Andrew Rannells | I'm Gay | News | Television | Theatre

Andrew Rannells: 'I am Gay in Real Life'


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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  1. "The New Normal" - I despise the title but will give it a try because I loved Andrew Rannells in "The Book of Mormon". My hope is that they don't turn out like the gay couple on "Modern Family" - if ever there 15 a need to refresh ones memory of gay stereotypes you would only have to look at Cameron and Mitchell. I tried repeatedly to watch the much heralded and critically acclaimed "Modern Family" yet can't get past all of the cartoonish stereotypes - the hot tempered full figured Gloria who mangles the English language, the slightly homophobic old man over compensating for luck in scoring a trophy wife, the gay couple who obsess over the flower arrangements and virtually everything else, etc. etc. etc. I want to see gay characters that don't come across like Jack McFarland (Will & Grace) - oh how I miss Kevin & Scotty from "Brothers & Sisters".

    Posted by: ThomT | May 31, 2012 11:07:24 AM

  2. Since this show has nothing remotely to do with most American's normal reality, I can see it canceling quickly. Ryan Murphy's pomposity to create "The New Normal" reeks of unreality. "Glee" must have deluded him into believing he was the second coming when it came to molding, creating and shaping the gay image for television. What would appear to be so cutting edge,is simply his unleashing of his latest gay brain fart. If it flops it will do more harm than good. Wouldn't that be refreshing -- the possibility of a realistic gay drama.

    Posted by: Gary | Jun 10, 2012 1:12:33 AM

  3. Great story and interview. Just one gripe, Towleroad - and this seems to happen with some frequency with your posts: would it be too much trouble to caption the pics if there is more than one person pictured?

    I know, some of us are not as up to date with cable shows, and RJ posted that Rennels is the guy on the left, but the picture of him in the linked article looks like the guy on the RIGHT. Please clarify.

    Posted by: JOHNt5534 | Jul 23, 2012 11:35:19 PM

  4. MIKE: you hit the nail on the head. Ryan Murphy has great ideas, interesting premises, terrific pilots... but it all goes quickly pear-shaped. Time and time again, character is sacrificed for plot twists in his shows.

    Posted by: Waynesf | Sep 11, 2012 12:38:12 PM

  5. I forgot to mention he's also a great guy!!


    Posted by: Alan Brickman | Sep 15, 2012 1:08:16 PM

  6. Who cares? It's his co-star, that is a HOT man.

    Posted by: M. Scott Hernandez | Sep 16, 2012 7:38:00 PM

  7. He basically says it himself - he didn't come out because he was never not out. It was widely known in NYC theatre community that Andrew is gay and, as with many in the entertainment field it simply wasn't an issue. Randalls was terrific in "The Book of Mormon" and the only down side to his casting in "The New Normal" is that America won't get to hear him sing. I'm not a big fan of sit-coms but I'll give this one a fair shot and hope that it's a hige success regardless of my own personal opinion.

    Posted by: ThomT | Sep 16, 2012 8:21:20 PM

  8. NO MATTER HOW SILLY THE PILOT SEEMED ---------------------
    -- really illustrating the hurt of public insult of Gay folks

    Posted by: Bob | Sep 19, 2012 2:45:44 AM

  9. Anyone else feel uncomfortable with the title of the show? The New Normal? Does anyone else feel like that means it was not normal before and we have to make a "new normal" to make it okay? I don't like that. Seems clumsy.

    Posted by: Josh | Sep 29, 2012 6:53:17 AM

  10. My husband, Jim Brochu, also sang and danced at that Broadway Backwards with Andrew Rannells. He is the sweetest guy imaginable. I think he even kissed us on the lips. He's just so very talented. It's thrilling to have him on TV. And I love the new show. That last episode with all the political speeches was boring as hell, but any show with a 9 yr old who imitates Little Edie from Grey Gardens is my kind of show.

    Posted by: Steve Schalchlin | Oct 3, 2012 8:45:43 AM

  11. My sister watched Rannells in the new TV series and called me to ask why anyone would still mimic such an offensive stereotype today.

    'Nuff said.

    Posted by: Guy | Oct 6, 2012 4:55:53 AM

  12. Andrew Rannells gave my husband and I one of the most incredible theatre experiences of our longish lives. We were able to see him in the lead role in The Book Of Mormon at the Eugene O'Neill theater in Sept of 2011. He was spectacular! The whole cast and production was so funny and touching that I count it up there in our top theatre experiences. So proud of him as a "family member".

    Posted by: jeff | Oct 18, 2012 7:10:11 PM

  13. @WayneSF: Ditto.

    Posted by: Michaelj | Oct 23, 2012 2:30:41 PM

  14. Looks like all the steers and queers came to post about how gay they are. I love vaginas! (lick lick lick) :P

    Posted by: Mike Hunt | Mar 27, 2013 7:10:26 AM

  15. He's the gay one in real life? Would never had suspected. He would make a good Darren, if they brought back "Bewitcthed".

    Posted by: Edward | Mar 28, 2013 5:43:06 PM

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