Jeremy Pope Opens Up About Leaving a Lead Movie Role for Being Gay

Jeremy Pope is famously known for being the sixth person in history to earn two Tony Award acting nominations in different categories in the same year for his performance in the 2018 Broadway show Choir Boy, which just so happens to be his Broadway debut.

The journey towards his currently thriving career hasn’t been a walk in the park though. In an interview with Variety, the 30-year-old actor and singer opened up about how he decided to walk away from a major movie project after being told that he couldn’t connect with a female character because he is gay.


“The short version is: I’d been given an opportunity to lead a studio film. And even though I didn’t love the script, it meant something. But it was one of those things that would get me in the conversations, get me in front of directors and people at studios. As people know, that is currency and helps where the comma on your check goes and the opportunities you’re given,” he shared.

Pope continued,

“But I got into an interesting conversation with the director where he basically said I didn’t have the ability to connect with a female character because I was gay. In the moment, I was negotiating how to defend myself. But at the end of the day, that spoke so much more to where he was at and his journey in life versus who I am or what I know I bring to a project.”

The actor recalled that there was a point at the time that he had to choose whether or not he was going to walk away from the project for himself. In the end, he decided to leave, expressing:


“So it was the first time where I go, ‘Am I going to say no? Am I going to leave this?’ And I had to choose myself and serve myself and say I can’t be in an environment that doesn’t support and pour into me the way I’m going to support and pour into it. I’ve spent many years doing a lot of really great projects, usually that don’t pay you much, but it’s because people are honest and open and vulnerable and they’re there to take care of the art.”

It ended up working for the best though because right after his decision to leave the major movie project, he received a call from A24 about his first lead role in the 2022 film ‘The Inspection,’ which received positive reviews, as well as earned him nominations from the Independent Spirit Awards and Golden Globes.


“So I had to say ‘eff that energy’ because it’s going to take too much from me. And literally in that same breath of knowing that don’t serve me is when the phone rang and it was ‘A24 wants to have this conversation about ‘The Inspection.’’ It was like I had to be tested to really know my worth and affirm myself. This is exactly where I’m supposed to be. So it was just I had to go through that and understand my worth and my existence and how I want to show up in this business and what I’m willing to tolerate and not tolerate. So I think, like I said, life has to do life’s thing,” Pope expressed, serving some very important life lesson on valuing self-worth. <3

After his 2018 Broadway debut in Choir Boy, ‘The Inspection’ star is back on the Broadway stage, playing the role of Jean-Michel Basquiat in the show The Collaboration.


3 thoughts on “Jeremy Pope Opens Up About Leaving a Lead Movie Role for Being Gay”

  1. It sucks that this still happens. Even if Hollywood deem themselves as accepting of LGBTQ actors, many pull homophobic stunts. That’s why it’s important to hire LGBTQ actors for queer roles since there are so few and to be more open for them to play straight characters.


Leave a Comment