By Dan Rookwood for Mr Porter
To become a star in Hollywood and realise the American Dream, you often have to adopt a persona and leave your true self behind. That’s the experience of Monroe Stahr, the central character in Amazon Prime’s lavish new period drama The Last Tycoon, a wunderkind studio executive who ditches his Jewish name (Milton Sternberg) and heritage in order to metamorphose into a power player in the golden age of cinema. But for Mr Matt Bomer, who plays Stahr in the 10-episode adaptation of Mr F Scott Fitzgerald’s unfinished novel, the opposite is true.
After making his name on US TV, most notably as a suave conman in 81 episodes of White Collar and then in 13 episodes of American Horror Story, Mr Bomer found international recognition in 2012 playing a ripped male stripper who drives women crazy in Magic Mike and its equally wild 2015 sequel Magic Mike XXL. In a demonstration of his range, that same year he won a Golden Globe for his moving performance as HIV/AIDS sufferer Felix Turner in the HBO film The Normal Heart. But his “first real acting role” was to spend several years as a young man growing up in a loving, conservative Christian family in Bible Belt Texas pretending he was straight.