MAtt Bomer looks too good to be true: sparkling blue eyes, a partially unbuttoned dark shirt, shiny black hair to a simple kiss from Christopher Reeve-era Superman. The 42-year-old actor even has a sunny disposition, although it’s not yet 10 a.m. in Los Angeles. He makes a video call from the bright attic of the house he shares with her husband, Hollywood publicist Simon Halls, and their three sons; a rubber yoo-hoos plant over his shoulder. Presumably, Bomer just fell out of bed looking this way and stood in front of the webcam. “I wish,” he smiles, exuding the slightly tired cuteness of someone whose appearance has drawn commentary since long before he was named the sexiest man on television in 2011. “I’m already up. For a while, preparing breakfast, looking for the children, I settled in “Zoom school” and tried to bring in my meditation. “
This reference to meditation can’t help but bring to mind reiki-practicing stripper Ken, quoting Oprah, whom he played in both Magic Mike films. “I’m not sure if I’m using the same meditation techniques as Ken,” he laughs. “But I think there was definitely something about me there that Reid [Carlin, the screenwriter] was in train of riffer.
Bomer’s latest film, The Boys in the Band, is quite a tangy proposition. Adapted from Mart Crowley’s 1968 play, a staple in gay canon, it takes place entirely at a birthday party hosted by Michael (Jim Parsons) for his imperious friend Harold (Zachary Quinto). Bomer plays pressure off Michael, Donald, who is content to take a backseat as the bitch and soul stripping stretches into the wee hours. “Donald has done enough work on himself to be a compassionate observer,” Bomer says. “He is by no means a saint, but he can see outside his own neurosis.
The actor was not familiar with the play, nor with William Friedkin’s 1970 film version, before being cast for Broadway’s 50th Anniversary in 2018. This production, which won the Tony for Best Revival ‘one piece, was a small breakthrough: it boasted of an all-gay cast, the same that was put together for the film version. Not that Bomer thinks such roles should be played only by gay performers. “I’ve been doing theater professionally since I was 17,” he says. “Everyone played it all, really. But I understand the need for equal opportunity and access to roles for people across the LGBTQ spectrum. We need to see access for everyone. »Then? “May the best actor win, I guess.”
The pitying tenor of some of the characters may sit uncomfortably with our fluid and shameless times, but Bomer believes the importance of the play comes from capturing an age before queerness was clearly defined. , and even less accepted. “Everything happens a few months before Stonewall,” he emphasizes. “It’s about that moment right before this explosion, this revolution, and in a way the characters feel like they’re going to be trapped in this room until something changes. My favorite line is when Michael asks what time it is and I say, “It’s early.” I think that’s true for the movement and where these men were; it was really early in their development. Donald is looking on the horizon to something beyond it all and there is nothing there – it is uncharted territory.
Making the movie cost even more than playing the show eight times a week. “At the end of the play every night there is a closure. You have served. Whereas in the movies, you have time to go home and think too much. It is this lingering experience that boils throughout the shoot. Sometimes with the movies I need to do something ritualistic to end the experience once it’s over. I ask for an example but he retorts. “Oh, this will all sound too esoteric and weird. I’d rather keep this mysterious than make it out of date. In the absence of further details, we’ll just have to imagine him dancing naked around a campfire as he feeds his Boys in the Band script to flames one page at a time.
Donald points out about his sexuality that he “always knew about me”. Does Bomer? “I did this once I hit my teenage years. But I was also part of a very religious family living in a hyper-conservative environment in the Bible belt in Texas, so it became a forked experience for me. Even television and cinema were sometimes banned. “The borders have changed a bit. Sometimes they were relaxed, sometimes more strict, depending on my family’s religious values at one point. If daddy was really on fire for the Lord all of a sudden you knew the hammer would fall. Even though my brother and I as kids always found a way to access everything we wanted to see. Fruit forbidden, eh? “Exactly. What could be more biblical than that?
He addressed his parents in a letter, which was greeted with six months of silence on their part, followed by a bitter argument – and, a few years later, their eventual acceptance. A public coming out occurred during an awards speech in 2012 in which he thanked Halls and their children. Her career was already on the rise by then, although it could be argued that there was no other direction she could have gone after the 2006 horror prequel The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. : The Beginning. “I thought, ‘Michael Bay produces, this is Texas, it’s a world I understand, and it ends with the guy becoming Leatherface with my face. Why not?’ “
He progressed to the sci-fi thriller In Time and landed the lead role as the charming con artist in six seasons of White Collar; before that, he joked, he starred in so many canceled TV series that he didn’t realize the shows could last longer than a season. His outlook does not appear to have been harmed or altered by his release: he went on to play a killer in comedy thriller Russell Crowe / Ryan Gosling The Nice Guys, a farmer in the remake of The Magnificent Seven, and studio head Monroe Stahr in a television. version of The Last Tycoon by F Scott Fitzgerald. (For many years he was to play Montgomery Clift in a passion project he had developed about the actor, although that recently failed.)
“I would be lying to you if I said that some things haven’t changed for me,” he admits. “Some rooms that I frequented – suddenly the door closed. But I’ve also engaged with artists who don’t care, who just want the actor who they think is best for the role, and these are the artists I wanted to work with anyway, so I don’t see it as a loss. One of his most loyal collaborators is Ryan Murphy, who produced The Boys in the Band and directed the 2014 television adaptation of Larry Kramer’s drama Aids The Normal Heart, which earned Bomer a Golden Globe.
As someone who grew up gay in the 1980s and 1990s, he is struck by the generational difference in attitude today. “I look at our children’s friends and see that they don’t even flinch at the idea that our boys have two dads. This makes me very optimistic about the future. Where do works like The Boys in the Band and The Normal Heart fit in this utopia? “I would be upset if these heroes who came before us were forgotten or ignored. I hope the younger generation will take the time to understand all that our community has been through over the years and to recognize the shoulders we stand on now.
It’s the kind of level playing field that recently led Bomer’s 15-year-old son Kit to come out so straight. “It’s a story that people ran with,” he said with a cheerful moan. “I love that he felt so comfortable that he could say that. But it wasn’t a great time when he pushed us aside; it was not organized. It was relaxed. Obviously, this is an interesting and very clickbait-y sound clip. He thinks that’s hilarious, by the way. It’s like, “This is my favorite story!” So should we minimize it or play it more? “Play. He’s 15, you know? We really don’t need to take inspiration from him yet. I’ll bury him near the end of the article, I promise.
• The Boys in the Band is on Netflix from September 30