Tom Hollander discusses ‘liberal’ sexuality after White Lotus and Feud gay roles

Tom Hollander as gay character Quentin in The White Lotus season 2

Tom Hollander has addressed his sexuality after taking on high-profile gay roles in The White Lotus and Feud.

Across his career, the British actor, 56, has appeared in films such as Pride & Prejudice, the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise and TV shows including The Night Manager and The Thick Of It.

Over the years, he’s played several gay characters, notably including Oscar Wilde’s lover Bosie in The Judas Kiss, Quentin in the second season of The White Lotus and US novelist, playwright and actor Truman Capote in the upcoming Feud: Capote Vs. The Swans.

Now, in an interview with Vanity Fair, Hollander has revealed that he believes he’s been cast in gay roles because “apparently when I play these characters, it’s believable.”

“For some reason, who I am, who I am as a person allows me to present as gay”, the actor explained.

“Yeah, sometimes I do present as gay,” he added, labelling his own experiences exploring his sexuality as “sufficiently liberal” and “not anyone’s business.”

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“My own sexuality is sufficiently liberal to have encompassed many different experiences, which are not anyone’s business,” he shared.

Hollander, who welcomed his first child with his long-term partner Fran Hickman last year, acknowledged the historic plight of the LGBTQ+ community, noting that whilst his own experiences do not align with that “difficulty,” he believes his role as an actor is to approach these topics with “seriousness.”

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Tom Hollander takes part in SiriusXM's Town Hall with the cast of Feud: Capote Vs. The Swans hosted by Andy Cohen at SiriusXM Studio on January 23, 2024 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM)
Tom Hollander’s next role is playing gay US novelist Truman Copote in Feud: Capote Vs. The Swans. (Cindy Ord/Getty for SiriusXM)

“You have to be able to imagine something and do it with seriousness and take it seriously, approach it with sufficient sort of solemnity and plausibility, and then you imaginatively put yourself into those shoes,” he said, noting that with acting “you are always pretending to be something that you are not.”

As for representation, Hollander added that there are “types of actors that have not been given sufficient chances to play great parts,” something he believes should change – and is in the process of “improving.” That said, he maintained that actors should be “able to play things that they are not necessarily, because then that’s not art.”

After series two of The White Lotus aired, Hollander entered the spotlight for partaking in one of the most jaw-dropping moments of the franchise – a gay sex scene with an unexpected twist.

Jennifer Coolidge’s Tanya was snooping around Quentin’s mansion, only to stumble across him in bed with Jack (Leo Woodall) – who viewers had been led to believe was his nephew.

Though fans were understandably confused, Hollander praised the scene.

“There is fantasy, and you’re going through your head going: ‘I hope I look good,’” he told Variety.

“But when they say action, in a way that goes, and you actually just find yourself thinking: ‘I want this to be a true representation of an intimate moment between two people.’ You just want to do it right.”

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