Who is Negative Man?
Real Name: Larry Trainor
Appears on: Doom Patrol
Played by: Matt Bomer and Matthew Zuk
Former Air Force pilot Larry Trainor grew up in the Midwest feeling ashamed of being gay. He suffered a tragic accident in which he was exposed to the mysterious Negative Spirit that gave him cosmic radioactive abilities at the cost of permanently disfiguring his entire body. This incident isolated Larry from his friends and family, which left him spiraling into a deeper resentment toward himself and the uncontrollable spirit inside him. However, Dr. Niles Caulder saw greatness in Larry and offered him a place with his team of other extraordinary people who have also been rejected by society called the Doom Patrol. With this new family, Larry embraces his unique abilities and finally learns to love his complete self.
Season 1, Episode 1: “Pilot”
Season 1, Episode 8: “Danny Patrol”
Season 1, Episode 11: “Frances Patrol”
Season 2, Episode 6: “Space Patrol” (above)
Powers and Abilities
- Astral Projection
- Delayed Aging
- Dimensional Warping
- Radiation Production
Inside the Character with Matt Bomer
What excites you about playing Negative Man?
Larry is filled with contradictions. He’s a guy who thought of himself as a hero, even though he was a bit of a monster, and then thought of himself as a monster when he was a bit of a hero. Those kinds of internal struggles are fun to play. Getting to play his journey to self-acceptance has been one of the great experiences of my career, because it’s written so well. It’s not neat and tidy—it’s messy and painful and hard, the same way it is in life.
What’s your favorite moment your character has had on Doom Patrol so far?
I would say his relationship with John Bowers. It was so difficult and painful to have a gay relationship at the time when they met—it was a sad reality for a lot of people. And the way Larry and John were able to find closure and experience a more open love, was very moving for me.
Is there a moment from Negative Man’s appearances in comics that inspired an aspect of your character?
I love all the iterations of Negative Man from over the years, truly. I read all of them before we started. But ultimately, my responsibility is to the version of the character that Jeremy Carver and the writers (of the Doom Patrol TV show) came up with. There are a lot of physical images (the Negative Spirit releasing, etc.) that were informative in terms of body language and behavior.
Can you tell us about some of the positive feedback you’ve received in portraying a queer superhero onscreen?
A lot of the feedback that I get has nothing to do with Larry’s sexuality. Folks will just approach me and talk about the character and the show. They see his sexuality as one part of a multifaceted human being. I think that, in itself, is progress.
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