The 'Looking' Ending Will Be "True To The Show," Jonathon Groff Reveals, But That Doesn't Mean It'll Be Happy
This Saturday night, fans of HBO's cancelled comedy Looking will receive what many fans of prematurely axed shows never get: closure. Although the series about a group of young gay men living and loving in San Francisco aired its last official "episode" in March of 2015, it will return for one glorious evening this weekend to air a special that will presumably wrap up the dangling plot threads left by the Season 2 finale. Namely: Will Patrick end up with Kevin or Richie (or neither)? Will Dom finally open a restaurant? Will Agustín find happiness outside of the art scene? And how satisfying will Looking: The Movie really be?
Viewers shouldn't expect the story to "wrap up in a bow or anything," actor Jonathan Groff (who plays Patrick) tells Bustle. "I like the ending because it feels true to the show, and it feels like the characters really evolved." The star of Frozen and Broadway's Hamilton teases that Patrick, Dom, and Agustín might finally be moving past the "looking" phase of their lives: "When the show started, all the characters were like, 'This is what I want, why can't I have this?' And they learn throughout the two seasons and the movie that you can't always get what you want," he says, inadvertently stumbling into a Rolling Stones reference, "but sometimes you get what you need. And you can quote me on that."
They all sort of come to terms with the idea that they’re not as devastated and confused and emotional about this image of what it means to be gay, what it means to have a boyfriend, what it means to be in a relationship, what it means to have a job… Even when you get the things that you want, life still continues to be complicated. And I think that they are all sort of moving towards becoming adults, becoming mature adults, and they all say, ‘If it doesn’t work out, at least we tried.’ They’re sort of understanding the complexity of life, and understanding the happy/sad quality of life and being OK with that. I think that all the characters landing in that place at the end of the movie makes me feel good about the end of their journey.
Australian actor Murray Bartlett (who plays Dom) wants to make it clear that just because this is the end of their journey on the show doesn't mean their stories are over. "The film is very satisfying in terms of where the characters get to, because you see them moving forwards, but they’re not all enlightened by any means," he says. "With Dom, he set out at the beginning of Season 1 to try and find a deeper sense of himself, or a deeper version of himself, because he was about to hit 40 and feeling like he just had been kind of sailing through. And so in one area of his life, I feel like he took great strides ahead. In terms of his work, he really, to borrow from another famous song, 'Work, work, work, work, work, work.' Not quite as poignant as yours," he acknowledges to Groff, "but I think it fits. It’s still a great song."
For his part, Frankie J. Alvarez (who plays Agustín) feels "really privileged" to have been able to bring this story to some sort of conclusion. "The [Agustín] we meet in the pilot is very different than the guy we see in the movie," he says. "And I think the beautiful thing about that journey is, he had to go a long way, and he had to strip a lot of artifice and a lot of self-doubt away to find that guy, who was always there, kind of dormant. Maybe he had shoved this sweet version of himself down so that he could be a strong, strident member of the burgeoning arts community in San Francisco. He wanted to be like a Keith Haring or like a Robert Mapplethorpe and that didn’t work out, so he had to sort of pick up the pieces and figure out who he really was. And it’s amazing."
As satisfied as the actors seem to be with the endings their characters received, there's definitely still a sense of sadness among them that it's all over. "It felt very unique to this show, we all became great friends, we all hung out together, we became very close," Bartlett says about why Looking feels so personal to him. "So there was a real spillover of life and not-life in the scripts and in the performances. It was a lovely coming together of those two things, that we naturally all really loved being around each other and became great friends and then we could use that in what we were doing to make these characters and these stories richer."
Alvarez echoes his cast mate's sentiments: "What’s lovely for us is, we had something to draw upon; not on other relationships, but on our own relationships. So that made it much more fun and intimate, when we’re playing a scene that we’ve already played together [in real life]."
It's clear that the trio shares great chemistry — and hopefully their real-life bond will continue long after Looking comes to an end
Images: Melissa Moseley/HBO (2)