Jack Falahee, who plays Connor Walsh on the hit ABC drama television series How to Get Away with Murder, offered up some reflections as the show wrapped up its third season and after he posed for some chest-baring shots for Fault magazine in its most recent issue.
While the 28-year-old Falahee admits to enjoying some attention, he is the first to point out that “I’m a sex symbol with the help of great makeup and lighting experts making me look a certain way on TV and magazines.” He also sounded a note of caution with respect to the experiences of women: “I’ve been discussing it with the women close to me. I obviously can never understand how women can go through life that way [being objectified] but I can see a glimpse of what that experience might feel like and it’s not a nice one.” Still, “nine times out of ten, it’s all good fun.”
The character of Connor Walsh, who is gay and has an HIV-positive boyfriend, has “100% open[ed his] eyes to the LGBTQ struggle and I can’t stress that enough,” Falahee explained to Fault. He identifies as straight, something he had only clarified directly because of the 2016 election result, and also as an avowed LGBTQ ally:
I’m still not over how the much of an impact the show has made and a lot of that is Connor’s character and his importance to fans. It’s emblematic of my straight privilege, but I never thought his character would be so important to the LGBTQ community. When the finale came out and [insert significant plot point here!], seeing the Twitter reaction was so overwhelming and I was just overjoyed at how meaningful the character is to people.
Going into this, it was never written on the page that “Connor Walsh is a homosexual,” so when it came to the first love scene I just thought, “Wow, this guy is willing to do whatever it takes to get ahead” and now I know that was the heteronormativity in my mind back then that was rationalizing this whole aspect of his character.
It wasn’t until [series creator] Pete Nowalk was like “Oh no, Connor is gay” that I’ve been really trying to become a student of the history of LGBTQ rights and learning more about the struggle of those in the past and in the present day. I asked Pete and my friends for a reading list on LGBTQ history because one of my favorite aspects about being an actor is that I’m continually having to learn about things I’ve been very uneducated on in the past.
The outpouring of love from the fans was so gratifying and humbling for me. Receiving messages from fans saying “Connor & Oliver helped me come out to my parents” is deeply rewarding and to be any small part of the courage needed to come out will forever be a blessing to me.
You can see more of Falahee, and Connor Walsh, before too long: How to Get Away with Murder was recently renewed for its fourth season.