'True Blood' actor Nelsan Ellis: Former star quit because he did - FOX 13 News

'True Blood' actor Nelsan Ellis: Former star quit because he didn't 'want to play a gay part'

Posted: Updated:

LOS ANGELES –  When Luke Grimes started on HBO’s “True Blood” last season his character James Kent was wooing a female vampire. But Grimes reportedly quit in December when he found out Kent was bisexual and starting a romantic relationship with a gay character in the seventh and final season.

Now Nelsan Ellis, the actor who plays Kent’s gay lover on the show, is speaking up -- and he’s not happy.

“You quit your job because you don’t want to play a gay part? You make a big statement when you go, ‘I don’t want to play this part because it’s gay,” Ellis told New York Magazine following the airing this week of his character’s sex scene with the new actor playing Kent. “You just made a statement, and it has ripple effects.”


You might also like...

NEW: Drones Search Archaeological Sites!!

HEALTH: 7 Hours Sleep All You Need!!

CRAZY: Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Mouth!!!

SHOCK: Bull Sharks Caught Near DC!!!!


Back in December Grimes’ rep said his departure was due to a scheduling conflict with the filming of forthcoming movies “American Sniper” and “Fifty Shades of Grey” and had nothing to do with storylines. However, HBO announced that he would be replaced by Nathan Parsons in the final season due to differences in the “creative direction of the character.”

So how hard is it for an actor to get out of a contract if they don’t feel comfortable with what their character is doing?

“Usually the production company agrees to let them out of the contract, rather than have a risk of a no-show or someone who performs badly. But the network or production company does not need to let them out of the contract,” L.A-based entertainment lawyer Julian Chan told FOX411. “They were being nice.”

Chan said that typically production companies have the freedom to tailor television scripts in whatever direction they desire, and it is only when nudity is involved that it must be written into a performer’s contract. Hollywood agent Alec Shankman says that while the specifics of each and every contract vary, “the creative direction is typically left to the directors, producers and distributors” and the “work-for-hire talent” is not usually involved in the creative consultation unless its built into their agreement.

Born and raised in a devout Christian family in Dayton, Ohio, Grimes’s father is a Pentecostal pastor and the actor attended a Christian High School. In an interview with Filler Magazine, Grimes said that while he still values the religious teachings he learned as a child, his is undecided the “modern Christian religion.”

Yet critics argue that Grimes should have known what he was getting into when he initially signed the dotted line, given that the supernatural drama – created by the openly gay Alan Ball and produced by his company in conjunction with HBO – routinely pushes the envelope when it comes to relationships.

“It’s unfortunate that an actor today would feel uncomfortable playing gay, especially on a program that has always put LGBT characters front and center,” Stacy Lambe, Associate Editor for the gay and lesbian-focused OUT Magazine said. “But Nelsan Ellis and Nathan Parsons are proof that Luke Grimes is not the norm. Grimes is the exception.”

According to some media and entertainment industry experts, being an exception not willing to have a same-sex escapades on the screen may have career consequences. Larry Gross, a professor specializing in LGBT and TV issues at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism said that in today’s climate “refusing to play a bisexual role is not a good career move.”

“It’s pretty clear Luke will suffer as a result. Hollywood will either say he was unprofessional or a phobe of some sort,” added Dan Gainor, VP of Business and Culture at the Media Research Center. “It is his prerogative, but he will suffer for it.”

HBO declined to comment, and reps for Grimes did not respond to requests for comment.

Follow @holliesmckay on Twitter.

  • Viral StoriesMore>>

  • Drones get more space to roam over Texas: FAA approves runway for unmanned aircrafts

    Drones get more space to roam over Texas: FAA approves runway for unmanned aircrafts

    Monday, September 15 2014 10:06 AM EDT2014-09-15 14:06:39 GMT
    The skies over South Texas are about to get a lot more crowded after drone researchers at a Texas university were granted more airspace to test and fly their unmanned aircraft. The Federal Aviation Administration recently approved a new range for the Lone Star Unmanned Aircraft Systems Center at Texas AM University-Corpus Christi, providing the researchers with around 290 flying days a year over mountains, high deserts, agriculture, coastal and maritime topographies, including the...
    The skies over South Texas are about to get a lot more crowded after drone researchers at a Texas university were granted more airspace to test and fly their unmanned aircraft. The Federal Aviation Administration recently approved a new range for the Lone Star Unmanned Aircraft Systems Center at Texas AM University-Corpus Christi, providing the researchers with around 290 flying days a year over mountains, high deserts, agriculture, coastal and maritime topographies, including the...
  • Kids' poisonings linked to anti-addiction medicine

    Kids' poisonings linked to anti-addiction medicine

    Monday, September 15 2014 9:31 AM EDT2014-09-15 13:31:20 GMT
    CHICAGO (AP) -- An anti-addiction drug used to fight the nation's heroin and painkiller abuse epidemics poses a threat to young children who accidentally swallow relatives' prescriptions, a federal study says. Some children have died. The study found that the drug, buprenorphine, was the adult prescription medication most commonly implicated in emergency hospitalizations of children aged 6 and younger. For every 100,000 patients prescribed buprenorphine, 200 young children were hospitalized ...
    CHICAGO (AP) -- An anti-addiction drug used to fight the nation's heroin and painkiller abuse epidemics poses a threat to young children who accidentally swallow relatives' prescriptions, a federal study says. Some children have died. The study found that the drug, buprenorphine, was the adult prescription medication most commonly implicated in emergency hospitalizations of children aged 6 and younger. For every 100,000 patients prescribed buprenorphine, 200 young children were hospitalized ...
  • Ravens fans, men and women, wear Ray Rice jerseys at Thursday night game

    Ravens fans, men and women, wear Ray Rice jerseys at Thursday night game

    Thursday, September 11 2014 11:18 PM EDT2014-09-12 03:18:32 GMT
    Music blared from the purple bus, and Baltimore Ravens fan Racquel Bailey stood with drink in hand amid her usual tailgate buddies while making a bold fashion statement: a black, rhinestone-decorated jersey with the white No. 27. A Ray Rice jersey.
    Music blared from the purple bus, and Baltimore Ravens fan Racquel Bailey stood with drink in hand amid her usual tailgate buddies while making a bold fashion statement: a black, rhinestone-decorated jersey with the white No. 27. A Ray Rice jersey.
Powered by WorldNow

FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
3213 West Kennedy Blvd.
Tampa, Florida 33609
Main: (813) 876-1313
Newsroom: (813) 870-9630
Fax: (813) 871-3135

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices