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Jonathan Bailey Recalls Sucking Matt Bomer’s Toe in ‘Fellow Travelers’

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Jonathan Bailey said he was given “precise” direction on *that* toe-sucking scene with Matt Bomer in Fellow Travelers.

“It was very, very precisely written down — it was as precise as it needed to be,” Bailey, 35, told The Hollywood Reporter in an interview published Thursday, December 28. “I saw that as an incredible way to dissect power. I got it when I read it, and I wasn’t intimidated by it.”

In the Showtime limited series, which premiered in October, the Bridgerton actor and Bomer, 46, play two political staffers who fall in love and hide their affair. Based on the 2007 fictional novel of the same name by Thomas Mallon, it takes place in the 1950s, a time when openly gay men were not permitted to hold positions in the federal government.

In addition to critical acclaim, Fellow Travelers has garnered attention for the provocative love scenes between Bailey’s character Tim Laughlin and Bomer’s Hawkins Fuller.

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“I was just like, ‘If in the first episode that’s what we are doing, it’s going to be worth five months moving to Toronto, and it’s going to be a series that I would want to watch,’” Bomer recalled. “Because not only is it incredibly complicated, not only is it really hot, it’s also something that masks as being provocative, but actually it’s really psychologically impactful and the people who get it get it.”

Bomer added that the Fellow Travelers love scenes “were a really external representation of what was going on with these characters internally, emotionally.”

“For me, it was really refreshing to see the gay love scenes brought to light in a really unflinching way,” he continued.

Bailey’s character also notably drinks milk throughout the series, a detail that the actor said was an intentional and “brilliant way of showing such naiveté.” He continued, “Immediately you know that this is a character who’s completely outside the world Hawk inhabits, and he sees the world completely differently.”

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“The milk was on the call sheet,” Bailey added. “It’s a character in its own right. And also the milk’s character arc is more dramatic than everyone else. Give it a spinoff, I say.”

In an interview with People earlier this month, Bailey opened up about the personal significance of his role in Fellow Travelers. “I had looked for these gay stories, a sweeping gay love story, and I hadn’t really seen them,” he said. “This ticked every single box, and it’s something I know I’ll be proud of for the rest of my career.”

“The superpower of being on the outside looking in means that when you’re older, you are drawn to storytelling and creatives who are singular and exciting,” he continued. “And I think queer people have a real strength to them, which could be celebrated.”

Fellow Travelers airs on Showtime Sundays at 9 p.m. ET.

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