Charlie Carver, one of the actors starring in the new Netflix screen adaptation of The Boys in the Band, shares in an interview with Variety that he decided to publicly come out five years ago after being on the receiving end of a literal slap to the face for not appearing masculine in public.
According to Carver, he was attending an Emmy Awards party in 2015 when a gay colleague criticized him three times throughout the evening for how he ‘presented’ himself.
“I was told that I needed to ‘get it under control’ around people in the business,” Carver shared with Variety.
At the end of soiree, Carver ran into his friend while waiting for his car at the valet. Asking his colleague for ‘clarification’ about the earlier comments, the man slapped Carver across the face.
“It wasn’t playful but intentional, pointed and meant to be instructive. A slap,” says the actor. “I told him that if he ever touched me again, I would name him.”
While the episode was disconcerting for its physicality, Carver, who is 32-years-old today, says, “That was the moment when I said to myself, ‘I can’t do this. I cannot police myself in that way.’”
The actor, who was best known at the time for regular appearances on Desperate Housewives and Teen Wolf, came out a few months later in January 2016 via his Instagram account.
Two years later, Carver made his Broadway debut in the Tony Award-winning revival of Mort Crowley’s iconic play about gay men at a birthday party in Greenwich Village, The Boys in the Band. All of the actors in the highly-acclaimed production were openly gay/bisexual.
The entire cast was reunited, along with the production’s director Joe Mantello, by producer Ryan Murphy for the newly-released TV version of the play.
Carver stars in Boys as the hunky “Cowboy,” a hustler hired as a gift for “Harold,” the birthday boy in the story played by Zachary Quinto.
Carver is also currently appearing as a series regular in Murphy’s new psychological thriller for Netflix, Ratched, in which the handsome actor plays “Huck Finnagan,” a disfigured hospital orderly. And he’s set to appear in the upcoming The Batman alongside Robert Pattinson and Zoë Kravitz.
Carver recently told The Advocate he’s “felt this sort of sense of relaxing” into himself since coming out.
“To have kind of other champions in this business who gave me a chance, Ryan Murphy being one of them, they saw something in me and they let me be a part of it,” Carver shared. “Then opportunities led to other opportunities … I started kind of stepping into myself, and I believe when you do that, doors open.”
You can catch Carver (and all the ‘boys’) in The Boys in the Band, currently streaming on Netflix.