True Blood’s Nelsan Ellis Sounds Off On Actors Ridiculously Afraid To Play Gay

nelsan-ellis-2-sizedI 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… 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.”

Nelsan Ellis, who memorably plays the unrepentantly gay Lafayette on HBO’s True Blood, asked by Vulture about actor Lucas Grimes who left the show when he learned his character would be sexually involved with Lafayette  

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  • cformusic the real MVP!

  • enlightenone

    I couldn’t have said it better; I tried!

  • Cam

    Love him on the show, and now love him off it.

  • RIGay

    Go Nelsan! Love him!

  • ChiChi Man

    Best quote ever. I love that he says he’s not going to make a comment and the proceeds to demolish the little putz as an actor and as a sorry excuse for a human being. I was a Nelsan fan before, but now I’m a fan for life!

  • Dxley

    I don’t mean to be rude, but I don’t think anyone really cares what he thinks!

  • Stache99

    @Dxley: Ironically it’s the same we all feel about you but you still keep coming back.

  • SteveDenver

    Nelsan is FEARLESS. Lucas Grimes is chickenshit.

    I can’t remember if it’s Laramie Project or Angels In America that has a postscript in which a high school actor’s mom voices concern about him playing the part of a gay character. He points out that he was just in a Shakespeare play where he murders women and children, and she said nothing.

    Just watched the latest episode of True Blood in which Republicans — in specific Ted Cruz, George Bush and their supporters — are taken down in the most hilarious way. Grimes really missed the boat on this finale season that is proving to be the best in years.

  • SteveDenver

    @Dxley: Then WHY ARE YOU ON THIS THREAD? Do you always tune into things you’re not interested in so you can bitch about it? Put a shoe in your ass to keep your head out.

  • Stache99

    Another point was how did the poor flower Grimes take the part of a vampire that kills people for blood. Oh that’s right. It’s called acting.

    If you’re a producer of a show I seriously doubt you want to be taking a chance on someone known to talk out in the middle of a show when he doesn’t like a part. I really hope the little shit never gets work again.

  • Stache99

    @SteveDenver: The only gripe I have with last Sundays show was why do they have to cheat within 30 feet of their partner? Great ensuing drama but still..who does that?

  • lykeitiz

    @SteveDenver: The scene you’re remembering was from Laramie Project. It was a GREAT point, wasn’t it?

  • Mezaien

    You don`t have to play “GAY” man! just be yourself and play the HOMO one.

  • Mikah

    I love him,and TrueBlood would be not nearly as good without his character.Well said.

  • IcarusD

    I kept hoping that the reasons why Lucas Grimes left were being misunderstood and misreported, but it sounds like Nelsan Ellis is confirming it. :-(

  • masc4masc

    “I’m over him”? He’s just as catty/sassy as Lafayette in this interview. Sounds like someone’s just salty because he won’t be getting felt up by Grimes. If there’s any character TB can definitely do without, it’s Lafayette.

  • nevereclipsed81

    He makes a good point.. I get that actor’s ‘choice’ to not want to play gay, but he chose to play a Vampire, ( i assume) or do a show about Vampires, seemingly until he made enough money to not have to do the show anymore, and then he draws the line at gay. Please. I don’t know who he is and I don’t want to know.

  • Lefty

    I’m furious that this actor who chose not to play a gay because he was uncomfortable.
    I don’t want to make a statement or make myself out to be a saint [goes on to make a lengthy statement and paints himself as a saint at length]…

  • Lefty

    Welcome to the new gay rights movement, where we praise world leaders who send out drones to kill innocent people abroad including gays,, but we get all worked up because an actor didn’t do what he didn’t feel comfortable doing.
    We’re heres! We’re queers! We’ve got nothing going on between our ears!

  • Lefty

    Has anyone started a hashtag campaign against this horrifically homophobic actor yet?
    I think we should!
    And an e-petition demanding he be ejected from the US and sent to Homophobicstan!!!

  • Milk

    You’all got it wrong! It was not gay he’s afraid to play. He didn’t know he has to have pretend sex with a black guy! LOL!! He should just quit his acting job and start a bakery. I heard they are recruiting.

  • Cam


    And yet ANOTHER post where you have tried to attack the gay community and bring up something outside gay issues.

    If you want to discuss Ukraine, Iraq, etc… there are plenty of sites with articles on those subjects, and guess what, I bet gay people are posting on them too.

    But as with the typical troll in disguise, you try a screename that is overly obvious, you find a reason to attack the gay community, and the main point of your post is to once again, defend somebody who doesn’t like gays.

    Again, you guys need to be less obvious if you are going to keep coming on to gay sites and trying this tactic.

    • Stache99

      @Cam: Yes. The trolls name should be Righty or Rightwing wacko to be accurate.

  • Cam


    Your post was already good, your use of the word “Recruiting” made it perfect. LOL!!!

  • Cam


    LOL! Or “I’m fooling you!” ;)

  • Lefty

    @Cam: Nice of you to break my post down for the Queerty readers less intelligent than yourself! You’re always thinking of others.

  • Lefty

    @Stache99: That’s not very nice! I was trying to join in with the pack here by expressing my righteous indignation at this actor not doing what he didn’t want to be doing. I’m shaking with rage at his decision!!!

    I like to think that the main aim of the Stonewall rioters was that one day all actors would do what we – that is ver gay community – want them to do and that we would all be cheering our brave boys in hot uniforms killing swarthy people abroad in a completely non-discriminatory fashion!

  • Lefty

    @Cam: “And yet ANOTHER post where you have tried to attack the gay community…”

    No, I’m attacking the self-righteousness of the commenters here, dear. Learn to differentiate between the gay community and your own in-no-way pompous self.


  • Merv

    It’s hard not to take it personally when someone would rather quit his job than have an on-screen romance with you. I know I would take it personally. Not to mention, quitting is disruptive to the whole production. If he wasn’t willing to do this kind of scene, then he shouldn’t have taken the job in the first place. He knew what kind of series it was. It doesn’t matter if his character was straight. Other straight characters had gay scenes, if only in dream sequences.

  • Curtispsf

    Perhaps this “grimey” character just had a strong case of bottom shame. Get over your self girl and embrace your inner bottom child. Be proud…just sing “My name is Lucas…I live up on the 2nd floor..If you hear some noise at night..It’s just me I’m such a bottom whore…”

  • Cam


    No, actually what happened was, an actor made a bigoted and odd decision, people commented on it and you flew way over the top, attacked the community for bothering to talk about it, when drones were bombing the middle east, then wrote several others attacking the community. All with the express aim of deflecting attention away from the topic of Hollywood, homophobia etc….

    The typical right wing troll will always do this. Don’t blame me if your behavior is exactly the same.

  • Lefty

    @Cam: All with the express aim of deflecting attention away from the topic of Hollywood, homophobia etc….

    Oh sorry, I thought the topic was you being self-righteously pompous again.

    Can I invoke the in-no-way self-regarding ‘think about the gay children’ defense here, I wonder?
    I think we should think about the gay children!
    Namely, those poor gay kids who are so fragile that an actor (who no one actually cares about) NOT wanting to do something will be such a devastating message that one dreads to think of the effect on their lives and mental well-being.
    I would also like to rush to judgment on an issue that I have no real knowledge of and which is – quite literally – none of my business…

  • Lefty

    I like to think when the Mattachine Society was formed its aims weren’t to improve the rights for the gay community but to lay the groundwork for the real fight in the future: actors not doing stuff.

  • jabuka

    @Lefty: And here you are, instead of thinking about the atrocities of your political idol Putin, you bitch about some internet people bitching about some actor on a tv soap. I doubt Mattachine society would support a murderer such as Putin.

  • Lefty

    @jabuka: And here you are, instead of thinking about the atrocities of your idol Obama – you know the one you’re responsible for electing (unlike me with Putin tits) etc etc…

  • Cam


    See THAT’S where you expose your true agenda.

    As we all know who have seen the news reports, right wing blogs have been telling people for ages to go onto gay blogs, liberal blogs etc… and take an “Appropriate Screename”, and then proceed to pretend to be a gay person who disagrees with the current gay rights movement, or an Obama supporter who is now opposed to him.

    The fact that you in any way tried to compare Obama to Putin on gay issues exposed you even more than your phony and much too obvious screename did.

    Try again with a different screename that isn’t so obvious, my guess is you will still be simple to pick out, but it’s worth a try isn’t it?

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