Luke Macfarlane has revealed that he has missed out on roles because of his sexuality.
The actor came out as gay in 2008 in an interview with The Globe and Mail, the same year that his beloved character Scotty Wandell tied the knot with Kevin Walker (Matthew Rhys) on Brothers & Sisters.
In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, Macfarlane revealed that he was unable to secure roles after the ABC drama ended in 2011.
“I can literally remember an agent once saying to me, ‘Superman can’t be gay’—like just straight out,” said the star, who initially wanted to act in blockbusters such as G.I. Joe and the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
“I do remember being frustrated, seeing other actors and straight guys my age—and I never want to make it about that, but—thinking, Why are they getting [the parts]? Why am I not getting them?” he recalled.
“The post–Brothers & Sisters moment was scary, for sure. I was like, ‘Dude, I’m the perfect age for this stuff.’ And it wasn’t clicking, for whatever reason.”
Billy Eichner, his love interest in the upcoming romantic comedy Bros, told the publication: “No one calls you and says, ‘We found out you’re gay so we’re not casting you.’
“But my gut feeling is that he didn’t get nearly the amount of opportunities that he should have and that he deserved [what] a straight actor with his look and his qualifications and his training and his exposure was getting at the time.”
When asked about the topic of actors playing roles that don’t align with their sexuality, Macfarlane said he has “not arrived on an opinion”.
“On one level, I’m here because of the commitment by the studio and Billy and Nick and [producer] Judd [Apatow] to cast me, but also, I don’t like telling anybody that they’re not allowed to play something,” he explained.
“I’m so excited to see Leonard Bernstein played by Bradley Cooper. I can’t think of another person I’d like to see do that.”
Written by Eichner with Nick Stoller (Neighbors), with the latter also directing the film, Bros has been billed as the first gay rom-com to be produced by a major Hollywood studio with an almost entirely LGBTQ+ principal cast.
The film also stars Jim Rash, Bowen Yang, Guillermo Díaz, Ts Madison, Miss Lawrence, Harvey Fierstien, Symone and Benito Skinner.
Macfarlane plays Aaron, “a gay Tom Brady” who becomes romantically involved with Eichner’s character, Bobby Lieber, a semi-famous person with an “eclectic portfolio of media-centric jobs” who has a successful podcast about LGBTQ+ history and has written children’s books that incorporate queer issues.
“Romantic comedies really live and die based on the chemistry of the two central characters and the main couple,” Eichner told Vanity Fair of Macfarlane’s casting. “No matter how good the script is, you need that chemistry there. Right off the bat, there was something special between me and Luke.”
In a prior interview with GAY TIMES, the Emmy-nominated actor said it was crucial for the dialogue in Bros to reflect how he and his queer circle interact in everyday life, by depicting gay people as “funny, sad, lonely, extremely confident, messy, brave horny and hypocritical adult human beings”.
“We so rarely see that, so it was really important to me,” he explained. “I said to Nick from the very beginning, ‘This has to be authentic. I’m not doing it unless we’re telling, of course I want it to be funny, but it has to feel real and grounded.’”
Eichner, who had never written a film before Bros, said he was “worried at the beginning” of the creative process that he “didn’t have anything to say” about the gay community.
“I didn’t know what the story of the movie would be, then it was one of those crazy things – and maybe you get this as a writer – where all of a sudden, you’re obligated to write something so you sit down, stare at the blank page. Turns out, I had so much to say!” he added.
“I realised that we are just so hungry as LGBTQ+ people, as gay men, to see accurate, multi-dimensional and genuinely funny and genuinely smart depictions of ourselves that we don’t get.”
Bros is due for release 28 October in the UK.
Watch the trailer here or below.