‘Doom Patrol’ Star Matt Bomer on the Importance of Playing a Gay Superhero

Playing gay superhero Larry Trainor is anything but negative for Doom Patrol star Matt Bomer.

“I think it’s so important. It’s a big reason why I wanted to be a part of Doom Patrol,” the Negative Man actor, who identifies as gay, told Collider when asked about bringing gay representation to the superhero genre.

“I’ve never really seen a gay, male superhero, and what I love most about the character is that, even though it’s a huge struggle, internally, for him, it’s not the sole thing that defines who he is. He’s such a multi-faceted character. If it had just been one stereotypical thing, I think I would have had more reservations about it, but the fact that he is this nuanced character who has so many places to grow, and he has so much shadow and so much light that he doesn’t even know he has, is what appealed to me, just as much as his sexuality.”

Forced to cover his horrifically burned body in bandages following a disastrous encounter with a cosmic entity, Negative Man hides part of himself — a matter Bomer is familiar with after starring in Broadway’s Boys in the Band, “which takes place in ‘68/‘69, at a time when, even if people were accepting of who they were, they had to do it behind closed doors.”

“You couldn’t even really do it in public. The bar you were in could be raided. You were certainly ostracized by the mainstream community. It wasn’t like it is today. So, I was in that headspace and [executive producer] Greg [Berlanti] had come to see the play, and they called me a little bit after that. I think he knew that I had really been delving into that world, eight times a week on stage, but for Larry, the stakes are even higher,” Bomer said.

“It’s one thing to just be a product of that time, but to also be in the military, actively serving and to be someone who has tried to achieve so much, in order to create a smokescreen for himself and to give himself permission just to be. In his mind, if he can just become this guy who breaks the sound barrier and America has to love him, then he’ll never have to really deal with the parts of himself that are unlovable.”

Before joining the DC Universe in Doom Patrol, Bomer nearly played the Man of Steel in Brett Ratner’s never-made Superman Flyby — but Bomer is “so happy this is where it all ended up.”

“I love Larry. I love who he is, and I love who he is going to become. I love who he is in the process of becoming,” he said.

“People always say, ‘What about Superman?’ They bring it up to me, constantly, still. This character, to me, is just as, if not more, interesting than Superman. I’m really, really happy with where it landed. I think [showrunner] Jeremy Carver is a brilliant writer, and I’m constantly surprised by the writers on this project, and also by the scope of their ambition, and the fact that these production designers and special effects teams are able to make this happen, week to week.

“This is such a huge operation. I had no idea, when I signed on, just how vast it would be. I got on the set, the first day, and they had built an X-15 for me to fly and I thought, ‘Oh, sh-t, this is real. They’re really putting it all into this.’ I’m so happy to be in the DC universe still, after all of these years, and I’m so happy with the role that I landed.”

Little superhero fare is represented at the 2019 GLAAD Media Awards, which “recognize and honor media for their fair, accurate, and inclusive representations of the LGBTQ community and the issues that affect their lives.”

20th Century Fox’s Deadpool 2 is the sole superhero blockbuster nominated for Outstanding Film, while The CW’s Supergirl is nominated for Outstanding Drama Series. Also nominated for Outstanding Comic Book are DC Comics’ Batwoman and Marvel Comics’ Iceman and Runaways.

Doom Patrol is available exclusively on the DC Universe streaming service.

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