Premieres January 19, 2014 on HBO
The debut 30-minute HBO comedy/drama series, Looking, focuses on the contemporary gay man experience, highlighting the lives of three close friends living in San Francisco. During HBO’s unveiling of the series at this winters gathering of the members of the Television Critics Association (TCA), the producers are asked to compare this series to Showtime’s popular Queer as Folk (2000-2005). Looking’s creator Michael Lannon explains, “It’s different. It’s a different period, obviously. But I think it’s very different tonally. The concerns are different. Both series are about gay people but that’s where the similarities end.”
Another area where the similarities between the two series are different is the presence of two Latino characters as series regulars. Looking premieres January 19 (10:30-11pm), starring Jonathan Groff (Patrick), Frankie J. Alvarez (Agustin), Murray Bartlett (Dom) and Raul Castillo (Richie), directed by executive producer Andrew Haigh. Given Latino society’s historically arch conservatism in its views of homosexuality, it is natural to inquire of Alvarez and Castillo whether this issue will be explored in the series and have they had any reactions from their own families about their participation in the show.
Castillo chuckles and relates, “I was just home for the holidays. I grew up in a small town in south Texas called McCowan, and none of my male cousins would even talk to me about the show; but all my girl cousins brought it up and were curious about it and were asking questions. I think Michael and Andrew were really smart about how they approached race on the show, and it felt really refreshing. It’s not about race but it was there.”
“It’s not a topic that we’ve tackled with my character Agustin, but I think it’s definitely forthcoming,” says Alvarez. “I know for me – coming from an all‑boy Jesuit prep school for seven years in Miami – that was a really tough environment for some of my gay friends who lived in the closet, who I did theater with. I grew up around it, and I’m sure Agustin grew up around it. I think there’s a certain sense of rebellion in being who he is and being proud of that.”
Alvarez, who recurred on NBC’s Smash, received an MFA in acting from Juilliard School of Drama and has worked principally in live theater. Castillo appeared in the independent festures Cold Weather (2010) and My Best Day (2012). He is a member of LAByrinth Theater Company in New York.
Looking is executive produced by Andrew Haigh and Sarah Condon; co-executive producers, Michael Lannan and Allan Heinberg; producer, Kat Landsberg; consulting producers, John Hoffman and Jill Soloway.
Hashtags: Television, Gay Men, San Francisco, Latinos, homophobia