TORONTO — Canadian actor Kevin Zegers believes audiences are ready for the gay hero he plays in the upcoming movie The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones.
Based on the books by Cassandra Clare, the first chapter of the supernatural saga was shot last year in Toronto and opens in cinemas on Aug. 21.
Zegers plays Alec Lightwood, a half-angel warrior who falls for Magnus Bane, the High Warlock of Brooklyn, played by fellow Canadian Godfrey Gao.
“For my generation and the generation really interested in these books, something like this isn’t as big a deal as it used to be,” the 28-year-old told OUT magazine.
“If we’d made this a few years ago, it would’ve been a different story.”
Zegers, who will tie the knot with talent agent Jamie Feld on Aug. 3, said he didn’t have any hesitation playing a gay character.
In 2005’s Transamerica, he played the 17-year-old bisexual prostitute son of a man transitioning into a woman — a role that required him to deal with some mature subject matter and, in one scene, appear fully nude.
“I was so young and green and had never worked on anything like that,” Zegers told OUT. “It’s the one movie I’ve done where people came up to me and said, ‘That really shifted my perception about things.'”
Zegers said the movie surprised many in his hometown of Woodstock, Ont., which he described as a community of “Catholic white people who farm and play hockey and drink beers.”
In The Mortal Instruments, his character is decidedly less overt about his sexuality.
“What we didn’t want was to make him this stereotypically one-sided guy,” explained Zegers. “For his sexuality to be at the forefront would have been a mistake. I wanted it to be just one of the aspects of him we explored.”
The movie, which also stars Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower and Lena Headey, will have a special screening in the city where it was made on Aug. 15.