Divergent's Theo James thinks it's time for a gay action hero

Mar 20, 2014 at 9:40 p.m. ET

Theo James is proud of his new film because of a strong female action hero, but he thinks things aren't changing quickly enough.

Theo James
Photo credit: FayesVision/WENN.com

Theo James is about to become a household name, and he is making his first big U.S. debut in Divergent alongside Shailene Woodley. The Downton Abbey actor shared his admiration for the new theme of strong women as superheroines, such as Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games or Tris from Divergent.

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"We're in a world where masculinity, especially with these big spectacle movies, is often pushed by rippling six packs and forcing an image down someone's throat trying to prove masculinity," he told The Advocate. "Whereas I think true masculinity comes from having a strong sense of self."

That idea is also why he took the role in Divergent — he was intrigued by his character's relationship to Shailene Woodley's character. "Part of what drew me to Four was his concept of masculinity, specifically in how he relates to Tris and their relationship. He's intrigued by her but respectful of her bravery and her personality traits."

James finds himself drawn to films with strong women, and he hopes there will be more films like the ones in recent years. But he doesn’t feel like the tide is turning quickly enough.

"It's frustrating we still don't see more movies featuring strong women," he admitted. "But it does seem like things are beginning to change with films like this and The Hunger Games."

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James' hopes for change isn't just focused on women. He said he also hopes to see an LGBT action hero one day, although he doesn’t think it will happen anytime soon.

"It's very hard to tell," he said, according to E! News. "Because today there are great shows like Looking, poignant pieces of work that revolve around a central cast of characters that happen to be gay. But I remember when Queer as Folk came out and thinking, 'Things are changing. Maybe there will be more [shows like this].' And then suddenly there was a drought. Hopefully the day [we have a gay action hero] isn't far away."

Divergent opens in theaters Friday, March 21.