Ben Platt On Power, Privilege And Sexuality In The Politician

Credit: Netflix

Becoming the President of the United States of America. While other kids dream to fly to the moon or to become a fire fighter, Payton Hobart is different. Since his youth he has had the clear ambition to become the most powerful man in the world. His life is dedicated to this dream.

The first season of the drama-comedy The Politician dropped last month on Netflix with Ben Platt as Payton Hobart. In an interview with Digital Spy, the Dear Evan Hansen star talks about sexual preference and that it shouldn’t determine roles or characters.

Platt says that the sexuality of his character is secondary to the storyline of The Politician. He wishes “to play all different characters in my career regardless of my own private sexual preference” as he says and that’s why it’s a refreshing experience for him to play Payton. To Platt, the sexual preference of an actor should not determine roles, just like the sexual preference of characters shouldn’t determine them.

“There are so many more interesting human things that get to happen, that get to colour and inform certain situations that don’t have to be just about coming to terms with the identity itself or the impression of that identity,” says Platt.

In the show Payton is in a relationship with Alice – a woman who is really ambitious in becoming Hobart’s First Lady once he is President. On the other hand Hobart is also in love with his political rival, River Barkley.

In Platt’s opinion writer Ryan Murphy creates “the perfect balance of ridiculing this affluent community caricature” but still the characters are human and sympathetic to the audience. The actor sees the series as “an exaggerated picture, and the only way to talk about that kind of community coming from that much privilege is to cut them down and be as sardonically humorous about them as possible as that’s how they deserve to be viewed.” It’s a line between that and still taking the characters’ problems and emotional life seriously, which Ryan Murphy rides very well, according to Platt.

The Politician will be back for a second season. Season one is available on Netflix now.