Australian-born actor Murray Bartlett has been pounding the pavement for years, from starring in “Neighbours” and “Home and Away” down under, to playing con artist Cyrus Foley on the CBS daytime soap “Guiding Light” and Sarah Jessica Parker‘s “gay husband,” Oliver, on “Sex in the City.”
But when he landed the leading role of Dom in HBO’s “Looking,” about a group of gay friends living in San Francisco, Bartlett became a bona fide gaylebrity.
Even though HBO canceled the show at the end of last season, viewers haven’t seen last of the Dom, Patrick (Jonathan Groff) and Agustin (Frankie J. Alvarez), as the network announced it will present the final chapter of their journey in an upcoming special.
Bartlett talked to TheWrap about “Looking’s” cancellation, what TV shows he likes to binge-watch, and what it was like to star in one of the gayest shows on television.
TheWrap: What was the toughest thing you had to do this season?
Murray Bartlett: The toughest part was finishing both seasons. I loved working on the show. It sounds kind of cheesy but even when there were challenging things to do, I just absolutely loved it. We all dreaded it coming to an end. We had these beautiful months in San Francisco, with beautiful people that have become good friends. So it’s awful when it ends. It’s one of the few jobs I’ve had where you feel energized by it and you just want to keep on doing it.
What was the most fun thing you got to do this season?
In Episode 7 of the second season we took a trip to Modesto [California], which is where Dom and Doris (Lauren Weedman) are from. We stayed in a highway motel and shot scenes in the pool, it was like going away on a school camp with all the crew and cast. It was cool.
Let’s assume that somebody has never seen your show. What would you say to persuade them to watch it?
If you like San Francisco, the city is like another character on the show. It’s beautiful. The show is very subtle and unfiltered in the way that the characters are presented. So, if you like that kind of subtlety and a real look at people’s lives, then I think you’d like the show. It’s something universal that I think anyone could relate to.
Who else on your show really deserves an Emmy, and why?
That’s a tough one because I love everybody. But I just adore Lauren Weedman and the character of Doris and I feel that in Season 2, she really had a chance to shine and I think she absolutely did. Her performance was stellar. I’d go for her.
Are you a binge-watcher, or a once-a-weeker? What was the last show you binged and how many hours did you go?
Oh my god! I can be both. I tend to be a binge-watcher if I can. I basically ripped through “House of Cards,” staying up until five in the morning finishing the entire season. I think I watched a couple of episodes in one night and maybe six or seven the second night until I was done. I’m also a huge Mads Mikkelsen fan so I recently binge-watched “Hannibal.” He schooled me. I think he’s just a magnificent actor.
If you could add any new category to the Emmys, serious or silly, what would it be?
I feel like there are so many blurred lines between comedy and drama, I’d try and break through the one-hour drama, half-hour comedy thing and find one or two other categories for those shows that don’t fit into the regular Emmy categories. There are so many brilliant new shows that are a little less defined and fall through the cracks. Something that would encompass the “dramedy” idea.