Murray Bartlett: Gay Actors May Have “Upper Hand” Playing Gay Characters

Murray Bartlett "Looking"
Murray Bartlett in Looking (Photos: HBO)

Gay actor Murray Bartlett plays gay character Dom on HBO’s series Looking.  The handsome Australian actor has taken on a variety of roles in his career — including straight leading man roles. Recently he spoke with MetroSource Magazine about his currently role on Looking and he may have waded into choppy waters when he said being gay might make it easier to portray a gay man on screen.

“I think definitely, when you’re playing a role, your own personal experience that’s similar to a character’s can really help.”

Of course, if gay actors are better suited for gay parts then the corollary might also be true – that heterosexual actors are better suited for straight parts. And since there are far more hetero roles to be had, if true that would not be good news for gay actors trying to find work.

Even on Bartlett’s own show, some of his co-stars are gay (Russell Tovey, Jonathan Groff) and some are not. So does that imply the straight actors on Looking are at a disadvantage?

“Some of the straight actors do ask specifics about, ’What happens in this situation?’ or ’Where does that go?'” says Bartlett. “So we have an upper hand in some areas.”

“But I feel like the straight actors we have on this show are incredible in their ability to – regardless of gender and sexuality – really connect to the intimacy of moments they’re in.”

Scott Bakula and Bartlett in a scene from Looking

Bartlett had special words of praise for straight castmate on onscreen boyfriend Scott Bakula:

“I feel like Scott Bakula is a magic that happens on camera. He is incredibly open as an actor and came in to this role and this show with a lot of affection and generosity. … We have a really lovely rapport, and hopefully that reads.”

h/t GayStarNews