Matt Bomer
Matt Bomer (Photo: Shutterstock)

Actor Matt Bomer says he believes he lost out on potentially playing Superman because of his sexuality.

Now 46, Bomer came out in 2012. He’s currently enjoying a heightened profile following his recent lead role in Fellow Travelers and such movies as the Oscar-nominated Maestro.

This week he took part in the Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter podcast.

In one segment, he reflects on auditioning for the role of Superman in the early 00s.

“This is a very early iteration of Superman written by J.J. Abrams, called Superman: Flyby, I think is what it was called, and it never came to light,” Bomer said.

“I went in on a cattle call for Superman, and then it turned into a one-month audition experience where I was auditioning again and again and again.

“It looked like I was the director’s choice for the role,” Bomer said.

Brett Ratner

That director was Brett Ratner. He directed the Rush Hour movies and X-Men: The Last Stand. However, his career stalled when several women made allegations against him during the initial #MeToo movement in 2017.

Ratner departed the Superman project in 2003. He issued a statement at the time saying, “I have chosen to withdraw as director of Superman. The difficulty of casting the role of Superman has contributed to my decision. I appreciate the efforts of Warner Bros. and the entire production team during this process.”

Reporting on Ratner’s departure, Variety said at the time, “The final straw for Ratner seems to have been the unwillingness of Warners execs to approve Ratner’s choice as the Man of Steel, soap star Matthew Bomer. Among the actors who tested for the role were Brendan Fraser, Paul Walker and Josh Hartnett.”

Why Bomer was not cast in the aborted movie remains unknown. Asked directly on this week’s podcast if he thinks his sexuality played a role in him losing the part, Bomer replied, “That’s my understanding.

“How, and why, and who, I don’t know, but yeah, that’s my understanding.”

Although not publicly out, Bomer’s sexuality was widely known within the industry.

Jackie Collins

At least one person has backed up Bomer’s claim. Back in 2012, the late novelist Jackie Collins appeared on the radio station Gaydio. She said she’d heard a similar story.

“Matt Bomer, who is the most gorgeous looking guy and the star of White Collar, he had not come out of the closet, but people in the know knew he was gay.

“His audition tape went in and he called up the agent and somebody didn’t like him and told [the producers] he was gay.

“The reason he didn’t get cast was because he was gay.”

Bomer issued no comment at the time, but Collins’s interview prompted speculation about the Superman casting. A Hollywood Insider shot down the claim. They told E! News, “Matt was Brett’s Superman. He would never have not cast Matt because he’s gay. Brett knew Matt was gay. They’re good friends. Matt not being Superman had nothing to do with his sexuality. It was because the director changed.”

Hmmm. Who do you believe?

The Superman franchise was later rebooted in 2006 with Bryan Singer as director and Brandon Routh in the role. However, the movie, Superman Returns, underperformed at the box office. The franchise returned in 2013 for Man of Steel starring Henry Cavill.

Although popular with fans, Cavill was controversially dropped last year and replaced with David Corenswet. He’ll make his debut in the role in a movie due out next summer.

Fortunately, losing out on the Superman role has not hampered Bomer’s career. He went on to star in the aforementioned White Collar (recently confirmed to return soon), and last year’s Fellow Travelers. The latter picked up another accolade over the weekend when it scooped a Peabody Award.

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