Before Playing Gay on 'It's Always Sunny,' Rob McElhenney Starred in Gay Mormon Romcom

Friday February 3, 2023
Originally published on August 11, 2022

Rob McElhenney in a scene from "Latter Days."
Rob McElhenney in a scene from "Latter Days."  (Source:YouTube still)

Actor Rob McElhenney may be best known for his role on the long-running FX comedy series "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia." In the show, he plays Mac, who, over the course of the show's 15 seasons, eventually comes out as gay. But before playing the iconic character, McElhenney appeared in a gay film just two years before "It's Always Sunny" began.

One of the most popular LGBTQ+ films from the early 2000s, McElhenney was one of the many hunky actors who starred in the 2003 gay Mormon romantic dramedy "Latter Days." It also featured Steve Sandvoss, Wes Ramsey and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, along with Jaqueline Bisset, Rebekah Johnson, Amber Benson and Khary Payton. Directed and written by C. Jay Cox, the film follows Christian (Ramsey), a West Hollywood party boy in his 20s who gets more than he bargains for when he tries to seduce Elder Aaron Davis (Sandvoss), a sexually confused Mormon missionary who moves into his apartment complex.

In the film, McElhenney plays Harmon, the leader of the young Mormon men sent to L.A. to spread their faith, along with the characters played by Sandvoss and Gordon-Levitt. Though he doesn't play gay in "Latter Days," in one scene McElhenney's Harmon opens up about the difficulties of being a Mormon young man: "We can't listen to music, we can't watch movies, we're never supposed to be alone. Come on, we're 19, 20 years old and we're not even allowed to beat off. Some nights I wake up and find teeth marks on my headboard."

Revisit the "Latter Days" trailer below.