According to the official plot description, the Showtime miniseries is set in the 1950s as Bailey and Bomer’s characters find themselves in a “volatile romance” spanning four decades. Bomer has become a television fixture with roles on White Collar, American Horror Story and Doom Patrol. Bailey, meanwhile, rose to fame after his performance as Anthony on Netflix’s romantic drama Bridgerton.
Bailey left quite an impression on viewers due to his memorable chemistry with costar Simone Ashley in season 2. He later reflected on the outdated notion that gay actors can only play LGBTQIA roles on screen.
“I’m looking forward to gay actors playing gay parts, but for me it’s so important that everyone at home can see a bit of themselves on screen, to allow them to feel heard and seen, and also allow them to have aspirations,” Bailey, who has come out as gay, told the Evening Standard in May 2021. “Good actors can do anything, and there’ll be amazing writers who are willing to write for everyone.”
Bailey also addressed actors hiding their sexuality to book more projects. “We know there has been a history of needing to be closeted to succeed and be famous, especially in acting. And the idea of not being able to believe heterosexual relations and narrative if you know one of the actors is gay … everyone should be able to play absolutely everything,” he continued. “But let’s blow away all the cobwebs, and one of the hang-ups and shadows of the past is that we need to be a lot more open to the idea of sexes playing different sides. There have been amazing performances by straight people playing gay and by gay people playing straight.”
Meanwhile, Bomer, who is married to Simon Halls, previously said he wanted to play more gay characters, telling Variety in 2019, “I think we’re in this great boon time now where people are actually writing gay characters with three dimensions.”
Scroll down for everything to know about Fellow Travelers:
What Is ‘Fellow Travelers’ Based On?
The show is based on a historical fiction book of the same name by Thomas Mallon. Fellow Travelers follows recent college graduate and devout Catholic Tim (Bailey), who has an encounter with state department official Hawkins (Bomer) and kicks off his first love affair.
What Story Will ‘Fellow Travelers’ Tell?
Fellow Travelers will follow Tim and Hawkins’ four-decade love story as they cross paths during the Vietnam War protests of the ’60s, the AIDS crisis of the ’80s and more.
Who Else Stars in the Upcoming Series?
Bailey, Bomer, Allison Williams and Linus Roache star in the series. Jelani Alladin, Noah J. Ricketts, Will Brill and Chris Bauer round out the cast.
When Will ‘Fellow Travelers’ Air?
Fellow Travelers premieres on Showtime Friday, October 27 at 9 p.m. ET. The eight-episode series will release a new episode each week.
Have Jonathan Bailey and Matt Bomer Discussed Their Thoughts on the Project?
During an interview in September 2023, Bomer discussed the challenge of playing a character throughout such a lengthy timeline.
“Just getting to play the character over the course of 35 years — some of the scenes that take place in the last episode for me were such a rite of passage in terms of saying goodbye to the character,” Bomer told Vanity Fair.
Bailey offered his perspective on the subject, adding, “It’s been just the most joyous, emotional and also informative experience I’ve had on a job. I’ve never grieved a character more.”
How Did the Series Approach Those Steamy Sex Scenes?
Creator Ron Nyswaner said there were two rules while filming the show’s steamy sex scenes. “Everything in the world is about sex except sex. Sex is about power,” he told Entertainment Weekly in September 2023, quoting Oscar Wilde. “The other rule was that we wouldn’t do the same sexual act more than once, or the same combination.”
Meanwhile, Bailey praised the “extraordinary” approach to intimate moments in the series. “I will be so interested to see how people respond to it,” he added. “To me, being queer also is about, as two men, how you negotiate your giving of your body to the other person. That is something that I’ve always yearned to see properly done because I know how extraordinary it is to experience it.”