love is in the Legacy air, as two characters from the series – Ben and Jed – form a new male same-sex couple in the vampire diary universe!
According to The Observerthis was always a plan that executive producers Julie Plec and Brett Matthews had when they created the spin-off show Legacy. They knew they wanted to show a man-man romance, but needed the right characters to do it. And now they have found them.
One of the actors, Ben Levin, who plays Jed Tien, had also expressed interest in playing a queer character as a tribute to his real-life family members who are part of the LGBTQ+ community.
The final piece of the puzzle came together when Matthews and Price Peterson, a writer on the show, decided they wanted a gay actor to play the other queer character. They had recently auditioned Zane Phillips, who also stars in the gay romantic comedy fire island.
When Peterson contacted his friend Joel Kim Booster, the author of fire island, and asked if he thought Phillips could play some type of gay demigod, Booster said, “Well, not only is Zane safe, but I actually wanted it to exist. I always said he should be on The CW. So it’s perfect.
It all came together perfectly to give us Ben and Jed. Ben is actually the demigod Prometheus, who stole magic from the gods 5,000 years ago and has been punished with eternal life and torture ever since. Jed is an Alpha werewolf. Together, they form a new couple that we adore.
“I haven’t heard great things about actors who are into queer romance, but they don’t really want to be,” Phillips said. The Observer. “And for me, I just wanted to have an open heart all the time, and I couldn’t have been luckier to have Ben because I think he’s the perfect stage partner. He’s so open, he is so responsive and he wants the job to be good. He wants to have a personal relationship with me because I think it shows in the characters. I think we’re good friends now, and I love him so much already in as a person, so it’s not hard to have chemistry with him on screen.
Phillips also hopes this relationship can combat what he sees as a “core fear” of many TV shows about airing romance between men.
“We want it to be a little disenchanted, we want it to be a little asexual, we want it to feel safe or funny or a joke,” he said. Thus, “to see two men come into their own through a relationship with each other -[they] are two very powerful forces coming together – it’s so, so cool. This idea that you don’t have to diminish yourself to pursue something with another man, you don’t have to pretend to be less than you are, which contrasts with the way we are taught to growing up as queer men.”
To see Ben and Jed’s romance unfold for yourself, check out Legacy on The CW, airing Thursdays at 9/8c.