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Nathan Parsons opens up about playing gay role on ‘True Blood’

Actor Nathan Parsons attends Premiere Of HBO's 'True Blood' Season 7 And Final Season at TCL Chinese Theatre on June 17, 2014 in Hollywood, California.
Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images

HBO supernatural series “True Blood” will explore a gay romance in its latest episode. Sparks will play when Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis) and James (Nathan Parsons) are caught having sex by Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll). It is a relationship that has been hinted at by the show and one that was rumored to have been the reason James’ former portrayer, actor Luke Grimes, left the role. In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter published Sunday, Parsons open up about his character’s gay romance.

In the interview, Parsons immediately took a different stance than did Grimes when it came to being involved in homosexual scenes with Ellis. The former “General Hospital” star took playing the scenes as a new acting challenge. He told THR that working with Ellis definitely helped in scenes he admits were difficult to shoot.

He says in the interview, “It has to be something that is seemingly organic and loving, instead of just having sex for the sake of having sex. I think that was the difficult line to walk. It comes out of nowhere and we have to do it tastefully, and we all have to be comfortable with what’s happening.”

The romance between James and Lafayette is fueled by Jessica’s constant contempt of James. The internal conflict pushes James to explore homosexual feelings that he has suppressed. Lafayette helps him deal with those emotions and sends him down a path of being true to himself. Parsons says the reason James became a vampire in the first place is because of the intolerance to homosexuality in the 1970s.

As a straight actor playing a gay role, Parsons finds the story “True Blood” is telling to be an important one. He says, “It’s a story that’s being told all over the place, and TV doesn’t pay enough attention to it. The ‘Do I love this guy or love this girl?’ and ‘Is this right or is this wrong?’ becomes more important that the act itself, and that I think was really well done by the writer [Craig Chester] and Howard [Deutch] and Nelsan and myself.”

And as far as the sex scene itself, Parsons said his scene with Ellis just came down to comfort, as it would between any two people. He said, “Once you break the ice physically, then it all becomes easier, and you realize it is just two people. There’s another 200 people in the crew, of course. But in that moment, it’s really just about two people and a shared connection.” That connection seems to be the main emphasis of final season of “True Blood.”