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Matt Bomer Turned Down Barbie to Land Role on Fellow Travelers

Matt Bomer Turned Down Barbie to Land Role on Fellow Travelers

Matt Bomer
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The actor was able to play gay characters in two prestige projects after saying no to playing one of the Kens.

Matt Bomer just revealed in a new interview that he decided to turn down a role in the Barbie movie that allowed him to star in two of the biggest gay roles of his career.

At the beginning of 2023, the 46-year-old actor did a self-tape audition to play one of the many Kens in the film “I recorded it on my own, played a bunch of different Kens—and I dressed differently for all of them,” Bomer told Vanity Fair. “I recorded the lines of the other person’s dialogue on my recorder and then gave myself space to respond.”

After this, he spoke with director Greta Gerwig about the role before ultimately deciding to turn it down because he didn’t want to be away from his family — Bomer has three sons with his husband, Simon Halls.

While Bomer walked away from the opportunity to be in Barbie — which went on to become a smash hit that has already cemented its place in the cultural zeitgeist — this loss turned into gay fans’ gain.

With his schedule wide open, the former White Collar star scored the role of Bradley Cooper’s lover in the Leonard Bernstein biopic Maestrowhich is set to hit theaters later this month.

Then, after being stuck in development for years, Bomer’s project Fellow Travelers was finally greenlit. In the mini-series currently airing on Showtime, he plays Hawkins “Hawk” Fuller, a closeted Senate staffer who meets Tim Laughlin (played by Jonathan Bailey who is also out in real life) in McCarthy-era Washington and has a steamy love affair that spans decades.

“You get to a place where, when an opportunity like this comes along, you just don’t want to fuck it up,” Bomer told the outlet. “At a certain point, you’ve just got to keep moving forward and not wait for society to catch up to you.”

The actor said he had fun playing Hawk because he’s so different from the actor himself. “What was fun about this character is that I got to be the bad boy,” Bomer explained. “My strategy was always to be the good boy as a kid. So I actually got to externalize and have fun with a lot of things that I never had the opportunity to do—when I was in a circumstance that was comparable to Hawk’s in some ways.”

But getting to a place where Bomer could be the executive producer and star of a prestige TV mini-series took years of work after being sidelined when he came out publicly in 2012. When White Collar ended Bomer realized he was going to have a harder time landing leading-man roles now that the public knew about his sexual identity.

“I can’t look back in anger,” he said. “I want more queer actors to have opportunities to play roles like this and to be trusted with roles like this. I’d be lying to you if I said that wasn’t in the back of my mind.”

Despite the struggle to find his footing in Hollywood after coming out, Bomer is currently the star of a highly acclaimed eight-part series —both by reviewers who love it and fans who love the sizzling hot chemistry between the two stars — and is starring in a film that is a likely Oscar contender.

We can’t wait to see what other queer roles he plays next!

New episodes of Fellow Travelers drop on Paramount+ with Showtime on Fridays and air on Showtime’s cable channel on Sundays at 9 pm. Maestro will premiere in theaters on November 22, 2023, and will begin streaming on Netflix on December 20, 2023.

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Ariel Messman-Rucker

Ariel Messman-Rucker is an Oakland-born journalist who now calls the Pacific Northwest her home. When she’s not writing about politics and queer pop culture, she can be found reading, hiking, or talking about horror movies with the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network.

Ariel Messman-Rucker is an Oakland-born journalist who now calls the Pacific Northwest her home. When she’s not writing about politics and queer pop culture, she can be found reading, hiking, or talking about horror movies with the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network.