Matt Bomer turned down Barbie movie then landed Fellow Travelers role

Jonathan Bailey as Tim (L) and Matt Bomer as Hawkins (R) in Fellow Travelers.

Matt Bomer has revealed that his decision to turn down a role in the Barbie movie ultimately led to him being cast in Fellow Travelers – and the gays are forever grateful.

Bomer stars alongside Jonathan Bailey in the daring Paramount+ series based on the 2007 novel of the same name by Thomas Mallon.

So far the series, which tells the story of life in the US for LGBTQ+ people through a couple’s love story spanning over four decades, is everything viewers hoped it would be and more. It’s devastating, it’s educational, and most importantly, it’s really horny.

Jonathan Bailey and Matt Bailey chase each other on a beach in a still from Fellow Travelers.
Matt Bomer turned down Barbie before landing Fellow Travelers role. (Showtime)

Viewers are blown away by Bailey and Bomer’s explosive chemistry – as was series creator Ron Nyswaner.

But it could all have been very different if Bomer hadn’t turned down a chance to be in the biggest blockbuster of the year.

The actor revealed in an interview with Variety that he had landed an audition for Greta Gerwig’s Barbie movie as one of the film’s many Kens.

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In early 2022, Bomer self-taped his audition and sent it off to Gerwig and the casting team, hoping for the best.

“I recorded it on my own, played a bunch of different Kens—and I dressed differently for all of them,” he told the publication.

“I recorded the lines of the other person’s dialogue on my recorder and then gave myself space to respond.”

Greta Gerwig's film Barbie has received rave first reviews from the critics (Warner Bros. Pictures)
Greta Gerwig’s Barbie wound up being the biggest film of the year. (Warner Bros. Pictures)

After sending off the tape, Bomer was put in touch with Gerwig about a part, but he ultimately decided to turn it down because he didn’t want to be apart from his husband Simon and their three sons.

Of course, as we all know now, the Barbie movie went on to be one of the most successful films of all time, but Bomer had no reason to sweat it.

By turning down a part in the global phenomenon, the actor made himself available to star in other projects, such as Bradley Cooper’s Leonard Bernstein biopic Maestro, in which he plays Bernstein’s lover David Oppenheim, and the mini-series Fellow Travelers.

The highly-anticipated show had been stuck in the development stage for years, but when it was finally given the green light, Bomer was available.

In the series, Bomer plays Hawkins ‘Hawk’ Fuller, a closeted State Department worker, while Bailey plays his lover, Catholic college grad Tim Laughlin.

Fellow Travelers, which has already received raving reviews from viewers and critics alike, documents some of the hardest times for queer people to exist in US history, from Eisenhower’s campaign to eradicate LGBTQ+ people from serving in public office to the devastating 1980s AIDS crisis.

Matt Bomer in a black turtleneck and black jacket
Matt Bomer had auditioned to play one of the many Kens in the Barbie movie. (Bruce Glikas/Getty Images)

At the heart of the eight-episode series is a forbidden love story between Tim and Hawkins, who try to make sense of their ever-changing power dynamic and engage in all sorts of steamy sex scenes.

They are joined by a standout ensemble cast, including Black political journalist Marcus Hooks (Jelani Alladin), his lover and dazzling drag queen Frankie Hines (Noah Ricketts), sharp-minded lesbian secretary Mary Johnson (Noah Heufer), and Hawkins’ long-suffering wife Lucy Smith (Allison Williams).

Fellow Travelers is streaming on Paramount+ with Showtime in the US and on Paramount+ in the UK.

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