The Ties That Bind

As the World Turns 's Van Hansis (Luke) and Paolo Seganti (Damian) play daytime's estranged father and gay son. Now they are learning to trust and accept each other. But will it last?

BY Michael Fairman

June 07 2009 11:00 PM ET

In the film Milk, I was struck by the scenes where the young man in a wheelchair would call Harvey and tell him he was stuck and could not get out, because he was in some little town. Do you ever get e-mails or correspondences from gay people similar to that?Hansis: I don't get that as much as something else. A recurring item in e-mails and correspondence is from older people who tell me, they wish this story had been told 20 years ago "because it would have helped me." I can't help but think because of this story, and how people are reacting to it, that there will be kids 20 years from now who won't feel, "Oh, I wish this story was told," because it was told to them as children. I think that is the power of the media. It can normalize things. It's not this big shocking thing anymore that there is this gay character on a TV show, because there are a lot of TV shows now that have gay characters. Americans have a huge appetite for media, and when things get normalized and put in the public spectrum through the media, they become OK with it. People feel they can relate to different types of people because they see them being represented on TV, no matter whether it's gay, interracial, and racial. You see a relationship with characters you can connect to, and then you can connect it with real people on the street in your everyday life.

You two have mutually expressed your "lov-fest" for each other. Van, why is working with Paolo so great?Hansis: I found out a couple months beforehand he was coming back to ATWT, and it was just a thrill. For me, when Paolo had come back the first time, I had really only been on the show four or five months. I did not know who Damian was at the time. And I remember Martha Byrne [ex-Lily] sat me down at the time and she told me the history. When he came back, everything was new to me, and he was so nice to me. He is really one of the nicest guys I have ever worked with. It is easy to work with him. He is really funny, and he has great stories.

Your turn, Paolo!Seganti: One thing I was lucky and fortunate to find with Van is we just clicked. It was something we did not have to try and work out. We connected and worked well off each other again. There is great emotion when I work opposite of Van. He makes my scenes better all the time.

Has your pal Martha Byrne watched you two together on-screen this time out?Seganti: Yeah. She said, "I am going to smash the TV set now!" She misses us. It was great working with her.

In closing, what can we look forward to from dad and son?Hansis: Right now Luke and Noah get involved in another story line for a little bit, but what we are starting to shoot, which will air in July, Luke and Damian will share more screen time together. Damian is involved with Meg right now, and Luke and Noah are involved with Riley, Casey, and Margo. There will be separation for a bit and then they will dovetail together.

Will fans see more ups and downs with the two of you?Seranti: I think ups and downs will be more interesting. Don't you think, Van?

Hansis: I would say, of course, there will be drama. When Luke and Damian come together in a couple months, I don't know if it's going to be Luke and Damian against someone else, or Luke and Damian against each other ...

Seganti: I hope it will go smooth for a while for the two of them and piss other people off.

Hansis: I think that will happen!

Tags: television

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