BY Brandon Voss
June 05 2009 12:00 AM ET
As a straight actor, did you have any hesitations in taking the role for fear of getting typecast?Oh, that doesn't occur to me at all. I look pretty much like a leading man, but I play characters all the time. I've always struggled with the fact that I get brought in for the lead guy, but then I'm always a little too offbeat for them, so they want me to play the psycho, the weirdo, or Jesus -- something outside the box. And I'm a second-generation actor, so it never occurred to me that playing a gay character would ever be a bad thing.
Did you ever have any conversations with series creators Steven Bochco and David Feige about how your character's sexuality should inform your performance in terms of voice, mannerisms, and effeminacy?We haven't had those discussions at all. Those decisions were left up to me, but I suppose if I were doing something outside of what they wanted, they would've told me. I have a very close friend who is essentially this character, except instead of an aspiring judge, he's an actor. He's in his mid-late 30s and he's very much a leading man kind of guy, so he's been very cautious about being out because he feels like it's going to get in the way of his career. He's also in a long-term relationship that he's always trying to hide, and I've always felt that it wasn't really fair to his partner. I've spent my whole life saying to him, "You've got to be out, you've got to be true to yourself." His response was always, "You just don't know, man. You're a straight guy, so you have no idea about certain realities of being gay." But early on in playing this character, I was amazed at how often you hear gay jokes on a film set in Los Angeles. Not that the crew really has a problem with it, because they're lovely people, but every day there's some reference to the gay thing. Constantly. It was the first time I got a sense of what my friend was talking about. Even in L.A., where you think the gay thing would be a nonissue, it has enough of an effect on people that their immediate go-to response is to marginalize it in a "hee hee, ha ha" way. I was shocked.
Would you be comfortable coming out as an actor if you were gay?With my personality type, I would be completely out. I'd just feel like, "Fuck you for making me feel like I can't be." I have more of a combative edge in my personality than my friend does. But he refuses to be not considered for certain roles because of someone else's prejudices.
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