Did Luke Grimes Leave 'True Blood' Because He Refused To Play Gay?
We were certainly disappointed back in January when we learned that True Blood vamp Luke Grimes would be leaving the show citing "creative differences" and that his role would be recast.
The role is now being portrayed by actor Nathan Parsons--but based on last Sunday's premiere episode we had a sneaking suspicion as to what those "creative differences" may have been that sent Grimes packing and now they've apparently been confirmed by BuzzFeed.
For those that haven't watched the Season 7 premiere of True Blood yet, it appears that "James," the character previously portrayed by Grimes and now by Parsons, is about to get embark on some gay loving with Lafayette (played by Nelsan Ellis)--a bit of a turn from his Season 6 romance with Deborah Ann Woll's "Jessica."
When Luke Grimes suddenly left the show in December, HBO attributed his decision to “the creative direction of the character.” But now that James’ Season 7 storyline is becoming clear — a budding romance with Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis) — a source close to the show confirms that Grimes left because he was uncomfortable playing a gay character.
To be clear, James, who is now played by Bunheads’ Nathan Parsons, hasn’t yet done the deed with Lafayette. But there were heavy hints in the June 22 season premiere, and the storyline is headed in that direction. According to the source, Grimes objected to the first few scripts he received, once it became clear that his character would become romantically involved with Lafayette. He countered that he would be willing to play the role if Lafayette were attracted to him, but not if the attraction was mutual. He also did not want to do any same-sex kissing or sex scenes. The writers were unwilling to change the scripts on his behalf.
Grimes' publicist denies that the gay romance was behind his exit:
Grimes’ publicist, Craig Schneider, says the actor’s exit from True Blood was always a matter of scheduling. In an email to BuzzFeed, he wrote, “Luke always had an out clause as a means of pursuing other opportunities which arose in the form of features beginning with The Shangri-La Suite, followed by Fifty Shades of Grey, and most recently, Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper with Bradley Cooper.” In a subsequent phone call, Schneider continued, “It had nothing to do with storylines, which he had not been privy to at the time of that posting,” referring to the Dec. 30 TVLine story.
BuzzFeed, however, cites a source to True Blood who claims Grimes problems with the show were very much based on his character moving in a decidedly gay direction:
According to the source close to True Blood, writers and cast members were baffled and angered by Grimes’ reluctance to take James in a same-sex direction, especially since True Blood has always been an overtly sexual show with heavy LGBT undertones. Despite the scramble to recast the part, the writers and cast are pleased with Parsons’ performance, and believe he’s a good fit for the role of James.
We'd have to agree. Parsons' transition into the role was quite seamless and it sounds like he's game for anything. If the allegations against Grimes are true, it's a pity because we liked him in the role--both for his looks and his talent. It's unfortunate that a same-sex romantic storyline would cause such distress.
What's your take, Instincters?