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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." 

BuzzFeed reports:

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?


Luke Grimes was on one of the most gay friendly shows on TV right now so it's hard to think he's a homophobe. If you are saying he might not wanted to be in a gay kissing scene - who cares?! As a gay man I sure as heck don't want to kiss a woman even if it's my job. Plus, there's lots of reasons to think he had no issue with homosexuality including someone who has know him that left a post. 

Don't care at all. Whether it's a sign of homophobia, a fear that "playing gay" will pigeonhole him or otherwise hurt his career, or just scheduling, he's free to do what he wants. Non-story.

His friend ^ above says hes knows him and never felt that he might have been homophobic in any way on the other hand maybe he just doesn't want to kiss/make on-screen love to a black man. Who knows!? Leave him alone he passed up a Job on a hit show. Congrats Nathan ;)

There are PLENTY of actors who have declined roles they are not comfortable with. It's his life, why can't he make that decision without backlash from the gay community? I am gay myself, but I'm getting rather tired of the gay community playing the "victim" card over and over again.

Just ignore kevheadbobbin32505, he's on here all the time seeking attention....

I know Luke personally (we went to acting school together in New York).  He's a great guy and a great actor and he never, ever expressed any homophobia the whole time I knew him.  As a gay dude myself, I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt I this one.  

What ever his reasons were for leaving the show is his business and he has every right to accept a role or decline a role. I am a gay male and couldn't care less what Grimes does with his career. I have nylufe to live as does he.

Look, vampires are bi-sexual. You're an actor. This tells me you were a homophobe. Shame. Very disappointed. 

First of all, to the poster of the "FAG" remark, It would be funny to kick your ass so you could tell everyone a fag beat your ass! Second if you're an actor, that term defines you as someone who plays fictional roles of fictional characters 99% of the time. If you are uncomfortable playing any role, you should face your challenge. If you cannot, than you are a piss poor actor! Plain and simple.

Smart move!!

We all know that when an actor plays a FAG that his career goes straight down the toilet.

Tell that to 2 time Emmy winner Chandler Massey from Days of our LIves .. TARD!

@kevdobbins35205: Definitely! Like all those other actors who ruined their careers playing a FAG, as you put it: James Franco, Jake Gyllenhall, Bradley Cooper, the goddamn Rock, Jude Law, Colin Firth, Tom Hanks, Robin Williams... Don't be a tool dude. It's 2014, the season of the douchebag is over.

If the show chose to make the character gay, bi or somewhere in between later on without his inpit, then I would agree that Luke Grimes was in the right. If he knew that that was the direction of the character all along, then he should have just passed on the role in the first place...I am gay myself and wish I was an actor.

There is no rule or understanding that an actor has to know the entire direction of his character. In the creative process with potentially multiple seasons that would be impossible unless it's the main character or if the show is based on a book and the producers and writers are following the books exactly. Writers and producers are always in process and while an actor who is playing a main character and has been doing it for awhile may offer their input if they feel the direction of the character is a poor decision, a new and small supporting character must continue to be supportive to the main character's storylines and if that involves the gay character (Lafayette in this instance), then so be it - there's no reason to limit options for the supporting role.

Funny, I thought he would have been a natural....

yeah me too pity,mabe thats why he passed on the roll

Who cares?  

There should be absolutely no offense taken here. If he's not comfortable playing the part he wouldn't play it well. One day he may regret not accepting the part but it's his option. He certainly has the right to decide what he feels is best for HIM.

Upgrade, TBH.

That's his choice and it's not our or anyone's place to judge him for that. After all, he didn't make any rude comments or go off on a rant. Anyway, all actors turn down roles for a variety of reasons, and I agree with "anonymous" above - I wouldn't want to play a make-out or sex scene with a woman.

As an actor, who happens to be gay, I find it disappointing that people cannot put personal feelings aside. Is Tom Hanks gay? No, but was incredible in Philadelphia. I've had to romantically kiss women on many occasions. It's the job.

I question an actor's ability when the place such trivial limits upon their craft... acting is an art... one's ability to portray a character has no bearing on who they are as an individual... as a professional I would think this severely limits their future... 


It's called ACTING. Plenty of str8 actors have kissed or even made out with guys and they have no problem with it--look at "Queer As Folk". A good actor would accept a role that he's uncomfortable with to prove that he can do it. European actors have no problem playing gay characters or doing gay love scenes. Why do some American actors still have an issue with it? Again--it's called ACTING!

If that IS the reason, I'm not offended at all. As a gay man, I wouldn't want to play a straight character. I wouldn't want to make out with a girl, film a sex scene with a girl, etc. I would be uncomfortable with that. Nobody would suggest that I have a problem with heterosexuality if that were the case. Yes, it IS just acting. But everyone has their comfort level and you have to respect that.

On the other hand, his publicist stated that this wasn't the reason. That could also be true. Either way, he should do what he wants.

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