Out Actor Charlie Carver Opens Up About 'Boys in the Band,' 'Ratched'

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Friday September 25, 2020

In a new interview, out actor Charlie Carver spoke about working on a pair of Ryan Murphy projects in quick succession, and about his career in general, saying that he sees himself as part of a "shift" in Hollywood.

"Suddenly, the queer narratives that become available are complicated and different from one another," Carver said in an interview with Digital Spy. Carver took note of how more Hollywood producers and directors are now openly LGBTQ than used to be the case.

Zachary Quinto and Charlie Carver in the Broadway revival of "The Boys in the Band" (photo:Darren Bell)

Carver came out in 2016, after having made an impression with his roles in TV series "Desperate Housewives" and - acting opposite his twin brother Max - "Teen Wolf" and "The Leftovers." He found success quickly, and coming out didn't slow him down.

"I don't want to be limited as a gay man or a gay actor," Carver told Digital Spy, adding that it was "offensive" to him that conventional wisdom at the time he came out was that "I might be endangering my career" by taking on "more than one" gay role. "That just didn't seem true or accurate of the times," Carver said.

Indeed, his role in the Netflix series "Ratched" is of a straight war veteran named Huck, whose battle injuries have left him scarred. (It took hours every day for the special makeup he wore to be applied.)

But Carver's role in the other Ryan Murphy project he's starring in - the upcoming "The Boys in the Band," also on Netflix - is that of a gay hustler named Cowboy, a role that Carver also played when Murphy shepherded the 1968 play to a 50th-anniversary revival on Broadway in 2018.

Though some have taken exception with the play (and, already, the new film version) as representing an outmoded view of gay men and their lives, Carver pointed out that "The Boys in the Band" "has existed for 50 years" and "represents a paradigm shift in representation, at least in American culture. That's important."

Added Carver: "I think there's a huge chunk of gay history in America, a piece of time that feels lost in some ways because of how many people we lost to the AIDS epidemic." Carver opined that the Broadway revival and new Netflix film serve as a reminder of what gay identity was like half a century ago, saying the new stage and film productions were "picking it back up, and re-canonizing it for a new generation."

As for whispers about a revival of "Desperate Housewives," Carver said: That would be a blast, to go back to Wisteria Lane. Gosh, I count my blessings for having had that be my first job in the business."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.