Photo: Courtesy of HBO.
It was announced last December that Luke Grimes had left True Blood due to scheduling issues and "the creative direction of the character [James]." Nathan Parsons was hired to take over the role. In his favor, Grimes' plate is, indeed, stacked with Fifty Shades of Grey, The Shangri-La Suite, and American Sniper (that movie featuring Bradley Cooper's short shorts). But, we now have more information about the aforementioned issues with "the creative direction."
Though nothing has been consummated on this new season of the series, there are hints James will be having a relationship with Lafayette, the show's flamboyant gay man. And, such "creative direction" did not, apparently, sit well with Grimes. BuzzFeed reports that a source close to the show revealed that Grimes rejected the early scripts and was uncomfortable with his character becoming romantically involved with a man. The source claims that Grimes tried to sway the writers to turn the relationship into an unrequited-love situation, with Lafayette pining for an uninterested James. True Blood's never discriminated when it comes to sex and sexuality, though, and the edits were rejected. So, he quit.
The actor's publicist told BuzzFeed that his departure "had nothing to do with story lines, which he had not been privy to at the time of that posting." He then defended Grimes' busy schedule.
It would be a shame if that's the real reason. True Blood has always been peppered with LGBTQ themes. Everyone has basically slept with everyone, anyway. It's a bit naive to think his character would be any different. No matter, though. As BuzzFeed points out, at least Jessica will (maybe) end up with Jason if James does get involved with Lafayette. (BuzzFeed)