Billy Porter, the Tony and Emmy Award actor most widely known for his role in FX’s groundbreaking LGBTQ+ series Pose, was almost cast on another trailblazing television show.
Queer as Folk co-stars Peter Paige and Scott Lowell joined Jess Rothchild for an episode of her podcast, Hot Takes and Deep Dives, where Paige revealed his role as the flamboyant Emmett Honeycutt could’ve looked quite different.
Apparently, he was up against two other actors for the part, including Porter. Paige snagged it, and Porter came up to him at the premiere, approaching his loss with grace.
“He hunted me down at the reception and said, ’Now I know why I didn’t get the job. I’m not kidding. I could not do what you did with that role. I mean every word of it. That was incredible, I’m so proud of you,’” Paige recalled. “It was the classiest thing. I will never forget it. I learned so much that day from Billy Porter.”
Later in the interview, Paige shared that he almost landed the role of Jack McFarland on Will & Grace. He was second in line for the part behind Sean Hayes.
“There were other people in the mix when I auditioned and [the producers] said to me, and I quote, ’You’re fantastic. We are taking a guy tomorrow to network, we will not take you up against him, if he doesn’t get the job we will take you.’ He was their choice, but if he had not gone I was the next choice.”
Despite those early days of competition, it looks like it all worked out for all three of the actors in the end!