Sometimes, movies (and specific characters in them) can make a profound difference in people’s lives. A role can change the actor’s perception of himself or the world. Few movies resonate so poignantly with fans, that watching them becomes a life-changing event. Tina Fey’ mean girls was a high school comedy, and while it had some female empowerment themes going on, it was for fun. However, the role of Damien made a huge difference in the life of actor Danielle Franzes – along with fans who identified with him.
Danielle Franzis plays Damien in ‘Mean Girls’
Damien was one of the central characters mean girls. As one of Cady’s first friends after moving to a new city and attending a new school, she was instrumental in highlighting the difference between the down-to-earth outcast and the popular mean-girls gaggle. His commentary and enthusiasm made him a fan favorite.
Damien was also gay, but it was never played as a joke. He was someone the audience could laugh with, but couldn’t, according to mental Floss. For actor Daniel Franzis, that was the most important thing. Franzis admitted to being intimidated to take on the role, but when he did, it was a natural thing.
Franzis also happens to be gay – but at the time he played Damien, only close friends and family knew about him. He appeared in public almost a decade after the film’s release. For them, coming out in public was done so that others could take some courage and inspiration from it; He came out to help others.
Franzis had already helped other young men, however, by just playing the role of Damien.
Damien was a role model for many viewers
Damien was a symbol to many young men, and by extension, so was Franz. even after years mean girls premiered, he would be stopped on the street so fans could thank him. Some will even have tears in their eyes.
Damien was a young, likable gay teen who had no intention of laughing at and breaking stereotypes in the best way possible. Franzis takes his experience as a gay teen and turns it into a believable and likable character. Young gay men found that role refreshing and inspiring. To see the kind of character on screen who was acknowledged by his friends and family without judgment resonated with fans. They loved watching it and Damien is still a fan favorite to this day.
For many of them, it was life-changing—even life-affirming, for some. Damien gave him courage and became role models, both the character and the actor.
Playing Damien has also changed Franz
People recognize Franz. “I don’t really mix,” he added. cosmopolitan, so fans recognize him. He could be anywhere and people would suddenly yell at him for his most iconic line. Hearing “You go, Glenn Coco!” Yelling at him can be nerve-wracking, says Franzese. Because he is so recognizable, it can come at any time.
While that particular part of playing Damien can be disappointing, it overshadows it for good to come. Playing Damien gave Franzis the courage to appear in public. Seeing how the character affected fans inspired Damien to eventually come out himself. “I’m not scared anymore,” he says.
The name ‘Daniel’ means “God in my judge,” and Francis holds on to that. Because of Damien’s fan reaction, Franzis says that Hollywood, or other “mean girls,” aren’t afraid of anything they can say or do because of their sexual orientation. “Thanks for that, Damien,” says Franzese.
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