Raul Castillo has already amassed a fervent queer fan base with his role as Richie on HBO’s Looking, and now he is playing the role of Paps in the new film We the Animals, based on the beloved novella by Justin Torres.
Castill recently sat down with NewNowNext to discuss the film, meeting his gay fans, and what he thinks happened to Patrick (Jonathan Groff) and Richie after the Looking movie.
We the Animals is regarded as one of the best LGBT books to be released in recent years, but you already went into this film with a big fan base in the queer community because of Looking. While filming that series did you feel pressure because there were so few TV shows about gay people?
Absolutely. We talked about that a lot among the cast and crew. There were a lot of expectations on the show. I think if it had come out this year or last year it would be received completely different. A lot of people celebrate it, and continue to celebrate it. I love running into Looking fans because they always project onto me their feelings about Richie. That character I think represented autonomy, and self assuredness, and all of these qualities that LGBT people don’t get to see themselves as on screen enough. Richie in particularly was self assured and confident, and people needed to see that.
Did you see the Richie pin that was available at the HBO pop-up space in Provincetown this summer?Richie lives on!
[Laughs] Yeah! A friend sent a picture of it to me! My girlfriend texted our friend who was in Ptown asking if they could grab one for her.
So I’m assuming you were team Richie…
Do you think Richie and Patrick would have lasted?
At the end of the day I’m a complete romantic, and I would want to believe that Richie and Patrick continued to push each other to deeper levels of intimacy. I think they drove Richie’s barber truck to Texas and started a life there together. I remember [Looking executive producer] Andrew Haigh joking he wanted to do just a whole movie about Richie and Patrick in Mexico because we had such a good time shooting their date episode during the first season. Filming that was a really intimate and special experience.
What’s it like meeting your gay fans since Looking ended and now with We the Animals about to come out?
The thing that it has taught me is that we, I mean the LGBT community, because by proxy I associate myself with the community, are everywhere. So when I go to small towns, like San Antonio, and a young Latino kid says “I loved you on Looking” to me it speaks to the importance of these stories, and it’s so exciting to see that We the Animals is starting to play in all of these little cities. I hope the Looking fans learn to love We the Animals as much as I did. I hope they think we did justice to the book.
We the Animals opens in select cities August 17, for more info head on over to the film’s website, and you can see Castillo next in the second season of Starz’s Vida.