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Jeremy Pope Left Major Film Because Of Homophobic Energy

The Inspection star Jeremy Pope has revealed that he once walked away from a major studio film after facing discrimination for being gay.

In a new interview with Variety, the Tony and Emmy-nominated actor, who plays gay Marine Corps recruit Ellis French in the indie drama, opened up about the time the process of preparing for the role.

Before training for The Inspection was even underway, Pope suffered homophobia on the set of another film.

Hours before hearing back from The Inspection director Elegance Bratton about the role, he decided to "take a leap of faith" and step down as the lead actor in a major studio project due to discrimination.

"I didn't love the script," he explained about the unnamed film, “but it was one of those things that would get me in the conversations, get me in front of directors and people at studios.”

However, things quickly turned uncomfortable when the film’s director expressed doubts about Pope'sfilm's"ability to create chemistry opposite a female love interest due to his sexuality.

"I got into an interesting conversation with the director where he basically said I didn't have the ability to connect with a female character because I was gay," he recalled.

"In the moment, I was negotiating how to defend myself. But at the end of the day, that spoke so much more to where he was and his life journey versus who I am or what I know I bring to a project."

Jeremy Pope in his role as Ellis France in the movie "Inspection"
“The Inspection,” has earned Pope Independent Spirit Awards and Golden Globes nominations.

In the end, Pope decided to "choose myself and serve myself," refusing to stay in an environment that didn't support him.

Pope, who was used to working on projects where "people are honest and open and vulnerable," went on to explain how he made the decision to walk away.

"I had to say 'eff that energy' because it's going to take too much from me," he continued.

"And literally in that same breath of knowing that don't serve me is when the phone rang, and it was 'A24 wants to have this conversation about The Inspection.' It was like I had to be tested to really know my worth and affirm myself. This is exactly where I'm supposed to be".

After deciding to put himself first, he scored his role in The Inspection.

"I had to go through that and understand my worth and my existence and how I want to show up in this business and what I'm willing to tolerate and not tolerate," he added.

"So I think, like I said, life has to do life's thing."

The risk certainly paid off, as the actor is now up for an Independent Spirit Award and a Golden Globe for his performance in The Inspection.

Ellis France is a character based on Bratton, who himself served as a gay Black man in the Marines.

This is Jeremy's first leading role in a movie. "The Inspection" has earned Pope rave reviews and nominations from the Independent Spirit Awards and the Golden Globes.


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