Matt Bomer on playing Negative Man on DC Universe’s Doom Patrol

When you first hear Matt Bomer’s name, you think of one of the most sexiest men in Hollywood.

But, on DC Universe’s Doom Patrol, Bomer’s character, Larry Trainor aka Negative Man, is completely covered up in bandages after a freak accident that left him disfigured and with a cosmic energy floating around inside of him. Bomer is not alone in portraying the character, while Bomer provides the voice and face of Larry, actor Matthew Zuk portrays the bandaged version.

“One of the challenges of the voice aspect of this is that it is an internalized reserved character whose pathos is very internal,” said Bomer during a Doom Patrol episode 3 screening on Tuesday evening in West Hollywood. “It’s one thing to get to do a voice-over gig to be big and more gregarious extrovert, but it’s a trickier task to be more withholding, withdrawn character and to speak through bandages. I really like both aspects of it. This a character who, to me, at the beginning of the series, hadn’t found his voice at all, and over the course of the season it’s really about him finding his voice. The great irony is to do a voice over for that.”

Created by Jeremy Carver, Doom Patrol follows a group of unlikely heroes as they work together to find their missing leader, The Chief (Timothy Dalton), who has been kidnapped by a mysterious supernatural being named Mr. Nobody (Alan Tudyk). Bomer plays one of the superheroes who, prior to the freak accident, was an accomplished military pilot, living in the 1920s, who led a dual life as the all-American family man and a closeted gay man. After the accident, he lost everything and lived in seclusion for many years before being confronted with his past.

Although Bomer was a DC Comics fan growing up, he was unfamiliar with Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol series, but he was drawn to the story that executive producer Greg Berlanti and Carver had planned for in the series.

“Greg and Jeremy called me and described this character to me who they felt was on the outside was an all-American [pilot] Chuck Yeager, Golden Boy but on the inside was one part elephant man and one part Montgomery Clift,” said Bomer. “I thought that was a really interesting dichotomy to play. Yeah, he’s this guy who is this golden boy on the outside and inside had always felt like a monster. It’s the great allegory of the role that Greg and Jeremy came up with is that ultimately through this accident he becomes what he always felt was inside. So, his journey over the course of this season is finding a dialogue with himself where he could learn to accept all the parts of himself that were unlovable or unacceptable.”

But, being the first gay superhero wasn’t the only thing drew Bomer to the character and story. Although Bomer cares about LGBTQ representation, he appreciated the character not being defined by his sexuality.

“What I love most about the character is that, even though it’s a huge struggle internally for him, it’s not the sole thing that defines who he is,” Bomer revealed. “He’s such a multi-faceted character. If there had been one stereotypical thing, I think I would have more reservations about it but the fact that he is this nuanced character and who has so many places to grow and so much shadow and so much light that he doesn’t know he has. That’s what appealed to me just as much as his sexuality.”

Bomer is no stranger to the DC world. He been the voice for DC’s animated film Superman: Unbound and has been everyone’s favorite to portray the Kryptonian superhero on the big screen. But, Bomer is really happy with where he’s ended up in the DC Universe.

“I love Larry,” said Bomer. “I love who he is. I love who he is going to become. I love who he’s in the process of becoming. I think in some many ways people always say ‘what about Superman?’ People bring it up constantly still, but I think this character, to me, is just as more interesting than Kal-El. I am really happy with where I landed. I think Jeremy Carver is a brilliant writer and I am constantly surprised by both the writers in this project and also the scope of their ambition and the fact that these production designers and special effects team are able to make this happen week by week.”

Doom Patrol stars Brendan Fraser, Matt Bomer, Diana Guerrero, Alan Tudyl, April Bowlby, Jovian Wade, and Timothy Dalton. Doom Patrol episode 3 ‘Puppet Patrol’ premieres this Friday on DC Universe.

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