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

popular twilight screenings MCU sitcom Disney streaming service YouTube Premium DC Comics Paramount Network aapi canceled science fiction Rom-Com Amazon Prime Television Academy Tokyo Olympics Trailer breaking bad Drama Arrowverse comics sag awards women fresh prank Country BET Awards composers Mystery scene in color nbcuniversal a nightmare on elm street crime drama TruTV lord of the rings USA nature canceled TV shows Warner Bros. Rock cats documentaries VICE TCA Winter 2020 venice Emmy Nominations Pirates History Superheroes basketball reboot First Reviews Fall TV Nominations Video Games kids Winter TV italian witnail Chernobyl romantic comedy Hallmark golden globe awards Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Adult Swim Winners TCA Awards Starz Animation boxing Sundance Now social media 90s kong Writers Guild of America Pop TV news binge The Academy Biopics godzilla ABC FX on Hulu monster movies Turner Classic Movies zombie 71st Emmy Awards name the review blaxploitation National Geographic hollywood Apple TV Plus heist movie comedies Oscars HBO Go cinemax legend President TIFF award winner talk show Disney YouTube Red child's play vampires toy story LGBT Year in Review DC streaming service Ghostbusters Brie Larson 2018 nfl Holiday laika San Diego Comic-Con suspense festivals Best and Worst transformers new zealand book diversity toronto Marvel Studios Columbia Pictures psychological thriller The Walt Disney Company Academy Awards GLAAD Wes Anderson sequel deadpool Tomatazos ghosts supernatural historical drama casting rotten movies we love adventure fast and furious Chilling Adventures of Sabrina scary movies cops Character Guide Lionsgate APB Universal Esquire thriller Creative Arts Emmys black stop motion Pop cars rom-coms Captain marvel Toys Travel Channel technology satire period drama 72 Emmy Awards pirates of the caribbean aliens Dark Horse Comics Action foreign Stephen King space all-time E3 Sundance American Society of Cinematographers free movies Trivia Shudder DirecTV Acorn TV First Look mutant MSNBC ABC Signature FOX razzies NBC know your critic See It Skip It Box Office HBO Max 20th Century Fox NYCC Comic-Con@Home 2021 game show Exclusive Video WarnerMedia Legendary Comic Book The CW Spike Photos cancelled TV shows 2020 discovery game of thrones cartoon teaser Paramount Plus TBS ID what to watch ratings Crunchyroll CMT BET anime Logo 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Britbox movies revenge harry potter stoner indiana jones video BBC Sony Pictures dc spain E! Kids & Family spanish language Walt Disney Pictures CW Seed Rocketman Red Carpet Countdown spider-man Quiz children's TV IFC 2016 TCM X-Men VH1 TV Land independent new star wars movies zero dark thirty Rocky strong female leads ABC Family Disney Plus dogs Comics on TV Marathons superhero latino 007 green book natural history dceu Pet Sematary Horror RT21 trailers streaming Film jamie lee curtis hidden camera TV movies 4/20 cults Disney+ Disney Plus Nat Geo Nickelodeon sports live action psycho IFC Films obituary Reality Turner Teen cancelled TV series CBS All Access Funimation Pacific Islander Black Mirror biography south america RT History unscripted Cannes television joker Interview Certified Fresh king kong Reality Competition Baby Yoda Netflix BAFTA Sci-Fi Avengers comic Spring TV australia renewed TV shows best FXX adenture zombies Lifetime Pride Month crime thriller video on demand Heroines Sneak Peek robots emmy awards Endgame 2017 rotten versus Hallmark Christmas movies movie high school rt archives criterion Musical Emmys Epix universal monsters Discovery Channel king arthur Martial Arts The Purge dragons superman new york serial killer Lucasfilm political drama theme song remakes Premiere Dates worst docuseries based on movie Song of Ice and Fire El Rey stand-up comedy animated Trophy Talk crossover Apple TV+ romance halloween DGA dramedy mission: impossible james bond Music 93rd Oscars wonder woman cancelled television Comedy streaming movies parents Hear Us Out true crime The Arrangement Election Christmas tv talk TCA 2017 telelvision Superheroe cooking Star Trek Tubi YouTube Binge Guide Syfy spanish comiccon Masterpiece New York Comic Con Image Comics AMC NBA travel japan VOD christmas movies Film Festival festival Calendar worst movies Black History Month 2019 2021 Western TV One Thanksgiving sequels Broadway Paramount USA Network The Walking Dead Awards Mary poppins international Marvel miniseries CBS hist 2015 Disney Channel Set visit Family dark A&E Classic Film Peacock Amazon Opinion Freeform slashers classics archives WGN doctor who PBS Ellie Kemper werewolf target Fox Searchlight A24 comic books blockbuster GIFs football blockbusters franchise Amazon Prime Video asian-american HBO Musicals 24 frames Mary Tyler Moore Mary Poppins Returns films golden globes TV renewals Awards Tour adaptation halloween tv chucky OWN Infographic hispanic YA DC Universe spinoff facebook Comedy Central Holidays boxoffice Netflix Christmas movies PlayStation disaster OneApp batman cancelled Spectrum Originals finale Marvel Television Hulu marvel cinematic universe Star Wars BBC One Showtime ViacomCBS police drama Tarantino ESPN Women's History Month Summer 45 docudrama olympics justice league SundanceTV Anna Paquin politics series Shondaland TLC Lifetime Christmas movies elevated horror Super Bowl Polls and Games CNN SDCC documentary Alien richard e. Grant Extras Valentine's Day Cartoon Network BBC America TCA Schedule Tumblr Crackle anthology Sundance TV Bravo PaleyFest FX Fox News Elton John Cosplay jurassic park indie TNT Food Network GoT scorecard singing competition Television Critics Association Podcast The Witch french Mindy Kaling mockumentary war directors LGBTQ Watching Series TV book adaptation die hard Apple Vudu 1990s Fantasy saw concert kaiju SXSW ITV reviews Amazon Studios MTV Ovation quibi spy thriller Grammys screen actors guild medical drama 99% crime Mudbound 21st Century Fox critics japanese Pixar