Matt Bomer reveals he lost Superman role due to sexuality: "That's my understanding."

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12 Jun 2024, 12:11

Credit: Getty/Warner Bros

Actor Matt Bomer opens up about losing the Superman role in the early 2000s and he believes it was due to being gay, shedding light on the industry's past prejudices.

In a revelation that could rival any plot twist in the Superman saga, actor Matt Bomer has shared that he lost the opportunity to don the iconic red cape and tights of Superman because of his sexuality.

On The Hollywood Reporter's Awards Chatter podcast, Bomer candidly discussed how being gay may have cost him the role of the Man of Steel.



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"That's my understanding," Bomer said when asked if his sexuality played a part in him losing the part.

"How, and why, and who, I don't know, but yeah, that's my understanding."

The Emmy-nominated and Golden Globe-winning actor, known for his roles in Fellow Travelers and White Collar, reflected on the industry's climate at the time, stating: "That was a time in the industry when something like that could still really be weaponised against you."

Bomer's brush with superhero fame dates back to the early 2000s with a project titled Superman: Flyby, penned by none other than J.J. Abrams.

This version of Superman never saw the light of day, but Bomer's journey through the audition process was intense.

"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," Bomer recounted. He even signed a three-film contract with Warner Bros.

The project initially had Brett Ratner at the helm, a director whose career later hit a nosedive due to multiple allegations of sexual misconduct during the MeToo movement.

Bomer was Ratner's top choice for the role, but Ratner departed in March 2003, citing the difficulty in casting Superman.

"I have chosen to withdraw as director of Superman. The difficulty of casting the role of Superman has contributed to my decision," Ratner stated at the time.

Entertainment Weekly and Variety reported that studio executives were reluctant to cast Bomer after actors like Josh Hartnett and Paul Walker turned down the role.

The studio reportedly had Brendan Fraser in mind for the high-profile part instead.

The timeframe of the scuttled film was less than a decade before Bomer publicly came out as gay in 2012.

Novelist Jackie Collins later confirmed the impact of Bomer's sexuality on the decision, saying: "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."

She continued to tell Gaydar Radio in 2012: "His audition tape went in, and he called up the agent, and somebody didn't like him and told [the producers] he was gay. They said, 'No, no, we can't cast you.' The reason he didn't get cast was because he was gay."

An insider later told E! News that the director change, not Bomer's sexuality, was the reason he lost the role.

"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," the source said.

Bomer didn't completely miss out on his Superman moment, though. He voiced the superhero in the 2013 animated film Superman: Unbound, sharing the screen with voices like Stana Katic, John Noble, and Diedrich Bader.

The Superman: Flyby project saw several directors come and go, with McG replacing Ratner in 2004, only to leave shortly after.

McG tested actors such as Jared Padalecki, Jason Behr, and a young Henry Cavill, who would eventually land the role in the 2013 film Man of Steel.

Ultimately, Bryan Singer, whose career also faced significant controversy, took the reins and directed the 2006 film Superman Returns, starring Brandon Routh.

Reflecting on this chapter of his career, Bomer’s story serves as a reminder of Hollywood's rocky journey towards inclusivity and acceptance.

While the cape may have slipped through his fingers, Bomer continues to soar in his career, proving that sometimes, real-life heroes don't need superpowers to make a difference.