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HBO’s ‘Looking’ Celebrates With Premiere at Paramount Studio

With just hours remaining until the highly-anticipated announcement of the 2014 Academy Award nominations, the stars of the new HBO show “Looking” gathered Wednesday night to celebrate the program’s launch at Paramount Pictures Studio.

Looking,” created by writer Michael Lannan and his co-executive producers Andrew Haigh and Sarah Condon, follows the lives of three gay men in modern-day San Francisco as they navigate through the complications of searching for love. The show has been compared to HBO’s series “Girls” and “Sex and the City” as well as Showtime’s “Queer as Folk.”

Jonathan Groff, who plays the show’s main character, Patrick, also lent his voice to Disney’s “Frozen,” which won the Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature Film on Sunday.

While making his way down the red carpet, Groff said he would be waking up early on Thursday to hear the news and his fingers were crossed as he hoped “Frozen” would earn an Oscar nod. He also discussed shooting the animated movie and transitioning into the filming of “Looking.”

“I was doing work for ‘Frozen’ while we were shooting (‘Looking’),” Groff said. “I found out I got the pilot for this when I was walking into the recording studio of ‘Frozen,’ so they’ve been intertwined for me.”

The “Looking” cast members, including Groff, Murray Bartlett and O.T. Fagbenle, also shared fond memories of the time they spent filming the show in San Francisco and talked about the sense of camaraderie they felt on set.

Lauren Weedman, one of the few women featured on the show, said one of the aspects that makes “Looking” so powerful is the lack of overpowering egos among the actors and the cast’s emotional investment in the project.

“In every environment, usually there’s always a celebrity who can kind of dominate the whole thing, and these are all guys that are so happy to have this job. They’re so excited about the project itself,” Weedman explained. “It’s so close to everybody’s heart.”

Fagbenle also discussed the fact that although “Looking” focuses primarily on gay men, the show’s message is far more universal.

“We live in the age where we’ve got so much choice, romantically and sexually, in these big metropolises with millions of people that it’s very tempting to think ‘What else is around that corner and who is more compatible with me? Where is this ‘the one?’” Fagbenle said. “So we compromise a lot less and search and look a lot more.”

Other HBO stars showed their support including “True Blood” actress Carrie Preston and “Behind the Candelabra’s” Cheyenne Jackson.

After a screening of the first two episodes of the show, the “Looking” cast and crew joined guests, including Groff’s BFF Lea Michele, for the after-party at soundstage 17, complete with décor that re-created locations and moments from the show.

The show premieres Sunday, Jan. 19 at 10:30 p.m.

(Pictured: Murray Bartlett, Frankie J. Alvarez and Jonathan Groff)

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