The star of HBO's 'Looking' says playing a gay character has been 'a gift' for his career

GettyImages raul castillo looking hboGetty ImagesRaúl Castillo attends the premiere of Warner Bros. Pictures’ ‘The Legend of Tarzan’ at Dolby Theatre on June 27, 2016 in Hollywood, California.

Raúl Castillo says that playing a gay character on HBO’s drama “Looking” has been really good for his acting career.

“I feel like I couldn’t have found a straight role with that much complexity, because oftentimes with Latinos, we go into roles that are written specifically for Latinos and they’re either tropes or one dimensional representations of who we are,” Raul Castillo recently told Business Insider.

Castillo played Richie Ventura, the tough, closeted neighbourhood barber who was the unconventional on-and-off love interest for main character, Patrick (Jonathan Groff). Castillo, who’s straight, calls the role “a gift.”

“Richie was a fully formed, fully fleshed human being,” the 38-year-old actor said. “So if anything, he’s been a great gift for me as an actor because I think people see sides of me that they wouldn’t normally have gotten had I played a quote-unquote straight role or sort of typical Latino role you’re used to seeing on TV.”

Looking the movie jonathan groff raul castillo hbo fullMelissa Moseley/HBOFrom left, Lauren Weedman, Jonathan Groff, and Raúl Castillo in ‘Looking: The Movie.’

Interestingly, Castillo has been attached to “Looking” ever since its genesis as a short film. Titled “Lorimer,” the 2011 short film was written by Michael Lannan and directed by Andrew Haigh, the team behind HBO’s series adaptation. And according to Castillo, not much has changed from the film.

“[In the film], there’s something about finding moments of intimacy in unexpected circumstances,” Castillo said. “And I really think that’s what the show did brilliantly.”

But there was one major thing that did change. “At the time, the story was set in New York instead of San Francisco,” the actor told us.

With “Looking: The Movie” premiering on Saturday, fans of the actor can next see him on “Easy,” “Drinking Buddies” director Joe Swanberg’s upcoming anthology series for Netflix.

“I feel really lucky to be in a place after this show and after the experience of working on ‘Looking’ where I’m getting to work on interesting characters and interesting projects,” Castillo said. “And I feel like in a lot of ways ‘Looking’ kind of opened up those doors for me.”

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