“All the characters are gay, but that’s not the big issue in their lives. It’s not coming out stories,” said Looking star Jonathan Groff today at TCA about the new HBO series. “It is such a different time now there are a lot of pressures that gay people have from their parents that they didn’t have before, like getting married,” added creator/writer Michael Lannan. “Welcome to the mainstream, what do you do now?” he said, noting that the goal of the series was to explore the diversity of backgrounds of its characters not merely their sexuality. “Its not just a show for gay people,” said EP/director Andrew Haigh. He then joked with Groff that “there are some people on the street that you walk by that are straight.”
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Set to premiere on January 19, the 8-episode dramedy chronicles the life and loves of a trio of gay men in their 30s in modern day San Francisco. “As Queer As Folk was of its time, Looking is of this time,” Lannan told the crowd in response to a question comparing the 2000-2005 Showtime series about gay men. Actors Frankie J. Alvarez, Murray Bartlett and Raul Castillo joined Lannan, Haigh and Groff, who is one of the voices in Disney’s Frozen and appeared on Starz’s now cancelled Boss, onstage at the panel today.
One thing that all agreed was that another character in Looking is the city of San Francisco itself. This was a chance to do a show in the San Francisco that had never been done before. I hadn’t seen the San Francisco that I knew on screen. So we went for a new way to portray San Francisco, the lived-in look and the rough edges,” said Lannan of what he called the “idiosyncratic” city. “There’s a lot of gay history there and we thought that was good backdrop to investigate the characters.”