Matt Bomer Says He Lost Chance To Play Superman After Being Outed As Gay

Matt Bomer may be one of Hollywood’s most sought-after film and television actors these days, but he says he lost out on a major role early in his career after being outed as gay.

Appearing on The Hollywood Reporter’s “Awards Chatter” podcast Monday, Bomer recalled auditioning decades ago for the titular role in “Superman: Flyby,” a planned film written by J.J. Abrams and set to be directed by Brett Ratner.

“It looked like I was the director’s choice for the role,” he said, noting that the project was linked to a three-picture deal he’d recently signed with Warner Bros. “It never came to light.”

When Bomer was asked if his sexuality had been a factor in losing the part, he said, “Yeah, that’s my understanding.”

He continued: “That was a time in the industry when something like that could still really be weaponized against you. How, and why, and who [was involved], I don’t know. But yeah, that’s my understanding.”

Actor Matt Bomer, right, has been married to film and TV publicist Simon Halls for over a decade.
Actor Matt Bomer, right, has been married to film and TV publicist Simon Halls for over a decade. David Crotty via Getty Images

Though “Superman: Flyby” never materialized, the project underwent significant retooling and eventually became 2006’s “Superman Returns,” directed by Bryan Singer and featuring Brandon Routh as the Man of Steel.

Fortunately, Bomer said, he ended up receiving an early script for USA Network’s “White Collar” — which gave him his breakout role — shortly after the “Superman: Flyby” debacle.

The actor, who is married to film and TV publicist Simon Halls, came out publicly in 2012 while accepting an award for his HIV/AIDS advocacy work.

“I’d really especially like to thank my beautiful family: Simon, Kit, Walker, Henry,” he said at the time, referring to Halls and the couple’s three sons. “Thank you for teaching me what unconditional love is. You will always be my proudest accomplishment.”

Since then, Bomer has gone on to portray gay characters in films like “The Normal Heart” and “The Boys in the Band.” Last year, he starred opposite Jonathan Bailey in the queer-themed romantic drama “Fellow Travelers,” and is widely considered an Emmy Awards front-runner for his performance.

It’s long been rumored that Bomer’s hopes of playing Superman were dashed because of his sexuality, though the actor’s “Awards Chatter” interview appears to be the first time he’s addressed the speculation.

In 2012, E! News reported that Ratner’s departure had led to “Superman: Flyby” getting scrapped, not Bomer’s sexuality.

“Brett knew Matt was gay. They’re good friends,” a source told the outlet. “Matt not being Superman had nothing to do with his sexuality. It was because the director changed.”

Listen to Bomer discuss “Superman: Flyby” beginning around the 19:19 mark below: