Actor Luke Grimes left the role of James on HBO hit True Blood reportedly over the character’s same-sex pairing with gay character Lafayette.
Nelsan Ellis, who plays Lafayette, is speaking out for the first time about the departure of Grimes who was replaced by Nathan Parsons.
‘I just think that, you’re an actor, you’re an actor on a show that’s True Blood, we’re all sitting there going, "You quit your job because … really?" I’m just… I’m over him,’ Ellis tells Vulture.
While a spokesman for Grimes said the departure was over the actors’ feature film schedule, HBO has maintained it was over the creative direction of the character.
Says Ellis: ‘You quit your job because you don’t want to play a gay part? … You have to be open. But more importantly, you make a statement when you do something like that.
‘I did a documentary called Damn Wonderful, about gay suicide, and you make a statement, a big statement, when you go, "I don’t want to play this part because it’s gay." If you have a child, if you have a son, and he comes out as gay, what are you going to do? If you have a daughter who comes out gay …? You just made a statement, and it has ripple effects.
‘I can’t approach a character with judgment. I certainly can’t tell my boss, "I can act what I want to act, but not what you tell me to act," especially on a show where you come in, knowing what it is. I was like, "Okay… I guess?" I just thought that, having just done the documentary, I didn’t like what he did because he made a statement, and sometimes you have to take responsibility.
‘I don’t think he’ll be invited back to HBO.’