True Blood star Nelsan Ellis has spoken to Vulture about Luke Grimes’ decision to quit the show over a planned gay storyline for his character.
Grimes played vampire James on the HBO show – quit abruptly in December just before the show’s final seventh season, in which his character his character has a relationship with Ellis’ character – Lafayette. His role has since been recast, with Nathan Parsons taking on the part.
In an interview with Vulture, Ellis said:
“I just think that, you’re an actor. 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. You make a statement when you do something like that.
You make 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.
I’m supposed todo 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.”
Nelsan Ellis – Vulture
Luke Grimes’ publicist later claimed the actor ‘always’ had an out clause as a means of pursuing other opportunities – “it had nothing to do with storylines, which he had not been privy to at the time of that posting.”