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Why Phastos' Husband In Eternals Looks So Familiar

As a massive Marvel Cinematic Universe movie that introduces a completely new type of super-beings in the MCU, "Eternals" breaks new ground in a number of ways. One of said ways is the fact that the movie features the first openly gay superhero in the mega-franchise. Phastos is the genius inventor of the Eternals, but when he's not actively fighting evil, he's leading a happy life in a relationship with Ben. The movie features an onscreen kiss between them, which has already drawn protests from some fans (via The Hill). This, in turn, prompted Kumail Nanjiani — who plays Kingo in the movie — to post a since-deleted tweet: "Looks like we're upsetting the right people. Eternals opens November 5th" (via People). 

Being the superpowered part of the relationship who's played by the "If Beale Street Could Talk" and "Atlanta" star Brian Tyree Henry, Phastos will likely get the lion's share of the attention. However, astute viewers may notice that the other half of the relationship also seems awfully familiar. Here's where you may have seen Phastos' husband in "Eternals" before.


Haaz Sleiman received critical acclaim for his role in The Visitor

Like many other young actors, Haaz Sleiman started out with a number of one-episode appearances and brief recurring roles — perhaps most notably playing the prisoner Heydar in the sixth season of "24." However, in 2007 he played a major role in director Tom McCarthy's award-winning drama "The Visitor." The movie earned star Richard Jenkins an Academy Award nomination, and Sleiman himself got an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Supporting Male. 

The highly acclaimed movie (via Rotten Tomatoes) tells the story of a withdrawn college professor (Jenkins), whose life is thoroughly upended when he returns to his Manhattan home after a long absence, and finds out that a fraudster has rented it to Tarek (Sleiman) and Zainab (Danai Gurira). Taking pity on the couple, Walter allows them to stay with him and befriends Tarek, but the latter's undocumented immigrant status soon complicates things. 

In an interview with Collider, Sleiman revealed that Tarek's djembe drumming skills proved difficult for him, since he had never played the instrument. "I had to practice for a month and a half, every day for three hours," the actor said. "When we started shooting, I prayed to God that I could pull it off, and thank God for editors, you know?"

Haaz Sleiman is Mo-Mo De La Cruz in Nurse Jackie

The role of Ben in "Eternals" isn't Haaz Sleiman's first LGBTQ-themed role. The actor himself came out in 2017 with a Twitter video (via SBS), in which he minced no words about the subject. "I am a gay, Muslim, Arab-American man," he said. 

Sleiman has played gay characters a number of times, in projects like "Little America," "Breaking Fast," and, of course, "Eternals." He has also been something of a trailblazer on the representation front. In 2009, he starred in "Nurse Jackie" as Mohammed "Mo-Mo" De La Cruz, the colleague and confidant of Edie Falco's addled nurse Jackie Peyton. Though the recurring role might seem like a fairly simple one, Sleiman has noted that it was actually pretty groundbreaking — both for him personally and for American TV in general. "My first ever gay role. Also, the first gay Muslim character on American television," he tweeted about Mo-Mo De La Cruz in 2021. 

Haaz Sleiman is Ali bin Suleiman in Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan

Amazon Prime's "Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan" is the latest take on the titular CIA analyst's adventures, and the first one to take things to TV show form. Though John Krasinski's version of the character is a more formidable and combat-ready man than his movie counterparts, the show also provides far more nuanced characterization than your typical one-dimensional "agents vs. terrorists" story might provide — and Haaz Sleiman's Ali bin Suleiman is a prime example of this. 

Ali is the dangerous, capable younger brother of the Season 1 antagonist, Mousa bin Suleiman (Ali Suliman). Though their actions are truly ruthless, the difficulties the brothers have face as Lebanese refugees in France receive plenty of attention, and their road to radicalization is carefully depicted ... as is the ultimate cost of their actions. Though Sleiman only appears in six of the season's eight episodes, his presence is very much felt throughout the series. Without spoiling anything, showrunners Graham Roland and Carlton Cuse even told The Hollywood Reporter that one of the season's pivotal moments is a deliberate callback to a much earlier moment that involved Ryan and Ali.