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Meet the Pansexual Playboy on HBOs 'The Nevers,' Period Drama

Hugo Swan from The Nevers

So first things, first: we aren't exactly sure what just happened in the pilot episode of The Nevers.

Having debuted on HBO and HBO Max on Sunday night, The Nevers is about a group of "touched" women — mostly — in London of 1896. As far as we can tell, Mrs. Amalia True and Miss Penance Adair, who are touched, seek out these women to all live together. But as they find in the season open, someone else is also seeking out these women via men with bandaged faces for what we can only presume to be nefarious purposes. At the episode's end we find out that it seems a mad scientist of sorts, played by Denis O'Hare is behind this effort. But we're here to talk about the show's evil Hugh Hefner.

Our first shots of a man we come to know as Hugo Swann is him waking up for what was clearly a long night in bed. On one side there is a woman, naked, still asleep. The other, a man, also naked and still asleep. This is our pansexual playboy.

As we come to find over the span of the episode, Swann operates a "pagan sex cult" of sorts. From his position as the club's head, he uses photos and other incriminating things he can glean from the activities of participants to extort major players into doing what he wants. The club's name: the Ferryman's Club.

James Norton, the actor who plays him, is not publicly known to be queer but has been rumored as one possibly in line to play James Bond. He played Duncan Grant, a gay artist, in BBC's Life in Squares. At the time he had said he played roles where he had male lovers before.

According to the HBO bio, Swann employs some of the touched.

It's only one episode in but it's pretty clear the role is wrapped up in the villainous side. His attitude is at once ruthless and blasé — blasé in the sense that as people are getting murdered and kidnapped around him, he is literally in the middle of hooking up and does not lose his hard-on even after being made aware he could be in a life-threatening situation. It will be interesting to watch him develop. 

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Tags: Television, HBO

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