Kit Connor and Joe Locke of Heartstopper fame have not only won hearts with their performance as lovestruck teens on the show, but also for their astute understanding of their characters.
Connor and Locke play Nick and Charlie, two high schoolers dealing with the pressures of being queer while dealing with growing pains.
In a candid and insightful moment, Heartstopper actor Connor shared his thoughts on the parallels between himself and his character. During an interaction on Netflix, Locke read out a fan question for Connor who then spoke about how the pressures of being popular and the assumptions fans had about him being straight even though he is not, are two major similarities he sees between Nick and himself.
Connor began by acknowledging the universal appeal of Nick’s story. He emphasised that there are elements within Nick’s journey and persona that can resonate with everyone. The themes explored in the show are indeed relatable to a wide audience whether they are on a journey of inner or outer acceptance. “I think there are things you can take from his story and his character that everyone can relate to,” Connor mentioned.
The actor then dissected one of the core themes of the series—the societal pressures that weigh heavily on young individuals.
A significant facet of Nick’s journey at the start of season one involves the external expectations placed upon him due to his status as the high school rugby team’s captain and a popular figure everyone knows.
Connor found his way through a wordy answer, “I think that the ideas we’re dealing with, like the social pressures of being in school, of being popular, can lead to expectations on him that he has to then kind of deal with, you know everyone expects the fact that because he is this captain of the rugby team and very popular guy in school, everyone kind of thinks he is this stereotypical, straight rugby player, and I think that that’s something he has to deal with and I think a lot of people can relate to those kinds of internal conflicts and those kinds of expectations that people have to go through.”
Connor was nonsensically enough accused of ‘queerbaiting’ by fans for playing a bisexual character while being straight. He had to take to Twitter to come out as bi in real life. “Back for a minute,” Connor tweeted. “i’m bi. congrats for forcing an 18 year old to out himself. i think some of you missed the point of the show. Bye.”
Since then, Connor revealed that he rues the “regrettable” way he was forced to come out.