Based on the novel by Thomas Mallon, the decade-spanning drama stars Jonathan Bailey and Matt Bomer as two men whose relationship traverses the McCarthyism of the 1950s, the wartime upheaval of the ‘60s, the disco hedonism of the ‘70s, and the AIDS crisis of the ’80s, as they face obstacles both in the world and within themselves, Showtime says.
And we’ve watched Bailey and Bomer travel from project to project over the last 10-plus years. Here are our picks for their best roles to date.
Jonathan Bailey: Leonardo (2011–2012)
Bailey played an anachronistic, sneaker-wearing version of Leonardo Da Vinci during his boy genius years in this teen CBBC series, as immortalized in the fan edit above. “I always felt quite removed from Leonardo da Vinci,” the actor said in a press release about the series. “He always seemed quite inaccessible, a figure not a person, but through research it became quite clear just how timeless his story is.”
Jonathan Bailey: Broadchurch (2013-2015)
Bailey shared the screen with Olivia Colman and David Tennant in this ITV mystery series, in which he played ambitious reporter Olly Stevens, nephew of Colman’s detective. And the actor didn’t exactly think highly of his onscreen alter-ego. “He’s a bit of a dick, isn’t he?” Bailey observed to Metro in 2015, per Digital Spy.
Jonathan Bailey: Crashing (2016)
After co-starring with him in Broadchurch, Phoebe Waller-Bridge cast him as the sex-obsessed Sam, a member of the friend group living in an abandoned hospital, in this Channel 4 comedy. “He’s [a] massively energetic character who wants everybody’s attention all the time, gets bored very quickly, and likes being controversial,” Waller-Bridger told the network, explaining the character of Sam. “Those people are electric to be around but exhausting in real life.”
Jonathan Bailey: Company (2018–2019)
Bailey won a Laurence Olivier Award for his performance as Jamie, a groom with wedding jitters, in this West End production of Stephen Sondheim’s Company. And he told Broadway World that he wanted his big number in the show, “Getting Married Today,” to beat Hamilton’s 6.3 word-per-second tempo. “The first review will come out and it will be like, ‘No one understood a word he said. But he ended the song with a massive grin!’” he added.
Jonathan Bailey: Bridgerton (2020–present)
In this romantic Netflix hit, Bailey plays Anthony Bridgerton, the eldest son of a powerful Regency Era family, whose love life is the focus of the series’ second season. And the actor is a romantic himself, telling Town & Country last year he “of course” believes in love at first sight. “I believe in romance and love in all forms,” he added. “I believe that we all have to believe. That’s what is the fundamental faith that keeps us going.”
Matt Bomer: White Collar (2009–2014)
Bomer headlined this USA Network series as Neal Caffrey, a con artist chafing against his criminal-informant deal with the FBI. “I think anyone who’s ever gone through adolescence and wanted something from their parents knows the basic tenets of a con,” the actor remarked to GQ in 2012. “The difference between myself and Neal is that it usually always comes back to bite me in the ass.”
Matt Bomer: The Normal Heart (2014)
In this 2014 HBO movie — a Ryan Murphy adaptation of the Larry Kramer play of the same name — Bomer plays Felix Turner, a closeted New York Times reporter that Mark Ruffalo’s Ned contacts in hopes of casting a bigger spotlight on the AIDS crisis (and later falls for). “I think that this movie will be incredibly powerful or influential for many generations,” Bomer told IndieWire at the time. “I think it’s gonna be therapeutic for one generation.”
Matt Bomer: Magic Mike XXL (2015)
Bomer appeared in all three Magic Mike films, but his stripper character, Ken, got a serenade scene in the second installment — a result of costar Channing Tatum remembering that Bomer sang on the set of the 2012 original. “He held onto that and when we came back to do the second one, he said, ‘You’re going to sing,’” Bomer told TIME in 2015. “The prospect of that was terrifying, which is also one of the things that made it a really interesting proposition.”
Matt Bomer: Doom Patrol (2019–2023)
In this Max series from the DC Comics universe, Bomer voices Larry Trainor a.k.a. Negative Man — a pilot disfigured a run-in with radioactivity — and also plays the character in the flesh during flashback scenes. The actor told TV Insider in 2020 he hadn’t imagined himself doing a comic-book show, but then he heard “how fully realized and three-dimensional” the character was. “When I read the script, I was just like, ‘Oh, my gosh, this is the most abstract, absurdist, hilarious, amazing thing I’ve read in a long time,’” he added.
Matt Bomer: The Boys in the Band (2020)
After starring in a revival of the play The Boys in the Band on Broadway in 2018, Bomer and his cast mates re-teamed with director Joe Mantello and starred in a Netflix screen adaptation, with Bomer once again playing Donald, a gay man going through psychoanalysis. “I wish every movie I did I had done a full Broadway run of it first with the same cast and the same director,” the actor explained to TV Insider at the time. “There is an implicit sense of trust amongst the ensemble, especially when you’ve had to do that play together where it’s all nine of you on stage every night.”
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