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SYFY WIRE Doom Patrol

Doom Patrol's Matt Bomer teases Season 2 'Sex Men' villains, reflects on Superman audition

By Bryan Cairns
Matt Bomer in Doom Patrol

The Doom Patrol will tell you: Size matters.

Season 1 of the wacky, heartfelt, and just plain weird Doom Patrol culminated with the team of misfits — Robotman/Cliff Steele, Crazy Jane, Elasti-Girl/Rita Farr, Negative Man/Larry Trainor, Cyborg/Victor Stone, and the Chief/Niles Caulder — defeating the evil Mr. Nobody. However, that victory came with a price: The gang was shrunk down to miniature size.

All except for Larry.

When the show returns for its sophomore season on June 25, the Doom Patrol is obviously in big trouble. Not only do they have to contend with their miniature stature and a slew of colorful and bizarre villains such as Dr. Tyme and Red Jack, but they're also tackling their personal issues and trauma. And their problems only continue to grow when it's revealed that Niles' young daughter, Dorothy, harbors the power to potentially destroy the planet.

Matt Bomer, one of two actors who portray Larry (Bomer's the voice and the unwrapped version, while Matthew Zuk is the bandage-clad body), recently spoke with SYFY WIRE about Larry's personal demons, his character's sexuality, and striking a balance with the negative entity residing within him. In addition, the 42-year-old actor reflected on almost being cast as Superman in a feature film and whether he's still interested in donning the cape and tights.

Doom Patrol Negative Man

Where do things pick up with Larry? What has he been up to?

We pretty much pick up right there with our story, in terms of picking up from the end of the Season 1 finale. Cliff, Jane, Rita, Vic, and Niles are still mini-size and have been living on Cliff's toy racecar track as Larry tries to figure out how to make them big again.

But in terms of Larry over the course of the season, he's living in closer harmony with the negative spirit inside of him. And he's trying to reach out and connect to his children, who he finds out are alive, and one of whom is in peril. It's really a season about trauma and dealing with the generational damage he's done to his family. There are these beautiful, very abstract scenes where Larry from the '60s is interacting with his son from the present, who is now older than he is.

It's filled with a lot of pathos and character development, as the show always does, but it's also abstract at the same time.

Do you feel Larry is more comfortable in his skin now? Is he leaning into being more of a hero than a so-called "monster"?

Yes and no. Now that he's accepted who he is, and trying to own a little more of his authenticity, you can't just erase the 60-plus years of holding everything in. I think the writers are very smart to not suddenly make him just the guy throwing pie parties every day. He's still dealing with coming to terms with who he is and what that means. That will probably be a bit of a process. It does take the course of this season. But his focus now is really on trying to connect with the remaining family members that he has.

Speaking of damage, Larry discovered that Niles orchestrated the accident that turned him into who he is now. How does he move past that bombshell, if at all?

Everyone is rightfully pissed at Niles, more or less throughout the season. But there are events that take precedence in terms of them having to band together, and work together, and set certain differences aside. Those largely revolve around Dorothy.

What does Larry make of Dorothy? Because there isn't much interaction between them initially...

No, there's not, and I wish there was more this season. Maybe the reason they don't have more is because he's still trying to figure out how to relate to his own children and dealing with the guilt and fallout from that. Larry probably thinks he's damaged goods in terms of connecting to and offering any real counsel of value to her.

There are a couple of times they get to sit down together, and I think he's trying to take what he's learned and be a better influence on her than he was able to be on his own kids.

What's been special about the way the show has handled Larry's sexuality as a gay superhero?

What I love about playing the role is it's such a fully realized, three-dimensional character. Other than the times I have a big-budget action sequence or a special-effects sequence, it doesn't feel like I'm on a superhero show. There are so many scenes that could be on any incredible, prestigious drama on television. They are so well-written and so well-realized.

Greg Berlanti has done so much in terms of representation for LGBQT+ people in the comic book world. I knew I was in good hands. With the initial conversations I had with him and Jeremy Carver, I knew that they had beautiful, heartbreaking plans for the character. They really came through on that promise. They delivered.

Doom Patrol

Larry shares a history with Rita. How close are they?

I think that's the closest relationship Larry has. Rita has known who Larry is for a long time, long before he was able to come out to her. Rita comes from a generation of women who could love and accept someone as they were without having to talk about it, which made her a pretty much ideal relationship for Larry. Him coming to terms with who he is has only brought them closer together.

Larry still has this energy being inside of him. What can you tease about how that dynamic evolves?

They have a much more harmonious relationship and they are figuring out how to work together and communicate in a healthy way, without the spirit constantly having to hijack him in order to get a message across, although it does do that from time to time.

There is a character that comes into play over the course of the season that makes a huge, profound impact on Larry and the choices he makes going forward in terms of how to relate to the spirit and connect to it in a way that is mutually beneficial.

On top of all the drama, the Doom Patrol constantly comes across the weird and the wacky. What have been some of your favorite strange encounters this season?

There are so many. It's honestly like Christmas morning when I get to open a new episode because I know the writers are going to come through. And, somehow, they manage to constantly one-up themselves without sacrificing story or character.

There is one running joke this season that even thinking about it, I laugh out loud. It revolves around these characters called the Sex Men and there's a running joke with them throughout the season that is one of the funnier things I have experienced in episodic television.

The show also faithfully brings to life some of the Doom Patrol's eclectic comic book villains...

There is an incredible group of villains this season, particularly for fans of the show. You have Red Jack. Dr. Tyme. You have the demons that Dorothy is dealing with. They really run the gamut. Some of the villains are very funny, and some of the villains are as dark as you can possibly imagine.

You were into comic books growing up. Most people know Brett Ratner cast you in a Superman movie that never came to fruition. What do you recall about that whole audition process, including testing in the iconic costume?

Oh, man. It was beyond surreal. I came in on a cattle call with every other actor in the world. It kept refining and refining and becoming more and more surreal. I was flying out to L.A. with Brett to do chemistry reads. Then, I was back in New York and then it would be another month. I was then flying out for a screen test. It was just incredibly exciting and surreal.

I had never experienced anything like that before... getting to do the screen test and the costume with Amy Adams. It was a dream come true.

Many fans still want you as the next Man of Steel. How open are you to that possibility?

So many of those decisions are way above my pay grade. Obviously, if it's a great script and a great role, I'd be open to any character in the comic book world. It might be fun to do a Bizarro Superman opposite Henry [Cavill] in one of those movies they are making now. That would be really fun.