How Jonathan Bailey Juggled ‘Wicked’ With ‘Fellow Travelers’: “It Was Fame From the Waist Down”
Pop Culture

How Jonathan Bailey Juggled ‘Wicked’ With ‘Fellow Travelers’: “It Was Fame From the Waist Down”

If you looked up the phrase “booked and busy,” you’d probably find a picture of Jonathan Bailey. The British actor broke out as Lord Anthony Bridgerton, whose love story took center stage in the second season of Netflix’s eponymous hit romance. He captured even more hearts as Tim Laughlin, a McCarthy-era conservative turned radical queer leftist in Showtime’s epic limited series Fellow Travelers, and will soon star as another eligible bachelor, Fiyero, in Jon M. Chu’s two-part Wicked adaptation—a part Bailey scored after Chu found clips of the actor singing online. “The fact that it was a YouTube video that got me the job is kind of wild and incredible,” Bailey says on this week’s episode of Little Gold Men (listen below).

On top of all that, Bailey managed to return to the Ton for season three part two of Bridgerton, which begins streaming Thursday, June 13 and filmed concurrently with Fellow Travelers—which bled directly into Wicked. He remembers practicing Ozdust Ballroom choreography during lunch breaks on Travelers, wearing his buttoned-up G-man glasses and sharp haircut from the waist up—“and then it was Fame from the waist down. I’ve got terrible videos that may or may not surface in about a hundred years time—hopefully once I’ve died, because they’re so embarrassing.” But then again, there’s a poignancy to them: “Tim, if he’d been born 60 years later, may have played Fiyero in the school production of Wicked. And he would have loved the shiny boots.”

Vanity Fair: As Tim on Fellow Travelers, you evolve from a conservative, religious congressional staffer in the ’50s to a radical queer man living in the ’80s. What was it like filming that character arc? I have to imagine it would be tough to do.

Jonathan Bailey: It was an incredible challenge. For Tim, he’s talking about the idea of religion and faith and what that gives you at the beginning. And I think it seems to have equipped Tim to endure a love against all odds. He never gives up on Hawk (Matt Bomer). And Hawk becomes his sort of living religion, and something that he believes in.

I was like, I want to see a gay ingenue who’s a fish out of water—who’s itchy in his skin. It’s not like he’s doe-eyed and just sort of hapless; he’s fighting from the get-go. He does not understand why the world is the way it is. His emotions are the thing he leads with. And he’s all about truth and transparency and honesty. And I think that comes from this Catholic sort of conservative upbringing. So it’s just the most beautiful quest that he has in his life, to find absolution but also acceptance. But he never stops fighting. That’s why, to me, he’s an absolute icon.

Tim is prickly and struggling internally with his sexuality while also dealing externally with important moments in American history, from McCarthyism to the AIDS crisis. As a Brit, how familiar were you with the American history?

Not enough [laughs]. It was not included on the curriculum. But then I’m not sure it really was in America, either. This is why we’re shining a light on areas of history that conveniently haven’t been included. It’s an experience to explore a character throughout that time, but also the history of queer experience—to offer me, as Johnny, catharsis. And to be in a predominantly queer environment to tell that story. I relished it, because there’s so much that I need to understand about the privilege that I have now and the people that came before me. The fact that there’s five out gay actors leading the show is because of all the people that came before. And I’m telling you, people have been loving gay actors for years. They just haven’t been able to say that they’re gay.

We’re getting more and more queer stories and queer representation on screen, but these characters are not always portrayed by actual queer people. I think Fellow Travelers proves that it makes a big difference when you cast queer, out, gay, LGBTQ+ actors in roles that are queer.

This is so specifically exploring the queer experience over 40 years. I think there was a GLAAD report last week that was kind of disheartening, about how there’s been a decrease in queer or LGBTQ+ characters being represented…. Tim and Hawk and all the characters in this are born into a world where they have to fight. And if you’re ever having to monitor or adapt or to survive, if your first instinct is it might not work because of who I am, then that’s the difference between being a gay actor and not being a gay actor. It’s the fight.

The show wouldn’t work without your chemistry with Matt Bomer. How did you find that dynamic? Tim and Hawk’s relationship has a sub-dom dynamic, and at times it switches. There’s a power struggle. It’s complicated and nuanced and always believable.

[laughs] Well, I mean, Matt Bomer is a supreme being, and incredibly lovely and great. He’s got such a wealth of experience. We met on Zoom to do a chemistry read, and then we met in a coffee shop about a week, or even actually less than that—like, six days before we started filming. For about an hour we said, you know, this is such an opportunity. This is what we’re really excited about. It’s a great amount of trust and a free fall. But that’s the point of gay relationships: There is so much nuance, and the dynamic is so balanced because there’s no gender, There’s no—uh, what was it? Women are from Venus, men are from Mars.

Originally Published Here.

Products You May Like

Articles You May Like

New Video Shows Secret Service Snipers Fire at Gunman From Roof at Trump Rally
What Happened to Donald Trump at His Pennsylvania Rally? Updates – Hollywood Life
‘Alaskan Bush People’ Bear Brown Shocks Fans, Unthinkable Move
Fred Armisen and Riki Lindhome Married 2 Years Ago
The Most Anticipated Books For the Rest of the Year, According to LitHub