'True Blood's Nelsan Ellis Slams Luke Grimes for Not Wanting to Play Gay

By: Ross von Metzke

True Blood star Nelsan Ellis has something to say about his former costar Luke Grimes — and it’s not particularly complimentary.

Grimes left the show at the end of season six amid rumors he wasn’t comfortable playing gay. His character, hunky vampire James, was intended to become romantically involved with Lafayette (Ellis), and Grimes was allegedly only willing to stay in the role if Lafayette were attracted to him, but not if the feelings were mutual.

In an interview with Vulture.com, Ellis said he was “over” Grimes and that he made “a big statement” when he opted to exit the role. “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?," Ellis told Vulture. “I'm just... I'm over him. You quit your job because you don't want to play a gay part? As if it's ... You know what? I'm going to stop talking.”

But Ellis didn’t stop talking. When interviewer Jennifer Vineyard countered, “If you're going to be on True Blood, you have to be open to a lot of experiences,” Ellis continued.

“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. First of all, this show, it's True Blood, and shit, we get scared when we read scripts! Excuse my language. When scripts come, we're like, 'What are they going to have us do this week?' But when you make a statement that is a judgment ... I was kind of like, 'Have you met Alan Ball?' I'm supposed to do what my boss tells me to do, as an actor. 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.”

Ellis also joked that not only would Grimes likely not be invited back for the rumored True Blood musical, “I don't think he'll be invited back to HBO.”

Read the full interview with Nelsan Ellis here.

Tags: TV, True Blood