'True Blood' Star Nelsan Ellis Sounds Off On Ex Co-Star's Refusal To Play Gay
True Blood fan favorite Nelsan Ellis speaks glowingly about his latest love interest on the series, James, portrayed by Nathan Parsons ("I can't say enough about Nathan...It's easy breezy. I mean, he's a wonderful actor. I love watching him work. Love watching him work. Our first scene together, I just listened to him talk most of the time. And we have good chemistry, and it worked. It worked."), but he also opens up on the co-star that Nathan Parsons replaced, Luke Grimes.
Grimes allegedly left because he was uncomfortable with the direction "James" was going in in True Blood's final season--specifically a gay romance with Ellis's Lafayette.
Ellis speaks with New York Magazine's Vulture:
Vulture: Did you ever get a chance to talk to or bond with Luke Grimes when he was playing James, before they switched off?
I didn't, but I'm completely ... I mean, I can say I'm not going to make a comment, but I just think that, you're an actor, you're an actor on a show that's True Blood, we're all sitting there going, "You quit your job because ... really?" I'm just... I'm over him. You quit your job because you don't want to play a gay part? As if it's ... You know what? I'm going to stop talking.
That's okay. I get what you're saying. If you're going to be on True Blood, you have to be open to a lot of experiences.
You have to be open. But more importantly, you make a statement when you do something like that. I did a documentary called Damn Wonderful, about gay suicide, and you make a statement, a big statement, when you go, "I don't want to play this part because it's gay." If you have a child, if you have a son, and he comes out as gay, what are you going to do? If you have a daughter who comes out gay ...? You just made a statement, and it has ripple effects. First of all, this show, it's True Blood, and shit, we get scared when we read scripts! Excuse my language. When scripts come, we're like, "What are they going to have us do this week?" But when you make a statement that is a judgment ... I was kind of like, "Have you met Alan Ball?" I'm supposed to do what my boss tells me to do, as an actor. I can't approach a character with judgment. I certainly can't tell my boss, "I can act what I want to act, but not what you tell me to act," especially on a show where you come in, knowing what it is. I was like, "Okay... I guess?" I just thought that, having just done the documentary, I didn't like what he did because he made a statement, and sometimes you have to take responsibility.
Head over to Vulture to read Ellis's full interview. It's a great read--we already miss Lafayette and the season hasn't ended yet!
Oh and we prefer Nathan Parsons and his chemistry with Nelsan anyway!