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Superproducer and filmmaker Greg Berlanti and his husband, soccer star turned producer Robbie Rogers, shared a stage (for the first time in their relationship) on Sept. 22 during the L.A. LGBT Center Vanguard Awards. It was Rogers, 31, who offered insight into the battles Berlanti, 46, has faced over the years with network bosses as he’s tweaked comic book characters to present more diverse worlds on the small screen courtesy of LGBTQ storylines on shows like Arrow and Black Lightning.
“Greg would say, ‘What good are those heroes if they don’t look like the world they’re saving?’” Rogers explained from the podium. Earlier, on the red carpet, Berlanti addressed the swirl around his latest casting of Ruby Rose as a lesbian Batwoman, which is being billed as the first openly gay superhero to lead a TV show. The openly gay actress-model-DJ encountered harsh critics online, which led her to quit Twitter, but Berlanti seemed unfazed. “Whenever you’re bringing change about in any form, there are always conversations that happen. I go all the way back to Dawson’s Creek,” he told THR, referencing the teen drama for which he served as showrunner when the WB series featured a gay kiss between two male stars.
“Twitter didn’t exist, but we would get boxes of letters expressing opinions in all directions from were we making enough change, should we be making more change, or why did we feel like we needed to do these things? It’s always part of the process, so just focus on the story and make the best episode that you can.”
Berlanti was quick to point out that Batwoman is still in the pilot stage, but he did tease that “[Ruby] is terrific in the role, and we’re excited for people to see the story.”
Rose will debut in the role in The CW’s upcoming crossover event this December.
A version of this story first appeared in the Oct. 3 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
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