Bridgerton’s Jonathan Bailey and Matt Bomer to play lovers in new queer TV epic

Actors Jonathan Bailey and Matt Bomer are to play same-sex lovers in a limited series for Showtime.

Fellow Travelers, based on Thomas Mallon’s 2007 novel of the same name, will follow a four-decade romance between two men that blossoms in the backdrop of a McCarthy-era Washington.

Showtime announced the show on Monday (11 July), announcing that Bridgerton’s Jonathan Bailey will play Fordham University graduate Tim Laughlin.

Matt Bomer, of American Horror Story fame, will play Hawkins Fuller, a state department official who has no time for intimate connection –that is, of course, until he meets Laughlin.

Fellow Travelers is expected to run for eight episodes, and will traverse the uneasy ground of LGBTQ+ identities at a time when the war against them was at its height.

A statement from Showtime described it as “an epic love story and political thriller, chronicling the volatile romance of two very different men who meet in the shadow of McCarthy-era Washington”.

From the ’60s to the ’80s, the pair will see their love blossom in the wake of major political and social turmoil, including the AIDS crisis of the ’80s and the Vietnam War protests of the ’60s.

The limited series, which is written and created by award-nominated writer Ron Nyswaner, will also feature Allison Williams. Additionally, Bomer will feature as an executive producer for Fellow Travelers alongside Nyswaner and Robbie Rogers.

Honoree Ron Nyswaner accepts Vanguard Award onstage at the Los Angeles LGBT Center 46th Anniversary Gala Vanguard Awards at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza on November 7, 2015 in Century City, California. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for Los Angeles LGBT Center)

Jonathan Bailey has previously spoken about the pressures he faces as a gay actor.

In an interview with GQ, he expressed his frustration around feeling the need to hide his sexuality, especially after a fellow actor told him: “There’s two things we don’t want to know: if you’re an alcoholic or if you’re gay.”

In the interview, the 34-year-old Bridgerton star said: “All it takes is for one of those people in that position of power to say that, and it ripples through… So, yeah, of course, I thought that. Of course, I thought that in order to be happy I needed to be straight.”

Eventually, he decided that enough was enough and came out to his friends, family, and eventually the public.

“I reached a point where I thought, ‘F**k this,’” he said. “I’d much prefer to hold my boyfriend’s hand in public or be able to put my own face picture on Tinder and not be so concerned about that than getting a part.”

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