Nelsan Ellis addresses Luke Grimes' refusal of gay role on 'True Blood'

"I'm over him," the actor says of Grimes. "You quit your job because you didn't want to play a gay part?"
By Annie Martin  |  July 23, 2014 at 10:45 AM
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LOS ANGELES, July 23 (UPI) -- Nelsan Ellis has addressed Luke Grimes' departure from True Blood.

The 35-year-old actor, who stars as Lafayette Reynolds on the series, opened up about his former co-star in an interview with Vulture. Grimes portrayed James Kent on season six of the program, but allegedly quit before season seven over his character's gay storyline. Actor Nathan Parsons took over the role, and James and Lafayette became romantically involved in Sunday night's episode.

"I just think that, you're an actor, you're an actor on a show that's True Blood," Ellis said. "We're all sitting there going, 'You quit your job because ... really?' I'm just... I'm over him. You quit your job because you don't want to play a gay part?"

"You have to be open," he opined. "But more importantly, you make a statement when you do something like that. I did a documentary called Damn Wonderful, about gay suicide, and you make a statement, a big statement, when you go, 'I don't want to play this part because it's gay.' If you have a child, if you have a son, and he comes out as gay, what are you going to do?"

Ellis asserted the statement has "ripple effects," and he "didn't like" what Grimes did because the actor made "a statement that is a judgment." True Blood has featured other LGBT characters and plenty of deaths, and Ellis joked he and his co-stars "get scared" when they read scripts simply because of the show's unpredictable plotlines.

The seventh and final season of True Blood airs on HBO Sundays at 9 p.m. ET.

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