Garrett Clayton wants the world to know he’s done playing the hot guy. You may remember him as dreamboat Link Larkin in hairsprayor, more recently, as Chip Skylark in the new live-action series The weird fairies parents† The former Disney Channel star is also no stranger to lustful characters. He was too hot to handle as an adult movie star Brent Corrigan in king cobra† As well as off screen when he showed some skin as Al Pacino’s whore in God looked away†
Admittedly, he makes a perfect casting choice for these types of roles, but Garrett Clayton is ready to show his range.
We had a chance to catch up with Garrett, and he tells us how he avoids being pigeonholed. “I could have easily continued down this road, but I felt like that had a shelf life,” he explains. “I’ve worked really hard to now have a well-rounded resume. I have to stay strong in the kind of artist I want to be, and say with respect that I don’t want to keep doing the same thing. I don’t want to be the “hot guy” who walks a few lines on stage, shows his ass and everyone calls him a slut† you know what I mean?”
Lately, Garrett has been able to get his teeth on some meatier characters. “I have a cute place in The Mattachine family, he adds. “I’ve played quite a few outrageous characters, and I’m sure I will again, but right now I want to keep showing people my different colors.”
He got involved in Mattachine director Andrew Vallentine worked on a project last year called letterman† The short film contains a large archive of love letters between two gay men during the Second World War. Garrett notes, “I see all the care he puts into his film work.” So, when he was called for… The Mattachine familyhe was immediately on board.
Without giving away too much of the film, Garrett tries to describe how meaningful his role was to both of them. “I just did a cute cameo, but it meant so much more,” he says. “Andy pulled me aside and said, ‘I just want you to know that that scene, what you said, is so personal to me and my husband because this is how we felt when we went through what we went through.’ It really meant a lot that he entrusted me with it. I really identified with how we have to navigate as gays to build our family.”
Looking back at past roles, Garrett wishes he had done one thing differently. “While working on Cobra,,I wish I had stood up for myself more in a number of circumstances,” he admits. “I’ve always had a hard time with that because of fear. Be it fear of rejection or fear of upsetting people. I’ve had to make peace with the fact that whatever I say will upset someone.”
A hint at gay Twitter’s reaction to his Cobra casting announcement, we asked Garrett for an explanation. “I was blasted online. People said, ‘Here’s another straight guy playing a gay role.’ And it was everywhere! The media mocked me for not being outside, and it was A LOT. I wish I could have come for myself, or would have done so, in a better way. But it was also a difficult position to be in because I wasn’t out publicly at the time.”
Then he told us something he had never talked about before in a press environment. “There is a montage of Brent becoming a porn star in the film. I knew there was a chance I’d never work again,” he muses. “For whatever reason, sexuality scares people, and being comfortable with your sexuality scares them even more.”
How have I only just discovered Garrett Clayton 😍😍😍 pic.twitter.com/zZN1996DZi— Greg P (@thatgregperson) May 29, 2020
Fresh off Disney stardom, a relatively PG environment, Garrett had to push himself to be comfortable on an NC-17 set. “I mentally challenged myself and said, ‘This is a character. This isn’t me. It’s okay.’ It felt very vulnerable to be virtually naked and insinuate sexual acts with ordinary strangers.
Then he added a shocking detail: “Most were respectful, but some really grabbed me. At one point during a shoot, I was sitting on the couch with two guys on either side of me, and they started making fun of what a slut I was. They say, ‘this isn’t his first time.’ I felt like they were talking through me. It really touched me, I ended up leaving the room. They just wouldn’t stop saying such nasty, horrible things right through me like I wasn’t there.’
Reflecting on this moment of total objectification, he adds, “The movie, I think, made some people feel like they had permission to say or do hurtful things. That was such an amazing experience, because a lot of my friends have told me that men have treated them this way. I’m not saying I fully understand the female experience, but this was probably the closest I could get with it.”
Garrett Clayton is definitely more than his impeccable physique and classic good looks (not that those are bad things). Some of his most recent work shows this. Garrett and his husband Blake host a weekly podcast called “A Gay in the Life.” They aim to provide a catalog of resources on the LGBTQ+ experience, current events, history and culture. Combine that with a handful of movies in post production and a few upcoming projects in the works, the actor has left this “hot guy” type behind him.