwumere definitely carries it off well). Beyond whether Ameen was actually uncomfortable with the sexytimes/orgies as rumored, I think it was ultimately the right move by Lana Wachowski.

This is exactly how I feel about both Capheus actors. Aml Ameen was great, and so warm and infectious in his energy. Onwumere does his best to replicate that, but doesn't quite, however he does have a more grounded energy that works really well for his emergence as a political candidate. Ameen would have looked too callow.

On 1/9/2020 at 9:29 AM, paramitch said:

Anyway, I still love the show, and revisiting it was a treat. I wish it had been able to continue for a full third season, but I was happy with what we got. There's truly never been a show remotely like it.

You're right there. This show is unique, in that the storyline is paced so leisurely and there is really no urgency to get to the bottom of anything. It's not until episode five that Will and Riley, the first two to communicate directly, even know for sure that they're both real people.

If this had been a network show, it would never have been picked up as a pilot, let alone survived network interference about pacing and streamlining. So we should be thankful to Netflix for taking a chance on something this creative and innovative (and expensive), even if we can be frustrated about what it never got the chance to become.

My favourite moments are too numerous to count, but off the top of my head:

  • I absolutely love the use of What's Up by Four Non Blondes. It's one of my favourite 90s songs, and so underappreciated. And then the reuse of it in season 2, in Riley's set.
  • The sheer delight of Will and Riley's early interactions, as they learn about one another. And again, Tuppence Middleton has the most attractive smile ever.
  • The odd couple, lascivious/prudish bickering of Wolfgang and Kala. They are so good at that. Riemelt is every inch the dissolute Euro trash, while Kala is the innocent, rich girl who has simply never met anyone like him before.
  • Wolfgang being the most dramatic woobie ever, and telling Kala he's too dangerous and broken to love. Also, that scene at the end of the Christmas special, where he's just fought off a bunch of assailants, and sees the rest of the cluster looking on sadly. "Happy fucking new year."
  • Lito being so very Lito about everything, and bouncing off the relative straight man work of Hernando and Daniella. And then the deadpan reactions of people like Nomi and Sun, when he's being ridiculous.
  • Amanita being so plucky and supportive and never once questioning Nomi.

But one thing I really love is that there's never any recrimination or resentment amongst the cluster - Wolfgang doesn't care that Will is a cop, Will doesn't care that Wolfgang is a criminal. Capheus doesn't care that Lito is gay or that Nomi is trans (a poor, uneducated man in Kenya is fairly likely to be homophobic in real life). They all accept one another, completely and utterly.

My only real regret is that we didn't get to see the first time all the cluster met in person, along with Amanita, Daniella and Felix. I could have happily watched a whole episode of introductions.

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On 1/13/2020 at 2:01 PM, Danny Franks said:

I'll be honest, I've known Brian was probably gay ever since Stargate: Universe. There were people online talking about it back then, and I figured he was out but private about it.

I'd had inklings too, from people I knew in the NY theater world who knew people who knew him, that sort of thing. Nothing dramatic, and I try to discount second- or third-hand talk like that... but the news doesn't come as a total surprise. The real test will be whether he continues to get cast in leading heterosexual roles now, after going public. I don't recall of an instance of that in US tv or movies yet, but I have the feeling we're close to a tipping point there.

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1 hour ago, Rinaldo said:

The real test will be whether he continues to get cast in leading heterosexual roles now, after going public. I don't recall of an instance of that in US tv or movies yet, but I have the feeling we're close to a tipping point there.

Off the top of my head, Neil Patrick Harris, Jonathan Groff, Luke Evans, Russell Tovey, John Barrowman, and Andrew Scott have all been cast as leading men in heterosexual roles after they came out. 

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On 1/10/2020 at 4:01 PM, jenrising said:

Aaah! Thank you for including thar screenshot. I'm laughing at that scene all over again and might need to do a rewatch. I'll always treasure and miss this show. 

I do too. I had a tough 3-4 months, and needed a boost and some optimism, and rewatching the show recently delivered. It's one of my go-to's when I'm dismayed about the ugliness and prejudice of the world or politics, etc. 

On 1/13/2020 at 11:01 AM, Danny Franks said:

His relationship with Riley is such a strong element of the show. I love their early interactions, and the wonder they share together - Riley at being in America, Will at seeing Iceland, their first conversation on the phone. It's all so sweet and genuine.

I adore Riley and Will together, and one of my favorite things about revisiting the show was how smart it was to weave together Will's realization that he was Sense8 with his falling in love with Riley. It's just very seamless storytelling; it always feels like Will, more than any of the others, falls in love with being Sense8 both for the superpowers and sense of closeness along with what it brought him (Riley). Brian makes some really interesting character choices, turning Will from someone who could have been a rather narrow, inflexible character, into one of the sweetest and most empathetic characters on the show.

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I see them all as being mental pansexuals, in that they enjoy feeling the experiences of both the men and women in their cluster, but I don't know that they would all necessarily be up for physical interactions with members of a gender they weren't into. 

Maybe they are, at least when it comes to their cluster mates, but I think it was Jonas who said love within a Cluster was "the ultimate form of narcissism", so it may not be how things normally go, and these eight people are different in their attitudes and sexuality to past clusters.

 

I can see this, although I would argue that Lito replies to Will, "We had sex," not "We had mind-sex," when Will meets him.

As far as relationships in-Cluster, it was Yrsa who said it was "the ultimate narcissism," and since she was basically made out of ice cubes and also told little-girl Riley she was hexed/cursed -- I'm not gonna take her word for it.

Besides, I think inter-Cluster sensation-overlapping simply has to occur frequently in Clusters, especially if like-minded activities are happening -- so, if four or five are feeling sexy, like in "Demons," then a lot of them will probably pick up that broadcast more strongly and either act on it (or mentally, er, act on it). But it's just my take, and there's certainly a ton of room for interpretation. Lana Wachowski has said definitively that our Cluster is pan by the end of the show's story.

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That's an interesting observation. I thought she was always just watching them, and it was the voyeurism that she was apologising for. But now I think about it, doesn't she show up in one of the orgy scenes, which would suggest that she is in a physical relationship with Lito too.

Yeah, I think what seemed to have happened was that the first night, she participated with Lito and Hernando by watching and getting off on it, and they allowed it and enjoyed it, and at some point joined them in the bed (possibly postcoitally), so that became the way things seemed to work with their threesome. Which makes sense to me because my first watch-through of the show, I was irritated that Dani was always openly masturbating when Lito and Hernando were together -- but upon rewatch I realized, that was the dynamic they had all three set as their sex life. The two men also definitely go further with Dani in the series finale, where it basically appears to have evolved into a full-on threesome activity.

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  • The sheer delight of Will and Riley's early interactions, as they learn about one another. And again, Tuppence Middleton has the most attractive smile ever.
  • The odd couple, lascivious/prudish bickering of Wolfgang and Kala. They are so good at that. Riemelt is every inch the dissolute Euro trash, while Kala is the innocent, rich girl who has simply never met anyone like him before.
  • Wolfgang being the most dramatic woobie ever, and telling Kala he's too dangerous and broken to love. Also, that scene at the end of the Christmas special, where he's just fought off a bunch of assailants, and sees the rest of the cluster looking on sadly. "Happy fucking new year."
  • Lito being so very Lito about everything, and bouncing off the relative straight man work of Hernando and Daniella. And then the deadpan reactions of people like Nomi and Sun, when he's being ridiculous.
  • Amanita being so plucky and supportive and never once questioning Nomi.

Will and Riley were lovely together, and they have such great chemistry! And Tuppence does have a gorgeous smile.

I love Wolfgang, and I know the darkness of his character gets a lot of discussion, but can we talk about how adorable and funny Max is when Wolfy is being mischievous? It's the dimples. Like when he pats the bed for Kala and grins, or when he chuckles at being woken by a kiss from Rajan after his first night with Kala? (And I love that he pats the bed for Rajan later in the series finale -- everything has gone full circle!)

I love Lito and Sun and basically every scene they ever share together, ever. I would watch an entire show about them. And I really love the non-Sens8 sidekicks, and how much part of the family they all become by the end. Especially Amanita, Hernando, Bug, Moon, Rajan, and Felix (although he was working my last nerve in Season 2).

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But one thing I really love is that there's never any recrimination or resentment amongst the cluster - Wolfgang doesn't care that Will is a cop, Will doesn't care that Wolfgang is a criminal. Capheus doesn't care that Lito is gay or that Nomi is trans (a poor, uneducated man in Kenya is fairly likely to be homophobic in real life). They all accept one another, completely and utterly.

I love all of that too. And I love that they become so connected and so empathetic with each other. I remember an early episode -- E5 I think -- when Will just spontaneously says to Nomi's horrible transphobic mother, "Her name is Nomi," and he says it with this simple disgust. I love the way the show used Will as a kind of 'everyman' to introduce us to the strangeness of the scenario, and how -- because Will is so basically, believably, decent, we accept so much very quickly because Will does, too.

There was some interesting cop-vs-criminal back and forth between Will and Wolfy on Sun's situation with her brother in season 2, but I loved that both simply said their piece and let Sun decide what was best. And at the party, when Sun's brother shot Moon, I loved that Will just looked at Wolfgang and gave Sun a nod, like, "Yeah, he's right, go get that asshole."

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My only real regret is that we didn't get to see the first time all the cluster met in person, along with Amanita, Daniella and Felix. I could have happily watched a whole episode of introductions.

Oh, me too. I understand why the show didn't linger on that, but it's also why I loved so many moments in the series finale movie, because we got the whole darned gang hanging out and living together in Paris, and it was the most adorable thing ever.

I could have watched another 10 hours of sweet fun goofball conversations as the sidekicks and Sensies got to know each other in real time (I would have especially loved a few hours of watching Rajan try to process the revelations, helped/hindered by Bug, Hernando, Dani, and Amanita, etc.). We got a little of Hernando marveling at what he had learned, but I wish we'd gotten even more.

On 1/13/2020 at 11:31 AM, ElectricBoogaloo said:

Jamie Clayton is appearing on The L Word: Generation Q as Tess, a recovering alcoholic who works at a bar. 

I saw this, and was so tickled that she's been working so much! She's so beautiful, and I thought she was terrific in "Sense8." I'm also happy "The L Word" is evidently being more trans-sensitive in its new continuation.

But most of the cast seems to have kept busy, and that makes me really happy. I wish great things for all of them -- they're beautiful, joyful, talented people. The "Making of" documentary (and the videos on YouTube) paint a picture of people who really became a family.

38 minutes ago, Rinaldo said:

I'd had inklings too, from people I knew in the NY theater world who knew people who knew him, that sort of thing. Nothing dramatic, and I try to discount second- or third-hand talk like that... but the news doesn't come as a total surprise. The real test will be whether he continues to get cast in leading heterosexual roles now, after going public. I don't recall of an instance of that in US tv or movies yet, but I have the feeling we're close to a tipping point there.

Yeah, I agree with you and Danny on this. It appears that Brian had done a kind of quiet coming out 8 years ago, where he was out to his friends and family, and to people who knew, but that he also wasn't actively making it public at work or in the press. I'm glad that he had that kind of network and support system as he's gone along.

I think it's very telling that he talked with so much emotion in his coming-out statement about never being relaxed except on "Sense8" because he could be himself. You can also really see this in the behind the scenes video and on YouTube -- there's a sweet, fun video on YouTube of him at the Sao Paolo Pride parade, where he kisses Tuppence AND Miguel (and, I think at some point, Max too)! and the crowd just goes crazy.

I really hope you're right and this has barely a ripple of impact on Brian's casting. He's already proven that he can play (and have chemistry) with anyone they need him to, and he's so much fun to watch in action scenes. He made Will so believable, so quickly! I hope he kicks ass on the new Amazon show "Treadstone" (the Jason Bourne spinoff) -- I'm interested to see it.

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On ‎1‎/‎17‎/‎2020 at 1:26 AM, paramitch said:

I adore Riley and Will together, and one of my favorite things about revisiting the show was how smart it was to weave together Will's realization that he was Sense8 with his falling in love with Riley. It's just very seamless storytelling; it always feels like Will, more than any of the others, falls in love with being Sense8 both for the superpowers and sense of closeness along with what it brought him (Riley). Brian makes some really interesting character choices, turning Will from someone who could have been a rather narrow, inflexible character, into one of the sweetest and most empathetic characters on the show.

Yes. A lot of people get hung up on the tortuous drama of Kala/Wolfgang (which I like as well), but there's something so charming about the simple way that Will and Riley connect - they chat in a bar, they exchange phone numbers, they show each other where they live. And it's all so natural and easy. There's still great chemistry, and some heat between them. They just make each other happy. Really obviously, radiantly happy.

Brian does a great job of making Will appealing, when it's really difficult these days to make the straight-arrow, 'normal' guy interesting. And Tuppence Middleton is so good at playing Riley's sense of wonder and excitement.

I love how Will becomes the older brother of the group, almost right away. He's the first to embrace the idea of the cluster, and he's always doling out advice and turning up to help. And as I've said before, he gives up his whole life for the cluster - His job, his home, his friends and his dad. He's really the only one who does that. Riley runs from her old life, but still has her dad, and Sun is stuck in prison so doesn't have a choice to make.

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I can see this, although I would argue that Lito replies to Will, "We had sex," not "We had mind-sex," when Will meets him.

As far as relationships in-Cluster, it was Yrsa who said it was "the ultimate narcissism," and since she was basically made out of ice cubes and also told little-girl Riley she was hexed/cursed -- I'm not gonna take her word for it.

Besides, I think inter-Cluster sensation-overlapping simply has to occur frequently in Clusters, especially if like-minded activities are happening -- so, if four or five are feeling sexy, like in "Demons," then a lot of them will probably pick up that broadcast more strongly and either act on it (or mentally, er, act on it). But it's just my take, and there's certainly a ton of room for interpretation. Lana Wachowski has said definitively that our Cluster is pan by the end of the show's story.

I still don't like the Rajan resolution, and think it smacks too much of convenient, 'let's wrap this up nicely' writing to think he'd be okay sharing his wife with a man he doesn't know (he should have been a loose end, left out of the finale, along with Zakia and Mun), but I can get on board with the idea that the cluster are pansexual.

Thinking about it more, it makes sense when their senses and desires and emotions overlap and feed into one another so much. Lito finds guys hot, so Wolfgang and Nomi will sometimes too. And it obviously helps that all the cluster are such attractive people, inside and out.

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Yeah, I think what seemed to have happened was that the first night, she participated with Lito and Hernando by watching and getting off on it, and they allowed it and enjoyed it, and at some point joined them in the bed (possibly postcoitally), so that became the way things seemed to work with their threesome. Which makes sense to me because my first watch-through of the show, I was irritated that Dani was always openly masturbating when Lito and Hernando were together -- but upon rewatch I realized, that was the dynamic they had all three set as their sex life. The two men also definitely go further with Dani in the series finale, where it basically appears to have evolved into a full-on threesome activity.

Again, it seems a little too convenient that Hernando would be open to that. As I say, it does make sense for Lito to be, because he's got Will, Wolfgang, Capheus and Nomi opening his sexual perception.

But we don't know Hernando's history, and it's entirely possible he was bisexual. I do love the platonic connection he and Daniella have, which actually leaves Lito feeling a little green at times.

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I love Wolfgang, and I know the darkness of his character gets a lot of discussion, but can we talk about how adorable and funny Max is when Wolfy is being mischievous? It's the dimples. Like when he pats the bed for Kala and grins, or when he chuckles at being woken by a kiss from Rajan after his first night with Kala? (And I love that he pats the bed for Rajan later in the series finale -- everything has gone full circle!)

One of my favourite little moments between he and Kala is when he's playing football and she's getting hot and bothered over it. She asks him, wonderingly, if he has to "do everything so intensely?" That completely sums him up. Every scene with him is about intense experience - drinking and clubbing, having sex, fighting, moping, and that sense of mischief where he's just utterly confident and teasing.

For Kala, who has spent a lot of her life restraining herself (and as her father points out, in that story about her wanting that doll for her birthday, it's been a struggle), it's such a culture shock, and definitely plays into that consuming attraction she has for him.

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I love Lito and Sun and basically every scene they ever share together, ever. I would watch an entire show about them. And I really love the non-Sens8 sidekicks, and how much part of the family they all become by the end. Especially Amanita, Hernando, Bug, Moon, Rajan, and Felix (although he was working my last nerve in Season 2).

Yeah, Felix wore out his welcome in season two. I remember commenting at the time that he was starting to feel less like Wolfgang's family connection and more like the liability that could be his undoing. It turned out not to be the case, thankfully.

The non-Sensates were mostly great. Amanita is amazing, and anyone would be lucky to have someone like her in their life. She's so completely on Nomi's side. She believes her when it would be far easier not to, she breaks the law to save her, she risks herself constantly. I consider her the ninth member of the cluster, and I love the moment where she and Riley talk for the first time, and they give Freema Agyeman a little moment to react to it. She knows these people are real, but now she's actually looking at one on facetime, and talking to her.

To be honest, when I say I wanted to see the first meetings between them, what I really wanted was Amanita's reaction to it. She knows what Riley looks like, and Lito, and I think she knows Will from security camera footage, but she must be so curious about the others.

I was glad that Hernando, Daniella and Bug got to be in the finale and meet everyone. Felix, I could take or leave.

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There was some interesting cop-vs-criminal back and forth between Will and Wolfy on Sun's situation with her brother in season 2, but I loved that both simply said their piece and let Sun decide what was best. And at the party, when Sun's brother shot Moon, I loved that Will just looked at Wolfgang and gave Sun a nod, like, "Yeah, he's right, go get that asshole."

I like that they can disagree with one another. It's reassuring that they aren't losing their individual perspectives. And as Lito says to Sun, it doesn't matter that they disagree because, whatever one of them chooses to do, the others will all support them.

Here's a little moment of disagreement I loved, on rewatch - when Riley goes to meet her drug manufacturing ex, and Will gets a little jealous. Out of nowhere, Kala just says "I don't like him" because she's so loyal and doesn't like him just because Will is bothered. She's such a sweetheart. Of course, Lito insists that the guy is sexy... until the guy says he thinks Lito's movies are cheesy. Then Lito huffs "I don't like him either" and Kala rolls her eyes.

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But most of the cast seems to have kept busy, and that makes me really happy. I wish great things for all of them -- they're beautiful, joyful, talented people. The "Making of" documentary (and the videos on YouTube) paint a picture of people who really became a family.

I've been checking out IMDB as I was doing my rewatch (which I've not finished yet, so I'll probably waffle on more when I have) and was pleased that they're all working steadily. This is such a great cast.

Tuppence, Brian and Freema seem the busiest, or at least have the highest profile gigs. I was a bit disappointed that Max, Tina and Miguel haven't crossed over into more English language stuff, because they're far better than a lot of big stars, but they seem to have regular work.

Max Riemelt does appear in World on Fire, the BBC show that also has Brian in it, but sadly they do not share any screen time. Max and Toby are apparently both going to be in The Matrix 4.

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Yeah, I agree with you and Danny on this. It appears that Brian had done a kind of quiet coming out 8 years ago, where he was out to his friends and family, and to people who knew, but that he also wasn't actively making it public at work or in the press. I'm glad that he had that kind of network and support system as he's gone along.

I think it's very telling that he talked with so much emotion in his coming-out statement about never being relaxed except on "Sense8" because he could be himself. You can also really see this in the behind the scenes video and on YouTube -- there's a sweet, fun video on YouTube of him at the Sao Paolo Pride parade, where he kisses Tuppence AND Miguel (and, I think at some point, Max too)! and the crowd just goes crazy.

I really hope you're right and this has barely a ripple of impact on Brian's casting. He's already proven that he can play (and have chemistry) with anyone they need him to, and he's so much fun to watch in action scenes. He made Will so believable, so quickly! I hope he kicks ass on the new Amazon show "Treadstone" (the Jason Bourne spinoff) -- I'm interested to see it.

Brian is really the only actor from Stargate: Universe who went on to bigger things (obviously I'm not including Robbie Carlyle). He's been highly regarded for some time, from what I can tell, on the screen and in the theatre. I'd be very disappointed if his career was impacted by officially coming out, because he's definitely shown he can play any role - gay, straight, dramatic, action, whatever.

I do love that the cast of the show really embraced the whole ethos of acceptance and love that the show embodied. They seem to get on so well, and be so open with one another. Freema Agyeman posted some pics on her Instagram a while back, of her and Brian hanging out, and there have been other cast meetup photos posted on various social medias.

Edited by Danny Franks
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14 hours ago, ElectricBoogaloo said:

Off the top of my head, Neil Patrick Harris, Jonathan Groff, Luke Evans, Russell Tovey, John Barrowman, and Andrew Scott have all been cast as leading men in heterosexual roles after they came out.

Thank you for the names, and I clearly need to do more research before generalizing like that. Maybe we differ in our definition of "leading man" (I mean someone in a starring position, who's being used to sell the project) or maybe my only moderate familiarity with the current movie landscape is putting me in an ill-informed position. (I've encountered Luke Evans only in ensemble roles, for instance.) But Neil Patrick Harris, for instance, came out in the middle of the run HIMYM, long after he was cast; and his role in Gone Girl was a weird/eccentric supporting one, not a lead. But I guess I've missed other work of his.

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12 hours ago, Danny Franks said:

Max and Toby are apparently both going to be in The Matrix 4.

And now Erendira Ibarra (Dani) as well. Odd that they don't mention Toby as also having been in Sense8. No mention of Max, but that doesn't mean he won't be in it. The IMDB listing is pretty sparse right now, matching the article. If that's their source, seems they didn't investigate other credits, re: Toby. 

 

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15 hours ago, justmehere said:

And now Erendira Ibarra (Dani) as well. Odd that they don't mention Toby as also having been in Sense8. No mention of Max, but that doesn't mean he won't be in it. The IMDB listing is pretty sparse right now, matching the article. If that's their source, seems they didn't investigate other credits, re: Toby. 

 

At this rate, they'll have the whole Sense8 cast on board. It's nice to see that the working environment on the show was so obviously positive and warm, to the point that the Wachowskis are eager to work with multiple cast members again. Max posted about it on social media, so unless things have changed he's still involved.

They may all only have small roles, but these are still opportunities to get noticed by a wider audience and, in particular, by Hollywood casting directors.

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I'm so tickled everyone's talking about the show here again! 

One little thing I noticed in the series finale that I forgot to mention -- as the French minister is giving the vows to Amanita and Nomi, we see Lito, Dani and Hernando all hold hands. So do Felix and Wolfgang. So do Kala and Rajan.

And Bug walking Nomi down the aisle just killed me. I know Bug bothers some, but to me he is such a textbook awkward loner searching for connection that when Nomi and Neets accept him, he is so moved, openly, that it gets me every time. In the Christmas ep (when they invite him to join them for Christmas) and then in the finale, when he thanks Nomi for being his family (and she thanks him back). Sniffle.

Also, I just realized how tiny Freema must be. She is wearing the most gigantic heels at the wedding and is still much shorter than Nomi. It's adorable.

Seriously, this show. It is just all about love.

On 1/17/2020 at 12:01 AM, Danny Franks said:

I love how Will becomes the older brother of the group, almost right away. He's the first to embrace the idea of the cluster, and he's always doling out advice and turning up to help. And as I've said before, he gives up his whole life for the cluster - His job, his home, his friends and his dad. 

I so agree. Will really is the sweet big brother of the group! And what he ends up losing is absolutely devastating (don't get me started on the loss of his Dad).

One of my favorite interactions across the show was one of the more uncommon ones, when Kala realizes Will is thinking of using again (simply in pain and tempted), and she goes to check on him, help him with other medications, and they also talk about Rajan and Wolfy. And Will is so kind, supportive, yet honest with her -- it's just a wonderful scene. And she saves him from using again in that moment. I love these little scenes between the Sensies -- Will and Kala, Capheus and Sun, Lito and Nomi, etc.

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I still don't like the Rajan resolution, and think it smacks too much of convenient, 'let's wrap this up nicely' writing to think he'd be okay sharing his wife with a man he doesn't know (he should have been a loose end, left out of the finale, along with Zakia and Mun), but I can get on board with the idea that the cluster are pansexual.

I was okay with Rajan joining the relationship for a few reasons, although I agree that it is rushed in the series finale. But for me, it worked.

The finale made this okay for me on a few levels. First, Rajan shows up terrified Kala's in danger (building on the fact that he had already sent her away to protect her physically during the investigation), and exemplifying totally his willingness to save her (which I found believable -- he knew where she was, after all). And then he accepted the truth pretty well, if shell-shocked. He even showed sensitivity and empathy toward her going through such an experience without being able to share it with him.

But what truly made me okay with the poly aspect of the romance (other than me being a weak, weak shipper who ships everything when pretty people are involved) was -- Kala's near-death.

When Kala almost dies, it is an almost holy moment. And while much of that shootout was pretty brutal and nihilistic, when Kala got shot and Wolfy broke down over her on that floor, crying, it really got me. And then the rest of her cluster, kneeling down around her in the light and silence, all terrified, grieving, and in pain...  I thought was an incredibly haunting image.

And then there's Wolfgang, hysterical, thinking he's lost his soulmate, holding her in his arms. And when Rajan comes up and recognizes the scene, he's not jealous or angry at Wolfgang's grief (nor vice versa, to Wolfgang's credit), we see him take in the situation (and kudos to Purab Kohli, who plays Rajan, because he really sold a complex realization there) and rush to help. And he manages to do so in a way that is believable and lovely and human. And I loved the fact that it's blocked so that both men are on either side of her body, united in their love for her. That was when I remembered what Bug had said to her earlier ("Why choose at all?") and went, "Okay, if everyone lives, I'm good with this."

The fact that Kala is not dead, and is even amused by all the drama, going, "SAVE ME" is great -- as was the fact that Wolfgang could see and translate this to Rajan, as well. Because while Rajan was aware of the supernatural aspect, this I felt was the moment when he truly believed, when Wolfgang is like, "She's talking to me and she's still alive," and Rajan is instantly all in on whatever it takes. So they save her, together -- Rajan doing compressions and Wolfgang sharing breaths. And then Rajan being so smart with the stun-gun!

And then she wakes up, and kisses Wolfgang openly, in front of Rajan. And then kisses Rajan openly in front of Wolfgang, calling him "husband." And it came across as very natural, as her effort to soothe them both and get comfort from them, not thinking about, "Er, is this okay?"

In other words, it isn't about "Rajan sharing his wife with someone," to paraphrase you. It is about what Kala wants and is willing to accept -- which then goes to the two men. Who have to ask themselves what they are willing to accept. They have just been through a trial by fire, a realization that Kala could be dead. I think that's so important here.

So right there, I was like, again, "I'm good with this." The show sold me that, in this particular case, there's nothing like a near-death experience to nuke any lingering caveman jealous feelings, and the woman also has total ability to choose what she wants. So it worked out. The two men realized she loved them both -- and that they both loved her, and I thought that scene really, really sold it. I felt like the Wolfgang-Kala-Rajan thing would not have been believable without it, though -- they needed that moment when they thought they'd lost Kala to bond the three of them, to realize, "We both love her." And as this is fiction, I bought it pretty totally. Especially since we'd already seen Rajan save Wolfgang earlier in the episode -- and that Wolfy had been genuinely surprised and moved by that.

So by the final 10 minutes of the series finale, yeah, I was good with a poly solution for them. I know it may very well not last forever, but Wolfgang is one of the Sense8s who has never shown jealousy, who has been openly charmed by Rajan previously (the little morning-after kiss is still the cutest thing ever) and he's been open and utterly unconflicted about responding to the other men in the Sense8 orgies without any sign of guilt or self-shame, so for me it all worked. Besides, they're three gorgeous people and everybody wins. 

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Again, it seems a little too convenient that Hernando would be open to that. As I say, it does make sense for Lito to be, because he's got Will, Wolfgang, Capheus and Nomi opening his sexual perception.

But we don't know Hernando's history, and it's entirely possible he was bisexual. I do love the platonic connection he and Daniella have, which actually leaves Lito feeling a little green at times.

 

See, again this worked for me because of the way Alfonso Herrera played Hernando when Dani joined the couple.

The two were so fiercely bonded and supportive of each other right away, and it felt very specific instantly. Dani never threatened the core Hernando/Lito relationship, but instead brought this sweetness and familial, feminine aspect (not that this was required, but it was lovely). Hernando was patient with her and was openly kind and gentle with her, and she brought a caring supportive aspect to some interactions Lito kind of adorably steamrolled over (like when Hernando would cook, and Lito would just kind of hoover it, etc.). And she obviously adored Hernando, since she is seen repeatedly sleeping beside him in their bed, arms around him. Even earlier in season 2, from the Christmas special, to the Sao Paolo episode, I felt like the implications were direct that Dani is now a third, not just an outsider. She apologizes for getting too excited at one point (echoing her earlier apology after their first night together), and it does seem to have sexual connotations -- Hernando smiles, touches her and says, "We love how excited you get."

So it seems to me that even as Lito's horizons have slightly expanded by the finale, that Dani is no longer just a voyeur in their relationship, and that the two men are also willing to satisfy her to some degree as well. Do I think Lito and Hernando are the main focus of the relationship? Yes. But I also feel like Dani brings something to the relationship that is sweet and sort of buffering, and that they in turn give her the family and intimacy she has always wanted. So it's a win-win.

But again -- I'm easy on this stuff. I love all the characters and want them to be happy.

I will note that when I first watched this show, I wasn't really clear on how poly relationships even worked (I was so, so young!) so this show (as well as my gaming fandom friends) definitely opened my eyes to poly, ace, demi and other relationships beyond the traditional perception of LGBTQ+ relationships as structured or stationary. Humans are complicated but love is love. As long as everyone's adult and consenting, I am a total shipper.

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The non-Sensates were mostly great. Amanita is amazing, and anyone would be lucky to have someone like her in their life. She's so completely on Nomi's side. She believes her when it would be far easier not to, she breaks the law to save her, she risks herself constantly. I consider her the ninth member of the cluster, and I love the moment where she and Riley talk for the first time, and they give Freema Agyeman a little moment to react to it. She knows these people are real, but now she's actually looking at one on facetime, and talking to her.

I love Neets, and not only do I love Freema in the role, but I loved how deeply the role affected her. She has said, openly, so many times, "I will go back to 'Sense8' anytime, ever." And she and so many cast members remained so close and loving.

I guess if you travel the equivalent of four times around the world with some lovely talented people over two full years, many of them will become family. I love that.

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Here's a little moment of disagreement I loved, on rewatch - when Riley goes to meet her drug manufacturing ex, and Will gets a little jealous. Out of nowhere, Kala just says "I don't like him" because she's so loyal and doesn't like him just because Will is bothered. She's such a sweetheart. Of course, Lito insists that the guy is sexy... until the guy says he thinks Lito's movies are cheesy. Then Lito huffs "I don't like him either" and Kala rolls her eyes.

I loved that moment too, because the cluster is so loyal and they all love their fellow cluster members so much (and they will always come first). 

On 1/16/2020 at 4:15 PM, ElectricBoogaloo said:

Off the top of my head, Neil Patrick Harris, Jonathan Groff, Luke Evans, Russell Tovey, John Barrowman, and Andrew Scott have all been cast as leading men in heterosexual roles after they came out. 

I love all of these, but would agree that they haven't set a standard for "an actor's orientation doesn't matter" the way it should. YET.

I'm thrilled that Harris has continued to take a variety of roles since his coming out (and I do think his coming-out after playing the biggest horndog on TV was a big deal), and loved that he took the role in "Gone Girl," where I thought he was superb. And creepy. In a good way.

Barrowman I felt was the biggest earth-shaker, because he enters the scene as this kind of Tom Cruise character, on one of the biggest shows on the planet, and then ends S1 of "Doctor Who" with that incredibly lovely final moment, where he kissed Rose tenderly, and my heart skipped... and then he kissed Nine, just as tenderly... and I absolutely plotzed.

I am also thrilled at how Phoebe Waller-Bridge never shied away from Andrew Scott as a talented and very out actor, who nevertheless scorched the earth as the Hot Priest on "Fleabag." All her acceptance speeches were basically, "So yes, I hired my hot gay friend to play my love interest and it WORKED!"

And Andrew totally should shut up all arguments once and for all about whether a gay man can play straight. Because, oh, holy gods. (Seriously. Just watch "Fleabag.")

On 1/17/2020 at 7:13 AM, Rinaldo said:

Thank you for the names, and I clearly need to do more research before generalizing like that. Maybe we differ in our definition of "leading man" (I mean someone in a starring position, who's being used to sell the project) or maybe my only moderate familiarity with the current movie landscape is putting me in an ill-informed position. (I've encountered Luke Evans only in ensemble roles, for instance.) But Neil Patrick Harris, for instance, came out in the middle of the run HIMYM, long after he was cast; and his role in Gone Girl was a weird/eccentric supporting one, not a lead. But I guess I've missed other work of his.

To echo my answer above, I think you're right to some degree -- these should be bigger deals. Too often actors who come out are seamlessly shunted off to 'supporting' or solely gay roles. Matt Bomer is a good example of this, which is such a shame. Zachary Quinto has had better luck thanks to the Star Trek reboots, which helps.

I think Luke Evans is a great example, but he also appeared to have come out, then the studios kind of walked him back a bit, which is upsetting. Then after a few mainstream failures he came back out, and he doesn't seem to be getting a lot of bona fide leading roles like I'd like to see. Although he should -- he's a marvelous actor (and was a fantastic Gaston in Beauty and the Beast).

I feel like the main problem is that they become "gay actors," and no longer "actors." And that's bullshit and so frustrating. All of the above we've mentioned have played straight superbly, with palpable chemistry, and I'd add Alan Cumming, Lily Tomlin, Ellen Page, Wentworth Miller, Sarah Paulson, David Hyde Pierce, Portia de Rossi, Sara Gilbert, Maria Bello, Cynthia Nixon, and many more. 

On 1/17/2020 at 1:05 PM, justmehere said:

And now Erendira Ibarra (Dani) as well. Odd that they don't mention Toby as also having been in Sense8. No mention of Max, but that doesn't mean he won't be in it. The IMDB listing is pretty sparse right now, matching the article. If that's their source, seems they didn't investigate other credits, re: Toby. 

Another thing I adore about the Wachowskis is how they tend to create ensembles, and cast repeatedly from those they've worked with before. And no wonder -- Tom Hanks talked openly about what a wonderful set they provided on Cloud Atlas (my favorite movie of all time, talk to the hand), as did Keanu Reeves back on the Matrix films. They create inclusive, safe environments that nurture artists to their best work. (And FWIW, for me Matrix Reloaded is the best of the trilogy.)

Edited by paramitch · Reason: fixed a missed word
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7 hours ago, paramitch said:

And Bug walking Nomi down the aisle just killed me. I know Bug bothers some, but to me he is such a textbook awkward loner searching for connection that when Nomi and Neets accept him, he is so moved, openly, that it gets me every time. In the Christmas ep (when they invite him to join them for Christmas) and then in the finale, when he thanks Nomi for being his family (and she thanks him back). Sniffle.

I like Bug. Yeah, he's awkward and commits some faux pas when addressing Nomi, but he really does the best he can. He respects her choice, and never once seems to judge her decision to become  a woman. It's noticeable on rewatch that it takes Neets a while to warm up to him. She does get offended on Nomi's behalf, more than once, when Bug says the wrong thing, but by the Christmas special she seems to accept that he does have a good heart. Then, later in season 2, there's a lovely little moment where Bug contacts Nomi on facetime and Amanita is in the background, she stops to say "hi, Bug!" in a genuinely pleased tone.

7 hours ago, paramitch said:

One of my favorite interactions across the show was one of the more uncommon ones, when Kala realizes Will is thinking of using again (simply in pain and tempted), and she goes to check on him, help him with other medications, and they also talk about Rajan and Wolfy. And Will is so kind, supportive, yet honest with her -- it's just a wonderful scene. And she saves him from using again in that moment. I love these little scenes between the Sensies -- Will and Kala, Capheus and Sun, Lito and Nomi, etc.

Will and Kala also have a nice little moment in the first season, when Will inhabits her to threaten that Hindu priest. Then he tells Kala, "they'll be back." She responds "so will I," and Will says, "well, so will I." Again, he's so kind and unquestioningly supportive, even though he and Kala have shared very little to that point.

7 hours ago, paramitch said:

When Kala almost dies, it is an almost holy moment. And while much of that shootout was pretty brutal and nihilistic, when Kala got shot and Wolfy broke down over her on that floor, crying, it really got me. And then the rest of her cluster, kneeling down around her in the light and silence, all terrified, grieving, and in pain...  I thought was an incredibly haunting image.

And then there's Wolfgang, hysterical, thinking he's lost his soulmate, holding her in his arms. And when Rajan comes up and recognizes the scene, he's not jealous or angry at Wolfgang's grief (nor vice versa, to Wolfgang's credit), we see him take in the situation (and kudos to Purab Kohli, who plays Rajan, because he really sold a complex realization there) and rush to help. And he manages to do so in a way that is believable and lovely and human. And I loved the fact that it's blocked so that both men are on either side of her body, united in their love for her. That was when I remembered what Bug had said to her earlier ("Why choose at all?") and went, "Okay, if everyone lives, I'm good with this."

The fact that Kala is not dead, and is even amused by all the drama, going, "SAVE ME" is great -- as was the fact that Wolfgang could see and translate this to Rajan, as well. Because while Rajan was aware of the supernatural aspect, this I felt was the moment when he truly believed, when Wolfgang is like, "She's talking to me and she's still alive," and Rajan is instantly all in on whatever it takes. So they save her, together -- Rajan doing compressions and Wolfgang sharing breaths. And then Rajan being so smart with the stun-gun!

And then she wakes up, and kisses Wolfgang openly, in front of Rajan. And then kisses Rajan openly in front of Wolfgang, calling him "husband." And it came across as very natural, as her effort to soothe them both and get comfort from them, not thinking about, "Er, is this okay?"

In other words, it isn't about "Rajan sharing his wife with someone," to paraphrase you. It is about what Kala wants and is willing to accept -- which then goes to the two men. Who have to ask themselves what they are willing to accept. They have just been through a trial by fire, a realization that Kala could be dead. I think that's so important here.

So right there, I was like, again, "I'm good with this." The show sold me that, in this particular case, there's nothing like a near-death experience to nuke any lingering caveman jealous feelings, and the woman also has total ability to choose what she wants. So it worked out. The two men realized she loved them both -- and that they both loved her, and I thought that scene really, really sold it. I felt like the Wolfgang-Kala-Rajan thing would not have been believable without it, though -- they needed that moment when they thought they'd lost Kala to bond the three of them, to realize, "We both love her." And as this is fiction, I bought it pretty totally. Especially since we'd already seen Rajan save Wolfgang earlier in the episode -- and that Wolfy had been genuinely surprised and moved by that.

So by the final 10 minutes of the series finale, yeah, I was good with a poly solution for them. I know it may very well not last forever, but Wolfgang is one of the Sense8s who has never shown jealousy, who has been openly charmed by Rajan previously (the little morning-after kiss is still the cutest thing ever) and he's been open and utterly unconflicted about responding to the other men in the Sense8 orgies without any sign of guilt or self-shame, so for me it all worked. Besides, they're three gorgeous people and everybody wins. 

As a fiction, I can accept all that. The show is a science fiction show, with elements of fantasy and wonder, and there's definitely a heavy emphasis on the best there is in humanity - love, acceptance, unity and understanding. All of which are demonstrated in abundance by the Sense8 satellite characters. And, given time (probably the time that the Wachowskis originally intended to take), the idea of Rajan, Kala and Wolfgang in a poly relationship would make sense and be fully justified. But the rush to accomplish it in this special just didn't really work for me.

I feel it veers too much into the idealistic fantasy for a normal man to learn all this, accept it, see that his wife loves another man as well as him - one he only just learned exists - and accept that, so quickly. I also think there's an unspoken issue with this poly relationship that, in the real world, would eventually come up - Two of the three are connected by a psychic bond that allows them to literally feel everything the other does, and to communicate instantly and privately. One of the three doesn't. At some point, it seems inevitable to me that there would be an element of jealousy, envy or just of feeling left out.

But my personal perspective is that I could never be in a poly relationship anyway, whether it was with two women or a woman and another man. It doesn't compute for me, but I accept it does for other people, and they manage perfectly well, negotiating whatever obstacles such relationships might face.

7 hours ago, paramitch said:

I love Neets, and not only do I love Freema in the role, but I loved how deeply the role affected her. She has said, openly, so many times, "I will go back to 'Sense8' anytime, ever." And she and so many cast members remained so close and loving.

I guess if you travel the equivalent of four times around the world with some lovely talented people over two full years, many of them will become family. I love that.

I've always liked Freema Agyeman, and find her charming, funny and sweet in every role she's played. Amanita must have been an absolute blast of a character, because she is basically a force of nature - she's tough, brave, smart and emotionally honest in ways that few people are, and she believes utterly in the people she loves.

I do get the sense that some of the actors became lifelong friends working on the show, in various combos. And even those who didn't still got along really well and have very fond memories.

Some more bits I've noticed and loved:

As Will is the big brother, Nomi is the big sister. She's often the one people go to when they're depressed or worried - She and Lito share that great scene in the museum, but he also mopes around her place in his onesie when he thinks his career is over. Will bothers her when he's worried about Riley, she's very gently admonishing of Sun for "getting upset" over Joong-Ki's interview on TV. She just has a calm, reassuring energy that puts me in mind of that knowing, wise older sister.

I can't remember the episode or the details, but Amanita points out that Nomi is feeling a certain way because of subconscious insecurities, which she herself hasn't admitted. Nomi says "see, that's something my cluster wouldn't know" and I found it really interesting - that if Nomi herself hasn't realised something, the others won't. At least, not until they know and understand her as well as Amanita does.

from the finale:

Teagan's husband, Tom, is obviously a great guy. At the end of the finale, when Nomi's family arrives, her mother is still bitching about Nomi daring to celebrate her love for Amanita, but Tom has this excited, wondrous look on his face and says "I think it's awesome!" then he enthusiastically shakes the hands of Amanita's dads. It just made me happy that Teagan clearly picked the right guy.

Sun being kind of shy but clearly pleased to meet Jela and be introduced as "the spirit of Jean Claude."

Will being so nervous about meeting Riley's dad, and just how radiantly happy Riley is. Her dad probably thought he'd never see her like that again.

Bug seeming really attached to Sun - He calls her Born Free again, he tells her he hates Joong-Ki and gives her a sly little shoulder nudge when they learn Moon is okay, and he's sat next to her in the chateau celebration dinner.

I've been watching Mark Oshiro's reactions to the show, and he said something that summed up what makes this show so great - that he'd never seen a show that conveys joy as well as this. In the party scenes, the montages of dancing, celebrating and having fun, and everyone seems so full of life. The show even manages to make clubbing look like fun, and I've always hated nightclubs.

I really would have liked more of the non-Sensates marvelling over how it all works - stuff like Nomi casually mentioning Hernando's job or Will mentioning Rajan's cooperation with the investigation in India. Just little bits of 'wait... how do you know that? Oh right, of course.' We kind of skipped that step and went right to acceptance.

I guess, really, I resent the fact that we didn't get three more seasons to tell all these stories properly - Rajan, Moon, Hernando, Daniela and Jela all learning to accept this whole thing, and the developments of a larger cluster including them all, as well as Neets, Diego, Riley's dad and others.

Lila and her cluster were worthy nemeses for our cluster, and I wish the show had more time to develop  that. As hateful as she was, Lila effortlessly taking guys out with a silenced pistol was the epitome of cool villainy.

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On 1/21/2020 at 3:44 AM, paramitch said:

So right there, I was like, again, "I'm good with this." The show sold me that, in this particular case, there's nothing like a near-death experience to nuke any lingering caveman jealous feelings, and the woman also has total ability to choose what she wants. So it worked out. The two men realized she loved them both -- and that they both loved her, and I thought that scene really, really sold it. I felt like the Wolfgang-Kala-Rajan thing would not have been believable without it, though -- they needed that moment when they thought they'd lost Kala to bond the three of them, to realize, "We both love her." And as this is fiction, I bought it pretty totally. Especially since we'd already seen Rajan save Wolfgang earlier in the episode -- and that Wolfy had been genuinely surprised and moved by that.

I agree with so much of what you said but want to pull this out in particular. Wolfgang and Rajan go through a lot together in the short period of time they have. They bond quickly. Who know what might happen long term with the three of them but love for Kala, mutual respect and affection make it totally believable to me that Rajan would be willing to at least explore it. And I think in some ways this is the real beauty of the show. That Rajan and the other non-cluster characters can, through the existence of sensates, be more like our sensates - opening their hearts and minds to things they never thought possible. To me, this is what the show challenges its viewers to do as well. 

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18 hours ago, jenrising said:

That Rajan and the other non-cluster characters can, through the existence of sensates, be more like our sensates - opening their hearts and minds to things they never thought possible.

That's why I see our cluster as being much bigger than just eight people. Of course, they had Amanita from the start, and I'm sure they'd all consider her the ninth member - I still wish we'd seen some scenes with her and other people in the cluster, and I like the beat where she, Dani and Hernando went out to get breakfast, because they were surely all gossiping about how crazy the whole thing was - but everyone who finds out accepts it.

Diego is most resistant, and understandably so, because it's Riley telling him and he has no idea who she is. But when Will proves that it's real, he quickly accepts it. I did like Rajan's reasoning - 'you're not insane, and all of those people in the other room don't seem insane, so I would be foolish to dismiss what you're telling me.'

I don't know if the Wachowskis were making a generational observation, with all the trusted and understanding people being in their mid-to-late twenties while the older characters are either in the dark or sceptical of the whole thing. There's definitely an analogue there in how younger generations are more accepting of other people, particularly LGBTQ people.

Anyway, by the end the cluster is what, sixteen people? That's how many are involved in the raid on the building where Lila's cluster are, I think, and even those who aren't Homo Sensorium seem to be firm friends already. Then you have Puck and the ridiculously attractive woman from his cluster helping out too. 

18 hours ago, jenrising said:

To me, this is what the show challenges its viewers to do as well. 

I think that's something that the show should always be remembered for. I've said in the past that Sense8 really got me to think about issues that I always casually agreed with but wasn't too invested in - LGBTQ issues around acceptance and equality, and in particular the ability to see trans people for who they are. It's easy to be prejudiced because you don't understand and you haven't lived that experience. 

Is it going to change the minds of anyone who is staunchly homophobic, transphobic or racist? No, probably not, because they probably stopped watching as soon as that rainbow dildo hit the floor. But Sense8 makes you want to be a better person, and there aren't too many shows on TV that can claim that.

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Absolutely loving all these posts recalling the joy, love, and acceptance that were so central to this wonderful show. There was plenty of pain and horribleness, too, but focusing on the positive intention and expression is like a soothing balm right now when the energy all around feels so toxic these days. Thank you all for your posts.

I'm truly grateful that we got the final movie to wrap things up, but, this:

On 1/21/2020 at 12:28 PM, Danny Franks said:

I guess, really, I resent the fact that we didn't get three more seasons to tell all these stories properly

Me too. 

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On 1/21/2020 at 11:28 AM, Danny Franks said:

I can't remember the episode or the details, but Amanita points out that Nomi is feeling a certain way because of subconscious insecurities, which she herself hasn't admitted. Nomi says "see, that's something my cluster wouldn't know" and I found it really interesting - that if Nomi herself hasn't realised something, the others won't. At least, not until they know and understand her as well as Amanita does.

Teagan's husband, Tom, is obviously a great guy. At the end of the finale, when Nomi's family arrives, her mother is still bitching about Nomi daring to celebrate her love for Amanita, but Tom has this excited, wondrous look on his face and says "I think it's awesome!" then he enthusiastically shakes the hands of Amanita's dads. It just made me happy that Teagan clearly picked the right guy.

I've been watching Mark Oshiro's reactions to the show, and he said something that summed up what makes this show so great - that he'd never seen a show that conveys joy as well as this. In the party scenes, the montages of dancing, celebrating and having fun, and everyone seems so full of life. The show even manages to make clubbing look like fun, and I've always hated nightclubs.

I love all these observations!

The observation by Nomi to Amanita I found very natural and believable. I get how a Cluster can know someone inside and out yet still not be able to predict them. There is still an element of strangeness and uncertainty there, depending on their cluster interactions too.  And it was a beautiful moment to remind us of how necessary non-cluster loved ones were too, as with Bug, or as with Hernando and Dani, or as with (of course) Rajan or as with Moon, or Diego.

I haven't experienced Mark's recaps or analyses yet, but that is so lovely, and I totally agree. I watch "Sense8" when I need to be reminded of the good possibilities of people, when the world just feels too dark. So I get that. And I love how much of it is a celebration of the sensory aspect of being human on this earth -- experiencing the joy of fireworks, of acceptance in darkness, of sharing the memory of love, loss, or a kiss, or a simple breeze... the sensations of singing with people with so much happiness you are all one person, of feeling so much love it extends beyond boundaries. I also love the show's soundtrack (and have built some of my own playlists) because the songs are so eclectic and playful, and remind me of the show's humanistic POV. 

Quote

I really would have liked more of the non-Sensates marvelling over how it all works - stuff like Nomi casually mentioning Hernando's job or Will mentioning Rajan's cooperation with the investigation in India. Just little bits of 'wait... how do you know that? Oh right, of course.' We kind of skipped that step and went right to acceptance.

I guess, really, I resent the fact that we didn't get three more seasons to tell all these stories properly - Rajan, Moon, Hernando, Daniela and Jela all learning to accept this whole thing, and the developments of a larger cluster including them all, as well as Neets, Diego, Riley's dad and others.

Lila and her cluster were worthy nemeses for our cluster, and I wish the show had more time to develop  that. As hateful as she was, Lila effortlessly taking guys out with a silenced pistol was the epitome of cool villainy.

I love everything on your wishlist but Lila bored me to tears. Every single scene was the same. She showed up, she tried to sex up Wolfy, while also showing 1000% that she was utterly unable to be trusted. She was a great subvillain, and I did like that we finally had an answer of what she did want (a kind of genocide leading to a Sense8-only city), but I was glad to see her go. I'd have loved even one moment where she saved or helped them even once, but as presented, she just felt very one-note to me. Although I did love the cluster-vs.-cluster aspect she brought.

I definitely agree that I wish we'd had three or more seasons to enjoy stories about our main cluster. I would have loved that so much.

On 1/22/2020 at 6:01 AM, jenrising said:

I agree with so much of what you said but want to pull this out in particular. Wolfgang and Rajan go through a lot together in the short period of time they have. They bond quickly. Who know what might happen long term with the three of them but love for Kala, mutual respect and affection make it totally believable to me that Rajan would be willing to at least explore it. And I think in some ways this is the real beauty of the show. That Rajan and the other non-cluster characters can, through the existence of sensates, be more like our sensates - opening their hearts and minds to things they never thought possible. To me, this is what the show challenges its viewers to do as well. 

This is a really beautiful observation, and you said it better and more plainly than I could have -- the point of Sense8 in some ways is to show that we all need to emphasize and develop empathy. And the show exemplified that (beyond the cartoonish bad-guy-violence) in its emphasis on feelings. And on -- I agree -- the reactions of the non-Sense8s to the experience and knowledge of the cluster.  As if it were the final trial of a higher awareness.

On 1/23/2020 at 1:01 AM, Danny Franks said:

I think that's something that the show should always be remembered for. I've said in the past that Sense8 really got me to think about issues that I always casually agreed with but wasn't too invested in - LGBTQ issues around acceptance and equality, and in particular the ability to see trans people for who they are. It's easy to be prejudiced because you don't understand and you haven't lived that experience. 

Is it going to change the minds of anyone who is staunchly homophobic, transphobic or racist? No, probably not, because they probably stopped watching as soon as that rainbow dildo hit the floor. But Sense8 makes you want to be a better person, and there aren't too many shows on TV that can claim that.

I really don't think the point by the Wachowskis was "pretty people," but more that they were a side effect (TELEVISION! 😄 ). I do think they were/are deeply invested in issues of love, acceptance, equality, and the dissolution of stupid prejudices against people regardless of gender or orientation -- and they tried to show that such distinctions are even limited and limiting (which I loved). 

I agree that Sense8 makes me want to be a better person. I hope it inspired others similarly. I only just rewatched for some additional courage after a tough 6 months, so fingers crossed I get an inner visit from Sun and others to kick ass and help me move forward. 😉

On 1/23/2020 at 11:01 AM, justmehere said:

Absolutely loving all these posts recalling the joy, love, and acceptance that were so central to this wonderful show. There was plenty of pain and horribleness, too, but focusing on the positive intention and expression is like a soothing balm right now when the energy all around feels so toxic these days.  

I feel the same way in so many ways. I think this show's secret is not the sci-fi or sexytimes, but that it's ultimately a poignant and sharp commentary on what it feels like to be lonely, to be alone... and then to find your people.

I have experienced this past year or two as a nerd writer and game reviewer on multiple fronts (my family and friends are befuddled), and I hope you all do too. Worst case, I'm in your cluster too! (But not in a creepy way! LOL). Hang in there everyone. The past few years have been kind of stupefyingly bad, so just saying. 

 

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