Matt Bomer already knew Derek Simonds, the creator and showrunner of The Sinner, before being approached about starring in the third season of the Netflix series.
"I had met with Derek years ago when he was involved in Call Me By Your Name, and we'd hit it off creatively and had a great conversation," Bomer, 42, says from his home in Los Angeles during an appearance on an episode of the Variety and iHeart podcast The Big Ticket.
Before Luca Guadagnino directed the 2017 film (which later earned an adapted screenplay Oscar for James Ivory), Simonds worked on an adaptation of the source material – Andre Aciman's novel of the same name – says Bomer.
Simonds and Bomer discussed the possibility of the actor playing Oliver.
"I obviously loved the material; I loved talking with him about it," he said. "I thought it had real potential. Then he went on to do other things and I went on to do other things."
They finally got the chance to work together on The Sinner.
Bomer, who won a Golden Globe for his work playing a journalist dying of AIDS in Ryan Murphy's HBO adaptation of the Larry Kramer play The Normal Heart, stars as a seemingly loving and committed husband who must confront his dark past when he's contacted by his college best friend (Chris Messina).
What follows is a twisted case of torture and murder being investigated by detective Harry Ambrose (Bill Pullman).
"I was a huge fan of the show from the first two seasons, and I liked what it had to say about trauma and the need to excavate trauma, as opposed to repress it and the dangers of repressing it, and how deep it went psychologically, and what a challenge it was for all the actors involved," Bomer said.
As for the obsessive nature of his character's relationship with Messina's, Bomer explained,"It was a relationship that soothed a really profound sense of spiritual loneliness. It transcended friendship.
"It was a soulmate connection, but not in a sexual way. I think to speak of it in sexual terms, though they did have a shared brief sexual history, would be reductive.
"It was really more about two people whose self-prescribed ethics soothed a wound that they both had.
"So there was a certain sense of loneliness that could only be relieved in the company of each other."
In one scene, Messina buzzed off Bomer's real hair.
"It was intense," Bomer said. "At that point, I'd already lost almost 9kg and was trying to go through this really dark transformation of the character, so that he looked like just a shell of a human being by the end of the show."
Next up for Bomer is the Netflix film adaptation of The Boys In The Band.
Bomer and his castmates from the 2018 Broadway revival reunite for the movie, about a group of gay men in New York City in the late 1960s.
"This takes place in a couple of months before Stonewall, so there aren't a lot of pieces from that time," he said of the 1968 play, written by the late Mart Crowley.
"It's about that fever pitch, it's about that roiling, that anger that was suppressing itself that was just about to explode and externalize itself, and say, 'We can't do this anymore.'" - Reuters
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