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Andrew Rannells: 'I am Gay in Real Life'

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Andrew Rannells, star of Book of Mormon and the upcoming The New Normal, talks to Vulture about his role in the HBO series Girls, and talks candidly about his sexuality with regard to his Girls character Elijah, the gay ex-boyfriend of Girls character Hannah:

I am gay in real life, so I definitely get it. But it’s not my story — I wasn’t closeted for any amount of time. I never had a girlfriend who I had that experience with. It’s less that Elijah knew he was gay and continued to date Hannah anyway and more that he wasn’t ready to admit to himself that he was gay. I think that’s probably the more common thing, particularly with young homosexuals. Coming out can be super super complicated, especially when it comes to families and friends —and if you already have a girlfriend, what does that mean for her? I hope that changes over time, but coming is very personal and everybody obviously has to do it in their own time. So, no, I don’t think he did anything bad.

Vulture follows up by asking Rannells if he feels a special investment in gay characters he plays?

Well, there’s a part of me that would say I treat every character in the same way — to be as honest as possible with every role. But then, as a gay man, I think there’s a responsibility to show a fully realized person, so even though Elijah might not be the the best person in the world, I want to make him as fully fleshed out and human as possible. Because chances are he’s gonna represent somebody who’s a real person. With The New Normal, I feel even a larger responsibility because it’s sort of a new idea for a lot of viewers and Americans, to see Justin Bartha and I play this very much in love couple who just wants to have a baby. We’re telling that story for the first time, in a way, for a lot of people, so I think there’s a lot of responsibility there.

Is this the first time that Rannells has spoken publicly about being gay, as our tipster tells me? Was there just another casual coming out? Some of you readers can no doubt point us to it if so.

Read the full interview here.

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Comments

  1. Just like Quinto, Bomer and Parsons, many of us were in the know that Rannells was one of the family.

    But it is still a big deal for the general (straight) population to know as well, so they all deserve a thank you for making it known to everyone.

    Posted by: Blake | May 30, 2012 10:57:53 AM


  2. For purely base reasons alone, I am looking forward to this show. I've had a 'thing' for Justin Bartha for years, and the idea of watching him weekly play a gay guy just gives me the warm and fuzzies.

    I hope there will be affection displayed And between Bartha and Rannells.

    I know... tacky.. Sue me. heh

    Posted by: theotherlee | May 30, 2012 11:09:23 AM


  3. I was a little scared reading in the interview about how his character 'maybe isn't the best person.'

    There's a fine, fine line between 'maybe not the best person' and someone who basically comfirms every homophobe's suspicions are about what it means for gay people to want to raise a family.

    I hope Ryan Murphy knows what he's doing.

    I don't want these two characters to be neutered and boring, but ultimately they have to be heart warming and the kind of people that we watch every episode, knowing they'll make good parents when that baby is born.

    Maybe I shouldn't be worried, but this is a powerful opportunity here to not only entertain, but to make everyone see that gay families are ultimately the same as any other kind.

    So, hopefully the entertainment focuses more on real-life issues and real-life characters, and not Sue-Sylvester-like scheming from his character.

    Posted by: Ryan | May 30, 2012 11:19:09 AM


  4. @theotherlee... No, I quite understand what you're saying. I find both of them attractive, and yes, they actually look like a genuine couple.

    Now, give me good chemistry, and a display of affection, and I'll be a devoted viewer.

    Posted by: JAMES in Toronto | May 30, 2012 11:21:57 AM


  5. @RYAN His character in Girls was the "questionable" one, not his character in The New Normal, so there is no need to fear Ryan Murphy, yet!

    Posted by: Blake | May 30, 2012 11:24:07 AM


  6. I can attest that statements about his sexual orientation have been added to his Wikipedia article in the past, but they were never properly sourced and were consequently removed. That said, I don't know whether that's because he's never actually stated it in the media before this, or because people just weren't bothering with proper sourcing (which is always an issue on Wikipedia even when legitimate sources do exist.)

    It's there now, though, sourced to this interview.

    Posted by: Craig S | May 30, 2012 11:27:35 AM


  7. I hope that changes over time, but coming is very personal and everybody obviously has to do it in their own time. So, no, I don’t think he did anything bad.

    Somewhere in there, the word "OUT" is missing.

    Posted by: Edd | May 30, 2012 11:29:43 AM


  8. @ Ryan: "I hope Ryan Murphy knows what he's doing."

    Don't worry, RM will ruin this show. Nobody can ruin a show in less than three episodes like RM can. Glee...American Horror Story...

    Just wait.

    Posted by: Mike | May 30, 2012 11:30:00 AM


  9. Ummm...Duh?....The fact he thought he had to spell it out shows a certain dislusionment of certain queeny gays....Sean Hayes for the win...

    Posted by: Alan Brickman | May 30, 2012 11:33:02 AM


  10. funny, i thought glee and american horror story were both wildly popular and seemed to be remaining so.

    Posted by: bandanajack | May 30, 2012 11:35:41 AM


  11. Ryan Murphy shows go like this. Amazing 1st year. 2nd year sucks. 3rd year small creative rebound. And then it's downhill from there.

    It's happens over and over again.

    Posted by: CB | May 30, 2012 11:48:02 AM


  12. Anyone who's a serious Pokémon fan knows he's gay. Search YouTube for clips from the anime for the character Harley he voiced before he made it big on Broadway.

    Posted by: joe c | May 30, 2012 12:04:54 PM


  13. Well, he certainly indicated his sexual orientation in an interview with Susan Blackwell four months ago:

    http://www.broadway.com/buzz/159464/watch-mormon-star-andrew-rannells-fantasize-about-hugh-jackman-and-channel-toddlers-tiaras-on-side-by-side-by-susan-blackwell/

    Posted by: Scot Colford | May 30, 2012 12:09:25 PM


  14. He is perfection. This was not a coming out, but at the Broadway Backwards benefit for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS--in which male and female performers sing songs written for the opposite sex while leaving the he's and she's in the lyrics intact--he sang the torch song from the Broadway version of Funny Girl, "His Is the Only Music That Makes Me Dance":

    http://youtu.be/kGqQAmvHqBs

    Posted by: Jeff NYC | May 30, 2012 12:14:50 PM


  15. talented, sweet as pie, and a proud visible member of our community.

    three cheers :)

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | May 30, 2012 12:25:28 PM


  16. There is something in the interview that I find particularly interesting and gratifying. The fact that he states that he was never really "in" the closet. It seems that we're well into the first generation of "post closet" gays. Meaning all these kids in there 20s that have just always been out, there was no big drama, they've just always lived their lives openly gay. Sure there were individuals in the past who bravely did this, but for guys my age (42) and older coming out was a necessary and usually messy right of passage. (In my own opinion of course). I love that these kids are just already out.

    Posted by: Craig | May 30, 2012 12:47:28 PM


  17. This was not a coming out, so much as it was an acknowledgement that, until recently, no one outside the New York theatre community had ever heard of Andrew Rannells. He has been out and about in New York for years and no one cared, because, well, no one does here. But, now that Rannells is heading to television and becoming known on a wider scale, he's now doing more media interviews and the subject was bound to come up sooner or later.

    Posted by: Jere | May 30, 2012 12:50:30 PM


  18. The marketability of openly gay actors has never really been tested, because producers, etcetera do not allow them to be cast in significant roles.

    At least Ryan Murphy, who has some clout (in the television world), is willing to test openly gay actors with viewers.

    So maybe ZQ, MB, JP & AR will never have massive mainstream movie careers, which would be very unfortunate, but sadly a real possibility, but hopefully they will have a home on television.

    Posted by: Blake | May 30, 2012 1:38:01 PM


  19. "...coming is very personal and everybody obviously has to do it in their own time."

    Interesting typo there! :-)

    Posted by: Pervy McPerv | May 30, 2012 1:41:57 PM


  20. Love him on Girls. I wish him success with the Ryan Murphy sitcom, but hope it doesn't mean he won't be able to recur on Girls next season.

    Posted by: Scottevill | May 30, 2012 1:42:19 PM


  21. Some of us are so irredeemably unhip that we don't know what Andrew Rannells looks like. Which one is he?

    Posted by: Mort | May 30, 2012 2:16:07 PM


  22. For those who are unaware, Girls is a Judd Apatow comedy.

    Posted by: Sam | May 30, 2012 2:47:01 PM


  23. He took a male date to the Tonys the year he was up. Seemed pretty out to me at the time. Why does there have to be a press conference or a tweet? Just the mention in normal conversation that one is gay as seems appropriate at the moment and in te course of the questioning is great. It makes his gayness what it should be, just a normal part of existence.

    And he's damn cute to boot!

    Posted by: David | May 30, 2012 3:46:58 PM


  24. Mort, Google is your friend. ;)

    In any case, Rannells is the guy on the left in the above photo.

    Posted by: RJ | May 30, 2012 3:49:19 PM


  25. He was on Watch What Happens Live a while ago, and I'm pretty sure he was open about being gay.

    Posted by: Brian | May 30, 2012 8:50:11 PM


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