News

How Doom Patrol's Multi-Layered, Gay Superhero Brought Matt Bomer into the DC Universe

The actor plays Negative Man/Larry Trainor on the DC Universe series, a role he shares with another actor.

by | April 26, 2019 | Comments

Doom Patrol -- Ep. 101 -- "Pilot" / Photo by Bob Mahoney/2018 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
(Photo by Bob Mahoney/2018 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)

Matt Bomer has piercing blue eyes, a chiseled jaw, and a Hollywood-approved all-American look. But on DC Universe’s Doom Patrol, his character, Larry Trainor (a.k.a. Negative Man) is covered head-to-toe with bandages thanks to an accident that has left him radioactive. The character is also possessed by a negative that occasionally leaves his body and wreaks havoc on his life (and can fly and pass through solid objects to boot).

The dual nature of Negative Man is enhanced even further by the fact that he’s played in bandaged form by actor Matthew Zuk (and voiced by Bomer), and in flashback form by Bomer himself. It’s an essential character trait, Bomer explained to a small group of reporters following a screening of a recent Doom Patrol episode.

“He’s a guy who is this golden boy on the outside but inside has always felt like a monster. The great allegory of the role that Jeremy [Carver, showrunner] so brilliantly came up with is that ultimately through this accident, he becomes what he always felt he was inside. And so his journey over the course of the season is finding a dialogue with himself where he can learn to accept all the parts of himself that he felt were, on the whole, not acceptable in the past.”

That includes Larry’s new backstory: He was an Air Force pilot (similar to the character’s introduction in the comics) and, as shown in the third episode, “Puppet Patrol,” married with two kids — but having an affair with one of his air force buddies (not in the comics).

Doom Patrol -- Ep. 103B -- "Puppet Patrol" -- Photo Credit: Bob Mahoney/2018 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
(Photo by Bob Mahoney/2018 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)

“A big reason why I wanted to be a part of Doom Patrol is because I’ve never really seen a gay male superhero,” Bomer said. “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. It’s such a multi-faceted character. If it had just been one stereotypical thing, I think I would have had more reservations about it, but the fact that he is this nuanced character who has so many places to grow and he has so much shadow and so much light that he doesn’t even know, that’s what appealed to me just as much as his sexuality.”

But while Larry’s sexuality does not define him, the fact that he’s living a dual life is intrinsic to the character.

“He really compartmentalized it. He really wanted his cake and to eat it too. It’s really profoundly important for him to be able to keep his wife and family not only because of the primal love and need for them, but also because they secure his status in his place in the military,” he said. “But he also obviously really, really loves John — maybe the only true romantic connection he’s ever had. So he wants it both.”

Of course, that’s not a realization Larry could come to during his time — it’s something he’s realized during his 50 years with Chief (Timothy Dalton) and Rita Farr (April Bowlby) in Doom Manor, time he’s filled with new hobbies like gardening. He’s been able to conveniently ignore his underlying issues until the events that happen in Doom Patrol’s pilot really force him to deal with them.

That self-exploration “just continues to grow over the course of the season,” Bomer explained, and will come to a head soon. “Episode 10 and 11 is where it all really starts to come to a head for him and he really starts to get in touch with who he is authentically.”

Larry’s journey over the course of the season has included him “finding his voice and being able to come to terms with his sexuality, who he is, how he can help, what this being inside him is, what it represents, how it wants to communicate with him, why it wants to communicate with him. Does he want it to stick around? Does he want it to leave? Can he ever have any real control over it? Is the only way to have control over that is to ultimately, for the first time in his life, let go of control because he has been such a control freak? He’s really face-to-face with his ego and all the fears and insecurities that that entails, and he has to let go and in order to supersede that and really find a purpose for his existence after all these years.”

The season has also seen plenty of elements pulled from Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol run, Bomer noted, along with original creations from Carver. Episodes have explored what happened to Larry during the time between the accident that left him radioactive and when he arrived at Doom Manor.

“It’s just so wildly imaginative,” Bomer raved. “I just want people to see the show because I truly think — and I don’t say this about every show I’ve done — it’s really special. And it’s got an incredible creative team, an incredible production team. I think ultimately, as bizarre and wacko as it gets at times, it’s got an incredible heart underneath it all and they’ve really gone to painstaking links to make these characters really human and to have real darkness and light and struggle to get to where they are when we find them and where they’re going to be by the end of the season.”


New episodes of Doom Patrol are released every Friday on DC Universe.

Tag Cloud

TV Land Creative Arts Emmys Netflix cancelled 24 frames period drama CBS Reality Competition President cancelled TV series Britbox natural history anthology Sony Pictures casting GIFs Arrowverse crime thriller christmas movies spider-man all-time Emmy Nominations USA Adult Swim Sundance Awards festivals GoT talk show concert vampires BET Quiz kids First Reviews Calendar WarnerMedia Amazon Election renewed TV shows composers comiccon franchise Photos VH1 The Purge CW Seed technology foreign indie disaster south america Tarantino Comic Book cults Rock Nat Geo Ellie Kemper stoner Spectrum Originals Family teaser Masterpiece critics Comedy Certified Fresh Interview war RT21 Disney First Look thriller Peacock political drama ABC Family SDCC 21st Century Fox Warner Bros. TLC Superheroes Extras Pop Awards Tour Syfy MCU GLAAD Rocketman versus YouTube Red comics dragons blaxploitation Drama Epix Trophy Talk Writers Guild of America ITV miniseries AMC Polls and Games dc Paramount Network Funimation rotten movies we love Character Guide The CW BBC America Thanksgiving asian-american FX Western aliens politics The Walking Dead Classic Film IFC zombies Stephen King Marvel Studios child's play finale Mystery Musical crime witnail History Cannes spy thriller best Emmys Travel Channel canceled TV shows quibi Turner Classic Movies 20th Century Fox Chernobyl sag awards mutant tv talk Mary poppins MTV Paramount Pride Month DirecTV hispanic green book 007 adaptation anime diversity elevated horror Winter TV Nickelodeon MSNBC ESPN doctor who discovery Trivia breaking bad Lucasfilm Academy Awards werewolf 4/20 Shudder TCA TV blockbuster Superheroe Crackle WGN psychological thriller chucky name the review social media RT History FX on Hulu police drama San Diego Comic-Con Cosplay Fall TV Pop TV romance Esquire LGBT Avengers revenge Mary Poppins Returns cops criterion Walt Disney Pictures Logo cinemax Amazon Prime Christmas joker 71st Emmy Awards The Arrangement Anna Paquin Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Pirates justice league Holiday TNT Marvel Vudu Lionsgate Biopics harry potter PBS richard e. Grant El Rey Heroines American Society of Cinematographers canceled medical drama spanish language zombie mission: impossible Hallmark Christmas movies free movies Elton John toy story Lifetime Christmas movies Red Carpet Netflix Christmas movies HBO Max dceu SundanceTV Women's History Month space cats game of thrones Nominations HBO movies 2017 Pet Sematary YouTube spinoff Starz golden globes DC Comics crossover A24 reviews Film Action award winner Grammys Comics on TV movie Sundance Now a nightmare on elm street based on movie Black Mirror universal monsters cartoon die hard Acorn TV PaleyFest Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Rom-Com mockumentary Apple biography National Geographic scary movies NYCC slashers Schedule Tomatazos Music CNN Freeform Super Bowl animated Ghostbusters comedies Fantasy Hulu Brie Larson DC Universe science fiction binge Television Academy Film Festival psycho Animation Tubi adventure screenings Cartoon Network 2019 dogs streaming reboot CMT Country Premiere Dates Captain marvel Pixar Lifetime LGBTQ halloween New York Comic Con stand-up comedy OWN Food Network serial killer dramedy cancelled television docudrama 2018 Mudbound X-Men Ovation hist Marathons jamie lee curtis Shondaland Sneak Peek Spring TV Comedy Central APB romantic comedy series dark Musicals comic Watching Series Sci-Fi Endgame Toys Hallmark The Witch Valentine's Day CBS All Access Reality sitcom Turner spain historical drama robots Apple TV Plus Showtime theme song Horror travel BBC video parents Universal cancelled TV shows Crunchyroll nature Holidays supernatural Teen Black History Month A&E Infographic boxoffice Disney+ Disney Plus Trailer Countdown Hear Us Out Mary Tyler Moore strong female leads Best and Worst sequel DC streaming service IFC Films Amazon Prime Video transformers TCA Winter 2020 Tumblr what to watch 2016 latino NBC FOX E3 DGA TruTV facebook Baby Yoda Rocky Disney Plus Spike TCM unscripted Fox News Binge Guide TCA 2017 FXX zero dark thirty ratings 2020 batman Video Games Song of Ice and Fire television Opinion Columbia Pictures Apple TV+ E! TBS Disney streaming service book 2015 YouTube Premium Bravo singing competition sports See It Skip It USA Network ghosts Disney Channel Kids & Family Winners Star Trek Box Office documentary Star Wars SXSW TIFF VICE screen actors guild cars true crime Mindy Kaling Year in Review game show Summer Dark Horse Comics children's TV crime drama 45 YA independent cooking ABC Amazon Studios Set visit TV renewals Podcast Sundance TV Marvel Television Oscars Discovery Channel directors OneApp Martial Arts