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Russell Tovey says the response to HBO’s Looking ‘broke’ him: ‘It really frustrated me’

The actor also discussed the impact of shows like Heartstopper and Glee.

By Alastair James

Russell Tovey has remembered the HBO series, Looking
Russell Tovey (Image: Mark Cant for Attitude)

Looking star, Russell Tovey, has said that the response to the HBO show “broke” him.

In a recent interview the actor, 41, remembered the show about gay men living in San Francisco and the response it got from actual gay San Franciscans.

Tovey starred in the drama as Kevin Matheson, Patrick’s (Jonathan Groff) boss turned lover. The series, which sadly only lasted two seasons, ended with Patrick and Kevin breaking up.

The pair later met up one finale time in the Looking movie, which wrapped up the series’ storylines.

Russell Tovey says the response to HBO's Looking 'Broke" him.
Russell Tovey says the response to HBO’s Looking “broke” him. (Image: Mark Cant for Attitude)

Speaking to The Independent Tovey mentioned the project when discussing taking on gay roles. As well as Looking, Tovey has starred as gay characters in Years and Years, Pride, The Pass, and American Horror Story: NYC.

The Attitude Award winner has previously said he was sad the series had such a limited run and would like to bring it back. He was also disappointed by the lacklustre response to the show’s debut in 2014.

“The critical narrative at the beginning was that nothing much happened in it. That it was too boring. But it was just real life!”

“It really, really frustrated me”

Tovey recalled filming scenes in San Francisco for season two and being recognised by locals.

“They’d say, ‘You’re in Looking!… but I’ve not watched it, I’ve heard it’s boring’. They hadn’t even seen it! And it’s about you, in your city, filming outside your coffee shop, and you’re not even intrigued to watch it?

“It really, really frustrated me. It broke me, honestly. If that show came out now, it’d have a completely different response.”

The actor, who is starring in Blue Now also discussed the impact shows like Heartstopper and Glee have had for younger generations of LGBTQ people.

“If we had them shows when I was growing up, I would have felt a bit better about myself. I’m so proud of the way the world is now.

“For young kids to be able to say, ‘Cool, I’ll watch Glee tonight and then go to a gay bar’ – that is an incredible gift that’s been handed down. But we must pay respect and remember where that gift came from.”

Blue Now will celebrate the 30th anniversary of Derek Jarman’s Blue. It will be performed live in Brighton, Margate, Manchester, and London across May.