Luke Grimes Left ‘True Blood’ Because He Didn’t Want to Play Gay: Report


Last Sunday’s True Blood premiere reacquainted us with Jessica’s (Deborah Ann Woll) new love interest James, a handsome fellow vampire that she’d met in southern vampire prison. Fans of the show were surprised to see the character, previously played by Luke Grimes, suddenly replaced by Nathan Parsons of Bunheads fame.

According to HBO Grimes’s departure was due to a disagreement over “the creative direction of the character.” Put frankly, Grimes was not comfortable with the not-so-subtle homoerotic storyline developing between James and Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis.)

Tumblr_n7m2aikro71qd6a26o1_250Grimes’s publicist insisted to Buzzfeed that the departure was due entirely to conflicts in the actor’s schedule with upcoming roles in 50 Shades of Grey, The Shangri-La Suite, and, American Sniper. Grimes’s team claims that he was not privy to the character’s story-arc in advance, though True Blood has a well established history of portraying its vampire characters in particular as sexually fluid and diverse.


  1. RR says

    It says more about Hollywood and the insecurity of actors who still worry about this sort of thing.

    Doesn’t mean the guy is homophobic.

    Actually, this is more gossip than news.

  2. says

    Tessie do you know where that phrase even comes from? I’ll give you a hint it’s not drag related. I ask because it’s amazing how many people are using it with no knowledge of where it’s actually from.

  3. Mike says

    He’s hot most gay men will forgive and forget about this in a couple of days.Not everyone wants to play a queen on tv,that poor guy who plays Lafayette will never work again after true blood.

  4. nativo says

    Publicists lie.

    Grimes comes from a religious background. His father’s a pastor. His religious principles didn’t stop him from taking a part in a show that has people boning outside of marriage and features at least one murder in every episode, but he’s against two guys kissing.

    The hypocrisy of these bigots is amazing.

  5. Jess says

    Derrick, I’ve never used the phrase and hadn’t particularly cared enough to inquire when others have, but now you have me curious… where is it from?

  6. Will says

    Hmm… I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt, nothing wrong with not feeling comfortable acting certain ways I suppose, but the background NATIVO mentioned does strongly suggest it could be more than that. Oh well.

  7. northalabama says

    hbo has no reason to lie, grime’s publicist has every reason to lie. my money’s with hbo.

    p.s. in the movie “friday”, felicia was a crackhead always begging for something. unless used as a joke, it’s meant to dismiss or snub someone who’s annoying or getting on your nerves. not using their real name and substituting felicia is an extra jab.

  8. northalabama says

    note to actor luke grimes: that’s why it’s called “acting”. of course, you’re not paid to act, just to stand there and look pretty, so i guess it was too much to ask.

  9. Jamie says

    @ Mike

    Oh please. If it is true that he was uncomfortable with playing a gay/bi character that he just had to leave, well I guess he ain’t much of an actor now is he. And completely unprofessional might I add, which will probably hurt him in the future. I mean, you don’t hear NPH whining about kissing girls on his show because he does what an actor is paid to do – ACT!

    There are plenty of actors who have played murderers, rapists, wife beaters, drug users, etc., and they don’t cry and quit because they are all of a sudden uncomfortable. They play the role, end of story.

    And don’t feed me that b.s. about playing gay will hurt an actor’s career. Nonsense! Plenty of actors have played gay and it never hurt their careers one bit.

  10. Mick says

    Good riddance!! The new guy Nathan Parsons, who replaced him this year, is WAY HOTTER! And, judging from last week’s performance a much better actor too.

  11. Zlick says

    Has anyone else heard stories of Nelsan Ellis complaining to the rafters about playing gay for his Lafayette role? I’ve suddenly been hearing this, but didn’t get wind of it before. (Not surprising, as I don’t follow celebrity news one bit – – but this is a gay role on a show I love, so I think I should have heard something before now if it’s true.)

    It would surprise me, because he doesn’t seem reluctant at all to go completely queeny gay for this character. If he hates playing gay, I don’t know whether to admire him for throwing himself so wildly into the role, or despise him for being such an ass.

  12. Autechre says

    Even if I believe it to be true, I find the title of this… what? fluff piece?… disgustingly spurious. Whoever wrote it should be utterly and eternally dismissed.

  13. Michael says

    His bio says that he was raised by a devout Christian family in Dayton. Fine, then let him star in Kirk Cameron films.

    As a Protestant musician, namely one for churches, should I refuse to play a wedding because the bride wants Schubert’s “Ave Maria.” It’s the nature of the profession, dude… Deal with it.

  14. Jere says

    I see no issue with an actor choosing to not continue in a role for any reason at all. There is always someone else looking for a job who will be happy to take over. In fact, if there are any actors out there who are unhappy with their current roles for ANY reason, please put your producers in touch…I’m happy to jump in and replace you. In this particular case, I had to look up the actor and the role to remember who he was, so it’s no great loss.

  15. Critifur says

    I thought it was kind of odd that suddenly the character was hinting he was gay, and I suddenly thought that that could have been why Luke quit the part. However, this article is not news or a “report”, it is just hearsay, with no actual quotes or sources at all. It all seems to be as much a guess by Mr. Pulliam-Moore as mine was. SMH

  16. I wont grow up says

    This guy has every right to pick and choose the roles he plays. Hollywood is still a very homophobic place despite what they claim. Actors still face discrimination even after all these years. It’s not as bad as the Rock Hudson days but it is still very subtly there.

  17. Daniel says

    If an actor is uncomfortable playing gay (or, having someone graphic sex scenes) they should not take a role on True Blood.

    Derrick, I don’t get your point. If it’s not drag related no one can say it? Or, are you just trying to seem like you’re smarter than the rest of us?

  18. robroy says

    Ehh- noy sure I buy it. Because signing on for True Blood basically means you have a 70-80% chance of ending up naked, gay, dead or in an adulterous situation. So why would someone looking to be in strictly Christian approved settings even look at a part in the show?

  19. Gigi says

    @MIKE re: “…that poor guy who plays Lafayette will never work again after true blood.” Ya. Look how Brokebscl Mountain “ruined” Jake Gyllenhaal’s career.

  20. PlaidCat says

    20 years ago my reaction would have been to scream “homophobe” and wish Grimes ill. Now though, it just doesn’t bother me. If he isn’t comfortable doing the kissy-kissy with guys, well, good for him to know his boundaries. Being an actor doesn’t mean you are automatically able and willing to suspend all personal sensibilities and whore yourself for a part. Do we demand every actor perform graphic sex on camera? Or pose with Campari? Or light up a bong in a scene? Nothing wrong with any of these, but people get to have their sensibilities.

    Then it hit me – I’m a gold-star Kinsey 6, and I feel psychologically and physically uncomfortable making out with a woman! (Haven’t attempted this in decades though.) If I was an actor, would *I* do it? Could I make it believable while trying to hold back the bile (literally)? Heck no.

    And this is part of the LGBT credo also, to educate others so that they stop trying to force us to be something we are not, and to stop discriminating against us (and worse) if we do not comply. I’m also no longer interested in telling other gay/bi folk that they have to come out. They get to choose. I’m not going to hold Grimes to a different standard. He ends his contract, forfeits future pay and exposure – his choice. I can only ask that he bring his best self to bear and do it with some grace and accept personal responsibility. But hey, throw publicists and production companies in the mix, and we may never hear the truth.

  21. Mousie says

    “that poor guy who plays Lafayette will never work again after true blood.”

    Are you kidding? That character ROCKS. He’s totally selling it!

  22. PlaidCat says

    Well. Gosh darn. Now I’ve talked myself into a corner as I write stream-of-consciousness. If I think it is okay for Grimes (and me) to turn down a part that requires physically acting sexual to some degree with someone, contrary to my sexual orientation, how is that different from the recent “I don’t bake wedding cakes for gays” declarations? Maybe because acting/behaving as a gay person – or straight person – is so much more intimate an experience than baking a cake for a couple? Where’s the dividing line?

    I’m aware my posts sound trollish, but for me this is a genuinely curious question about this continuum, and when we get to say no and set a boundary.

  23. PlaidCat says

    Got it! (I think.) One has to do with the employee/employer contract. If there was a misunderstanding, misrepresentation, or if something substantive changed, those can be grounds for re-negotiating or ending employment. The other has to do with selling goods and services in the public marketplace – no one gets to say “we don’t serve your kind here.”

  24. Pt says

    I didn’t even realize it was a different actor, so I guess I’ll recover. The show sucks, but still I watch out of some misguided loyalty to the first seasons, but there hasn’t really even been decent moments like there used to be. Lat thing I remember laughing at was the ‘thank you Jesus’ after killing the Japanese lady with the high heel.

  25. Anony6 says

    LMAO @ how replaceable and forgettable these righteous actors can be. I didn’t even notice it was a new actor playing the character, and im not mad because the new guy is hotter and comes off as more interesting. The change is deinitely an improvement for the show. Maybe Grimes can join the actors who star in the hit show duck dynasty, at least he’d be comfortable and among friends, to hell with the acting.

  26. antisaint says

    @PLAIDCAT – Acting is a job. If you were working at your job and your boss asked you to do something you didn’t want to do but that was within his or her rights, you could quit, right? Same difference.

    I don’t think it’s big enough of a deal to get concerned about even if that turns out to be true, and for the same reason. He’s allowed to not want to do something. Some actors won’t get naked, some won’t do sex scenes, some won’t use certain four-letter words or worse — Nicole Kidman refused to say the N-word in the movie ‘The Paperboy,’ for example, and she likely would have walked if it was non-negotiable. And I’d rather see an actor that down to play that character play that character than to see anyone being forced to do something they don’t want to.

  27. apex says

    Besides the blatant pandering to the gay community, the show has really jumped the shark. I don’t think that being involved with True Blood will help anyone’s career at this point. He probably made a judgement call, and the producers are bitter about it.

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