Murray Bartlett Opens Up about 'Chippendales,' his Gay Career, and That Rim Job

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Saturday December 3, 2022
Originally published on November 29, 2022

Murray Bartlett
Murray Bartlett  (Source:AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

"White Lotus" and "Looking" star Murray Bartlett opened up about the gay parts he's played, learning dance moves for "Physical" and "Welcome to Chippendales," and that celebrated rimming scene from "White Lotus," Season 1.

As the Daily Beast, with whom Bartlett gave the interview, had it: "Bartlett, who came out as gay early in his career, isn't just playing gay characters on screen. He's playing gay characters who also have sex — and the audience sees that sex happen. Even in 2022, that still seems transgressive."

To that point, the article took note of how Murray's character in Hulu's eight-episode limited series "Welcome to Chippendales," Nick di Nioia, had a steamy hookup (or several), as well as how he portrayed "meaningful, realistic [sex] scenes in 'Tales of the City' [and] 'Looking.'"

"When you get the chance to play a character that's part of a community that's underrepresented in the media," the Daily Beast quoted Murray as saying in the interview, "it always feels like a responsibility. 'How can I really bring authenticity and humanity to this character in a way that might be illuminating for people who don't have any queer people in their life?'"

"I think showing intimacy between queer characters is something that is still a little unfamiliar to some people," Bartlett said. "And it's a universal thing to be able to show intimacy between characters."

Added the 51-year-old Australian: "Any connection points that we can make in these times when we're very divided... It's a beautiful thing."

But, of course, so was that electrifying scene in "White Lotus," which Bartlett came up with in collaboration with scene partner Lucas Gage.

Daily Beast called it "the kind of zeitgeist-seizing TV moment that will follow an actor forever," and acknowledged that "it's something that everyone is tempted to bring up" even as he's doing press for "Welcome to Chippendales."

"That's just going to be the case," Bartlett told the outlet.

"I think it was so great because it fit that moment so perfectly," the actor added. "It was shocking in all the ways it should have been, and natural in the ways that it should have been."

Bartlett recently snagged an Emmy, his first, for his "White Lotus" role, the Daily Beast noted.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.