Jonathan Groff stepped back into the shoes of gay video game developer Patrick Murray for Looking: The Movie with full confidence in director Andrew Haigh.
Even before signing on to do the first of two seasons of the HBO drama, Groff had been familiar with Haigh’s acclaimed film Weekend and was struck by the gay drama’s sex scenes.
‘Seeing Weekend, honestly, was the first time I saw sex on screen, gay or straight, where I was like, This feels like real sex,’ the actor tells Out.com.
‘When Andrew was on as the director I was all, Yes, I’ll sign that nudity waiver, that the dick waver, whatever. He’s a genius at capturing those moments.
‘The sex is informative because it shows reality and not just people with greased bodies fucking away with music playing in the background. It’s also connected to what is happening in the story.’
Groff shares an example of this.
‘… In episode five, Richie (Raul Castillo) is going down on me and when we were shooting that scene, Andrew said, “Look into his eyes while you’re ejaculating into his mouth because it’s intimate. I want to see these two characters having an intimate connection.” So you’re looking at each other while you’re fucking and that’s the moment you form a connection. There’s a level of reality that made the sex feel political and essential to the storytelling.’
But there was a time when the openly gay actor wasn’t so comfortable with the intimacy that the character required.
‘At the audition I broke into a sweat,’ Groff admits.
‘The first scene I did was the Richie-Patrick scene on the train. I started blushing and sweating. In that moment, I realized that the show would be about very personal things, about being gay. I felt a little nervous because it was vulnerable.’
Looking was canceled after two seasons and wraps up its storylines with a 90-minute movie premiering on Saturday (23 July).
‘The sex, the relationships, the friendships—it all felt real to me. I was excited, but a little sweaty about it,’ Groff says. ‘It was so real to life.’
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