• 08.02.2024 12th SCAD TVfest
  • written by Jasper December 20, 2023

    Matt Bomer for The New York Times

    Matt is featured in The New York Times and he discussed his career, from starting out to taking on lead roles. If you’re not able to access the full article on their website due to paywall, you can read it below, more under the cut! Hopefully more photos from the shoot comes out soon too.

    In 2001, the actor Matt Bomer took a role in “Guiding Light.” He had resisted it at first. A graduate of Carnegie Mellon University’s vaunted musical theater program, he felt that a soap opera was beneath him. But a few theater jobs hadn’t gone anywhere, and he had recently lost a bellman gig at a midtown hotel, so when the chance came up to play Ben Reade, a trust fund baby turned sex worker, he signed on.

    Bomer had been afraid of being on camera. “I was terrified of anybody seeing that close to my soul,” he said. On the soap, he learned to say his lines, hit his marks, make a choice and stick to it. The camera left his soul alone.

    In 2002, he asked the producers to write him off. He had been told that he was the director’s choice for a major new superhero movie. Then, he believes, the movie’s producers discovered that he was gay. That movie was never made.

    Bomer has never been sure if that’s why the project fell apart. Like marriages and dishwashers, movies in preproduction have many ways to fail. Still, he took from the experience a painful lesson. He couldn’t be himself and have the career he wanted. Around the same time, a producer (Bomer didn’t name him) told him that if he came out publicly, he would never play leads.

    It took 20 years, but Bomer, 46, has proved that producer wrong. He can currently be seen in two major projects: the Netflix film “Maestro,” which came to Netflix on Wednesday, and the Showtime romantic drama “Fellow Travelers,” set during and after the Lavender Scare of the 1950s, in which gay men and women were denied and purged from government jobs.

    In the series, which concluded last week, Bomer plays Hawkins Fuller, a state department operative with a promising career, a loving wife and a passionate entanglement with a man, played by Jonathan Bailey (“Bridgerton”). Driven, magnetic, emotionally opaque, Fuller — Hawk to his intimates — has all the signifiers of a prestige drama antihero. His is a leading role. Bomer, playing him, is a leading man.

    “Before this I was like, why can’t we have our Don Draper? Why can’t we have our Walter White?” Bomer said. “I don’t think I could have done it if I hadn’t worked on all the projects leading up to it.”

    Bomer grew up in Spring, Tex., a suburb of Houston. His family went to church several times a week, and that church considered homosexuality an abomination, so Bomer spent much of his childhood and adolescence running from himself. In high school, he participated in forensics, football, student council, Latin Club. “Anything that kept me busy,” he said. He also acted, landing his first professional job at 18. In theater, inside the skin of a character, he felt free.

    He began to date men in college, during a year abroad in Ireland. A decade into his career, once he had recurred on several series, co-starred in a Jodie Foster movie (“Flightplan”) and was firmly ensconced as the breezy lead of the USA cop-and-con-man procedural “White Collar,” he came out while receiving a humanitarian award, in 2012. He was already married then, to the publicist Simon Halls, and the father of three young boys.

    Bomer isn’t sure that it was an ideal time to come out. “White Collar” was still airing, and the first “Magic Mike” film, in which he plays one of the exotic dancers, would soon premiere. But he was tired of running. And he was happy.

    “I just thought, I don’t want to hide this,” he recalled on a recent morning. “Love is more important to me than anything that being my true self cost me.”

    We had met an hour earlier in the middle of a West Village street. The plan had been to walk around the neighborhood, Bomer’s favorite in the city. (Although he is based in Los Angeles, he and Halls have an apartment nearby.) But it was near freezing, so after a few moments we ducked into the glassed-in back room of a pastry shop on Bleecker Street.

    I can confirm that if you are a person who enjoys the company of handsome men, it is very nice to sip herbal tea across the table from Bomer. He has dark hair, light eyes, a jaw so square it could be used for geometry tutorials. Wrap that up in an off-white turtleneck sweater, and it’s heartthrob city. I had mentioned to a few friends that I would be meeting him, and they all wanted me to ask the same question: How does it feel to be that handsome?

    Bomer doesn’t discount his looks, but he has the decency to be mildly embarrassed by them. “We were raised in my home to always be very humble and to not be worldly in that regard,” he said. “Having said that, I make sure to moisturize.” He favors writers and directors who see him as more than a pretty face and sculpted abs. And there is more: impishness, candor, a sense of wounds long healed.

    “There’s a real sort of confident vulnerability about Matt,” said Bailey, his “Fellow Travelers” co-star.

    Coming out altered Bomer’s professional trajectory, though it didn’t necessarily diminish it. “I mean, there are certain rooms that I haven’t been in since,” he said. “But I think my career became so much richer.”

    As “White Collar” wound down, he took on several gay roles. He appeared in Dustin Lance Black’s “8,” a play about the overturning of the amendment banning same-sex marriage in California. He followed that with turns in Ryan Murphy’s film adaptations of “The Normal Heart” and “The Boys in the Band,” both seminal works of gay theater.

    In casting Bomer in “The Normal Heart,” Murphy recalled thinking: “Maybe this is the role that can show the world what Matt can do. I remember saying to him, ‘I can tell you can do this because you have a lot to prove.’” He also perceived that Bomer, an actor who had always relied on technique and charm, who had seen performance as one more way to hide, had a deep emotional well to draw from.

    “He knows what it’s like to struggle, and he knows what it’s like to be afraid, and he knows what it’s like to have people not believe in you,” Murphy said.

    Even as he played these gay roles, he continued on with straight ones, building a résumé that would not have been available to an out actor even a decade before. Murphy cast him opposite Lady Gaga in a season of “American Horror Story,” and he appeared as a Hollywood producer in a miniseries version of “The Last Tycoon.” He also filmed a second “Magic Mike” movie.

    Three and a half years ago, he read “Fellow Travelers,” the Thomas Mallon novel on which the series is based, with an eye toward starring in the adaptation. He was interested, but he didn’t really expect it to go forward. “There was a central part of me that has been in the business since I was 18, thinking, ‘Are the gatekeepers really going to give this the budget that it needs?’” he recalled.

    But the gatekeepers did. Ron Nyswaner, the showrunner of the series, wanted Bomer for the lead, intuiting that he could play both what Hawk shows to the world (charisma, ambition) and what he conceals (heart, desire, anguish).

    “Matt, for all his physical attractiveness and charm, he understands emotional pain,” Nyswaner said.

    When I asked Bomer what of himself he had given to Hawk, in terms of both effort and personal experience, his answer was simple: “Everything.” Finally, he is letting the camera see into his soul. In most scenes, Bomer plays two or three emotions simultaneously, some across the surface of his face and others roiling underneath. The show includes several unusually intimate sex scenes, and Bomer gave himself to these, too. With the consent of his co-star and an intimacy coordinator, he even improvised a few unscripted moments, as when Hawk licks a lover’s armpit.

    “I feel like I’ve been watching straight people express their sexuality in front of me my entire life,” Bomer said. “Now you can watch some of our experience onscreen.”

    If Bomer has his way, there will be more to watch. He appears in Bradley Cooper’s “Maestro,” as the clarinetist and producer David Oppenheim, a colleague and lover of Leonard Bernstein’s. And there are plans for other series: a queer espionage drama, an adaptation of another novel. (His dream project is a “Murder She Wrote” reboot.) Then of course there are his other roles: husband, father, son, brother, advocate and activist for human rights.

    Bailey, who is a decade younger, described him as “a blinding light — a good blinding light! — of energy and commitment.” Bomer was someone he had looked to as he navigated his own career, a man who had nudged open a door and kept it open for others who came after. “He’s a beacon,” Bailey said.

    Predictably, Bomer takes a humbler approach. His concern is for what he has received, not what he might provide. His life has taken him, he said, from an industry suspicious of queer storytelling to one more receptive. From running from himself to settling down with a family and faith rooted in love and acceptance. Another man might discount the earlier years — the division, the prejudice, the pain — but Bomer doesn’t. It has made him who he is: a leading man and a man now able to take the lead in his own life.

    “I’m grateful, ultimately, that I got to see both sides,” he said.

    The New York Times
    written by Jasper December 14, 2023

    Matt on ‘The Kelly Clarkson Show’

    This is a late-ish update because the better-quality stills were released just today. Matt made an appearance on The Kelly Clarkson Show last week to promote Fellow Travelers. He also talked about his kids staging an intervention for him for Christmas this year, how Rock Hudson has inspired him, and more. Check out a clip of his interview below!

    written by Jasper November 07, 2023

    Matt Bomer and Jonathan Bailey for The Telegraph

    Matt and Jonathan did an interview with The Telegraph before the actors’ strike and discussed their show Fellow Travelers. Check out the full interview below! I’ve also added the two photos and scans into the gallery.

    We all know what is meant by McCarthyism. It ­popularly refers to the first half of the 1950s, when Senator Joseph R McCarthy led a ruthless ­campaign to hound suspected communists out of the US government. What’s less well-remembered than the Red Menace is the Lavender Scare: by an executive order from President Eisenhower, McCarthyism also targeted gays and lesbians. “If you want to be against McCarthy, boys,” the senator once told the press, “you’ve got to be either a Communist or a c–ksucker.”

    Thus gay men and women, living closeted lives as they worked for the state, were targeted by sinister-sounding bodies: the FBI’s Sex ­Deviance Investigations Unit, ­Washington DC police’s Sex ­Perversion Elimination Program and the Department of State’s M Unit. All sought to identify ­government employees deemed to be security risks vulnerable to blackmail.

    Popular culture lost sight of the Lavender Scare until it was brought into the light in the US by Thomas Mallon’s 2007 novel Fellow ­Travelers. Set mostly in the early 1950s, it told of a tangled romance between two men; Hawkins “Hawk” Fuller, a handsome war veteran and political fixer who steers clear of emotional attachment until he meets Tim Laughlin, a sweet young Catholic newcomer to DC whom he nicknames Skippy and sets up in the office of a Republican senator.

    The novel was not published in the UK. But now it has been adapted for television, and one piece of ­casting in particular feels ­calculated to get the attention of audiences beyond the US: Laughlin is played by British actor Jonathan Bailey, best known as the Regency heartthrob Anthony, 9th Viscount Bridgerton.

    His co-star is the American Matt Bomer, who, like Bailey, professes ignorance of what the New York Times, in its review of the novel, referred to as “the Lavender Hill mob”. “It’s a chapter of LGBTQIA history that I was completely ­unaware of,” he says.

    This is not the first time the novel has been adapted – it was staged as an opera in Cincinnati in 2016. By then it had already caught the attention of Ron Nyswaner, who laboured over bringing the book to the screen for the best part of a ­decade. Best known for his script for Philadelphia, the 1993 Aids courtroom drama which earned Tom Hanks his first Oscar, it was his stint as a producer of Homeland that persuaded Showtime to fund an expensive eight-part decades-spanning drama. “I’m still in ­disbelief that we were able to tell this story on the scale that we were able to tell it,” says Bomer, who is also an executive producer on the drama.

    The scale is considerable. The period detail of 1950s Washington, in both corridors of power and gay demimonde, is lavishly recreated. And as the story progresses it parts company with the novel, which opens with Hawk looking back at the closure of his career as a ­diplomat in Tallinn in 1991. Nyswaner’s script expands to take in other pivots in modern US ­history: the Civil Rights movement, the Vietnam War, and the spread of Aids in the 1980s, when the now-married Hawk and the dying Laughlin meet for a final reckoning.

    I met the drama’s two stars in London earlier in the summer, before the actors’ strike in ­Hollywood put a stop to such encounters. It was the first time they’d seen each other since the end of the shoot. Bomer, though just off the plane and heavily jet-lagged, exudes a chiselled, blue-eyed intensity. Bailey fizzes with puppyish energy. Both are themselves gay and Bailey in particular sees their casting as a sign of ­progress. “We would not be playing these parts five or 10 years ago,” he says. The highlights of his CV are mix and match. He has played mainly straight characters on ­television in the likes of Broadchurch, Crashing and W1A, and gay characters on stage in the Sondheim musical Company and Mike Bartlett’s play C–k in the West End.

    The career of Bomer, 10 years his senior, looks a little more linear. His most high-profile film role is as an object of ladies’ lust in male-strippers drama Magic Mike and its sequel. But in 2014 he won a Golden Globe playing a closeted journalist in HBO’s adaptation of Larry ­Kramer’s play The Normal Heart. In 2018, he made his Broadway debut as part of an exclusively gay cast reviving The Boys in the Band, a ­portrait of gay life in 1960s New York.

    read more

    Vanity Fair spoke with Matt and Jonathan about their upcoming limited series, Fellow Travelers. They shared very interesting things about the show, like how they came on board the project, the epic and sexy romance between their characters, and much more. First look photos have also been released, which you can now find in our gallery!

    When Matt Bomer and Jonathan Bailey first met at a coffee shop on Cumberland Street in Toronto, on the verge of beginning six months of filming for their decades-spanning limited series Fellow Travelers, they made a pact to have each other’s backs. Sounds simple enough, given that they were about to embark on some of the richest screen work of their respective careers. But over Zoom, both actors speak of that introduction now as almost sacred. Watch Fellow Travelers, and you’ll understand why. The Showtime epic depicts an extraordinary intimacy between its lead characters, and asks for true vulnerability from Bomer and Bailey, who deliver without compromise.

    Adapted by Oscar nominee Ron Nyswaner (Philadelphia) from Thomas Mallon’s 2007 novel, Fellow Travelers (premiering this fall on Paramount+ With Showtime) examines the volatile, passionate, deeply loving romance between Hawkins Fuller (Bomer), a charismatic if somewhat opaque war hero turned political staffer, and Tim Laughlin (Bailey), a religious idealist looking for his way into the DC grind. They meet at the dawn of the early-’50s Lavender Scare, in which Senator Joseph McCarthy and his chief counsel Roy Cohn purged whomever they deemed gay or lesbian from government roles—dubbing them communist sympathizers—and sparked a national moral panic around homosexuality. The series then builds into a kind of grand chronicle of queer American history, tracing the evolution of Hawk and Tim’s relationship through various eras before culminating in the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s.

    The project came to Bailey at a serendipitous moment. For the first time in his life, the breakout star of Bridgerton was in demand and being asked what he wanted to do next. “My answer was always, ‘Well, I’d love to do a sweeping gay love story,’ but my experience actually was that I’d never really seen them,” Bailey says. “Or if I had, I hadn’t seen actors like me and Matt play those roles.” (Both Bailey and Bomer identify as gay.) That dream opportunity abruptly presented itself in Fellow Travelers, which Bailey joined after Bomer had already signed on as both star and executive producer. “The story had been marinating with Ron for a solid decade before I ever came on board,” Bomer says. “Ron had an almost religious zeal about this project, this world, and these characters that just washed over everyone involved, and made it the profound experience that it was.”

    Nyswaner had already done considerable research on Fellow Travelers, having previously planned to adapt the book as a film. He had more recently established himself in prestige TV—writing for Showtime dramas like Homeland and Ray Donovan—while continuing to work in movies. His script for last year’s Amazon feature My Policeman introduced him to producer Robbie Rogers; Nyswaner sent Rogers the Fellow Travelers novel, which sparked a conversation about making a limited series out of it. “The ambition of going through the different decades and finding a really compelling story—nothing like that had been done, where it’s an epic gay love story that has this political element that’s woven through it,” says Rogers. 

    Fellow Travelers leaves no stone unturned, expanding its world beyond Hawk and Tim to fashion an expansive historical tapestry. A core parallel strand of the drama follows Jelani Alladin’s Marcus Hooks, a queer Black political journalist finding a new partner of his own (Noah J. Ricketts), while Nyswaner’s early episodes also dig into the vicious methods of McCarthy (a transformed Chris Bauer) and the appalling hypocrisy of Cohn (Will Brill). “Something like an estimated 10,000 people lost their jobs, and a lot of folks took their own lives,” Bomer says. “That’s the landscape that these people are dealing with.”

    read more
    written by Jasper September 13, 2020

    Matt Bomer Volunteers for ‘#FoodForThought’ Campaign

    Last August 24th, Matt joined volunteers at the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank to kick off the #FoodForThought Campaign in a partnership with the California Milk Processor Board to help provide one million meals and one million servings of milk to feeding programs throughout California. Check out photos in our gallery! Also, Matt spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about the campaign.

    I saw the images of you visiting the food bank. How was it?
    It was an amazing experience. It was so great to get to meet the volunteers and see the people who are out there every day, risking their lives to help others. They run a really tight ship over there. It’s all run really safely and it was great to get to be a part of it, if only for a moment. I already committed myself to come back for the holidays.

    That’s amazing. I know you’ve done a lot of service work in the past, did it take on any special significance to show up during this time?
    I think we’ve all wondered at this time when so much is in flux and we’re living in a completely unprecedented time, what can we do to help? How can we give back? What can we give of ourselves? That’s why this particular initiative really spoke to me. It’s so easy. In the time it takes you to take a selfie, you can mention @GotMilk on Instagram and feed 10 people. I want people to know that now through September 30, each hashtag #FoodForThought mission of kindness that’s shared or engaged with on Instagram, and that mentions @GotMilk generates a $1 Feeding America donation from the California Milk Processor Board to help contribute meals toward people in need. They’re trying to get to that one million meals goal. It takes five seconds to open a door for somebody and take a picture of it and put it on Instagram, and you would be feeding 10 people right now of the 4.2 million who are in need.

    Your career has gone so well for so long, and you’ve stayed working at a pretty hectic pace. With the pandemic forcing so much time at home, that can sometimes lead to introspection. Is there anything you’ve learned about yourself during this time?
    We’ve all been forced into a place of introspection at this time. I think we’ve all also realized that we’re more resilient than maybe we even thought we were. It’s been an amazing time to sit and listen to voices that need to be heard and to try to find ways to give back. I know that for me, my life is so transient as an actor, this is the longest I’ve gone without being on an airplane to a faraway place. The silver lining in all of this, for me, is the amount of quality time I’ve had with our family and getting to be there for so many great moments. A lot of the creativity that I would put into work is now being used in just trying to figure out how to keep our kids engaged on a day-to-day basis and giving them a sense of structure. I take piano lessons, I’ve been writing and working on things in development. So, there are ways. You can’t stop Hollywood. Things keep grinding along.

    You’ve stayed busy with a lot of virtual events, the DC FanDome, appearances for charity …
    It’s almost become a part-time job, just recording videos for people, public service announcements, messages for people’s charities, initiatives, things like that. It’s become more or less a part-time job for me now. I’m more than happy to do it.

    How do you manage the requests?
    Most people come to me personally, usually via Instagram. Sometimes they’ll come through a publicist, but it’s usually personal messaging. What am I going to do? Say no? “Sorry, I can’t record that video. I have to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or macaroni and cheese at 1 p.m.” It’s not like I’m out gallivanting around the world on location somewhere. There’s no right or wrong way to respond to the crisis that we’re in. There’s nothing wrong with not doing anything. But for me, I personally needed to feel like I could help in some way or wanted to try to feel like I could contribute in whatever way I could, even if it just meant recording a silly minute long video.

    The stills from the film version of Boys in the Band were just released. It’s such a beloved property, coming off the Tony win, now with the film version. Will there be any surprises for diehard fans?
    It was such a blessing [to film]. I don’t know if I’ll ever in my career again get a chance to work with the same cast and director from a stage production on a film. Obviously, it’s a completely different medium, it’s a much more intimate medium. Lines that you played to the back of the house, you can’t play that way in a close-up. So we were fortunate that we had this incredible sense of trust and ensemble in each other, having done a show eight times a week. That really informed the work we did on film. It gave us permission to take risks in front of each other. We had this incredible director in Joe Mantello, who knew how to calibrate things from stage to film. There are new aspects of the piece that I think are new, but it’s also really stayed really true to the source material, which is wise because Mart Crowley wrote a really groundbreaking, phenomenal play that I think is important and deserving of its place in our theatrical history.

    Work-wise, what’s the next thing on your slate when production resumes?
    It’s really in flux. There are things at different levels of development. There’s an independent film that I’ve been attached to for years, that one day I’ll get a call, but it’s going at the end of October and the next day I’ll get a call, “Oh, it’s not going.” And then the next day I’ll get a call, “Wait, we think it’s going to happen in November.” So it’s so much, you really can’t get caught up in the sturm und drang of it, and the drama of the day-to-day. I am grateful that there will be stuff coming down the line at some point.

    written by Jasper June 27, 2020

    Matt Bomer on Playing a Gay Superhero

    As part of their Rainbow Crew interview series, Matt spoke with Digital Spy to discuss his heroic role in Doom Patrol. The first three episodes of the new season are available to stream now on HBO Max!

    Matt Bomer wasn’t planning to star in a superhero show. He had just finished up Boys in the Band on Broadway when DC approached him for the role of Larry Trainor. As Bomer puts it, “Doom Patrol came out of left field,” and that’s rather fitting given how wild this show actually is.

    Based on comics first written in 1963, the “World’s Strangest Heroes” are misfits in every sense of the word. Not only do their bizarre powers alienate them from the world at large, but the Doom Patrol franchise has always been an outlier too, often sidelined in favour of more ‘appealing’ outsiders like the X-Men.

    That’s starting to change now though thanks to the Doom Patrol TV show. Inspired by Grant Morrison’s relentlessly weird run from the late eighties, this new adaptation subverts superhero tropes by incorporating Dadaist elements of abstract surrealism… and that’s exactly what appealed to Bomer in the first place.

    “I think we’re living in an era of episodics where, you know, the more unique, the better! There’s so much content out there. So, I hope the show continues to get weirder and weirder.”

    Given what we’ve seen of season two so far, it’s safe to say that Bomer’s got his wish. Following on from all those carnivorous butts and the cockroach kisses of season one, new episodes include a super-powered ape-faced girl and Doctor Tyme, a disco-loving time traveller who wears a clock for a head.

    That’s a lot to absorb for even diehard comic-book fans, but as Bomer points out, these “bizarre, offbeat” stories are actually grounded in something far more universal:

    “As much as it’s a fun superhero show, Doom Patrol is really about the human condition, and the capacity for even the most marginalised amongst us to find our inner hero.”

    Watching Robotman contend with his shitty past or Rita struggle with her self-worth, it’s clear that each member of the team is deeply flawed in some way, much like we all are, and it’s this trauma which grounds Doom Patrol, transforming it into something truly special.

    You can read the full interview at Digital Spy!

    written by Jasper June 25, 2020

    Matt Bomer on Bringing Queer Representation to Prestige Superhero TV

    In light of the premiere of Doom Patrol, Matt spoke with ET Online to discuss the new season and bringing Larry Trainor to life.

    Known for his breakout role in White Collar, his Golden Globe–winning turn in The Normal Heart as well as the Magic Mike films, Matt Bomer is the first to admit that doing a superhero series wasn’t at the top of the list of what he wanted to do next in his career. But when it comes to Doom Patrol, the trippy DC Universe series returning for season 2 on HBO Max, he found himself attracted to the pathos imbued in the storytelling. “What I love about this show is that as much as it is prestige superhero television, it’s really about the human condition and the capacity for even the most marginalized among us to find their inner hero,” he tells ET.

    On the series, which was adapted for the screen by executive producer Jeremy Carver along with superhero savant Greg Berlanti, Bomer plays Larry Trainor, whom he describes as “one part Montgomery Clift, one part elephant man.” A closeted Air Force pilot who’s badly burned in a plane crash after he makes contact with a negative spirit, Trainor has managed to survive decades later thanks to the special bandages covering his body that prevent the spread of radioactivity emitting from his body. 

    Over the course of season 1, Trainor is haunted by his past as he tries to come to terms with his sexuality and relationship with fellow pilot John Bowers (Kyle Clements), whom he pushed away after the accident and never fully got over. 

    “I love working on Larry because it never felt — other than some of the bigger-budget action sequences or special effects sequences — it never felt like I was working on a superhero show,” Bomer says. “There was so much pathos and character-driven drama in those scenes that it felt like I was just getting to work on a really great well-written show. Especially those scenes with John.”

    The scenes the actor is referring to include some of the flashbacks with Trainor and Bowers in a motel room and later at a gay bar, where they both get to be themselves, even as Trainor is trying to figure out how to be completely comfortable in his own skin. 

    “Season 1 was so much about self-discovery and being able to finally come to terms with his own authenticity after 60 years of basically shutting down and diving into his past, and going from a man who had thought that he had to, in order to achieve what he wanted, cut off the most authentic part of himself,” Bomer says, explaining that journey then allowed Trainor to “ultimately find love and acceptance for himself and be able to come out to his crew.”

    Read the full interview at ET Online!

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