Stepping in and Playing It Straight?

Y&R 's soap newbie Michael Muhney steps into the shoes Chris Engen notoriously vacated, seduces a gay man, and stirs up trouble as Adam 2.0.

BY Michael Fairman

July 08 2009 11:00 PM ET

YANI GELLMAN MICHAEL MUHNEY X390 (FAIR USE GETTY) | ADVOCATE.COM

How did you feel the initial seduction scenes between Adam and Rafe were handled? We never saw them really kiss, and we saw the duo buttoning up their clothes after they have presumably had sex.To be honest, I really liked the nuance, and I like the 'Jimmy Stewart' way in which they did that. What I mean by that is, I have always been a fan of Alfred Hitchcock films and older films. I have been a guy who likes the audience to fill in the blanks. To roughly quote a man who made a comment on the scenes, Listen. I am a gay man. I appreciated the way the scenes were done. Do you really want to see someone who is playing with someone's emotions so innate, in a scene that is intimate? Someone is faking and someone is genuine, and that is almost really evil. Adam can go there. For me, the way it was done was tasteful, and it almost makes the audience wonder what exactly happened. You can create that in your head and try to interpret it by how the characters reacted afterwards.

Was there any hesitation by you to play out this plot point? Especially after Chris Engen (from what we have heard) had difficult times playing the darkness of the character, and now you were picking up from where he left off?No. Truthfully, I have a character who is supposed to be adept at card tricks and that is just a part of who he is and what he is going to do. This guy decided to be a puppeteer and play human tricks. When Maria was pitching the character to me, if you will, and when she got to the point where Adam was getting involved with Rafe one way or another, I think I visibly starting rubbing my hands together in the meeting with a smile. I was thinking, "Oh, wow! This is going to be so much fun to play."

What I thought was interesting was Adam slept with Rafe, and then he immediately called up his girlfriend Heather in a panic and asked to see her. Then he had sex with her! So, what was going on in his head at that point?I think if you are an adult of any level of intelligence, you are going to question what you did. But I think the way Adam wanted to answer that question was to have Heather come over almost to reassure himself of certain things. Whether or not he was trying to cleanse himself of something, or whether he was trying to forget about what just happened or tell himself what really happened, or if he just wanted to remind himself of who he really is, and who he really has true feelings for, as opposed to the people he is out there playing. I like the idea that this character would not draw a line between seducing a woman or a man, because the point is, the end result is what Adam needs. That is to protect himself. He will do it at all costs, and if he has to do it with a cover-up with a woman or a man, and that those lines can be blurred. This shows me that this is a man who is more diabolical, perhaps.

Do you think that in any way his sexual orientation becomes blurred -- gay, bisexual, or straight?No. I don't think that it does. I think the main thing that makes Adam tick is survival instinct. So, if something like this were to happen again, I think he would not blink at the opportunity to do what he had to do to save himself. In this particular circumstance, I think he is not quite a sociopath. He realizes he hurts people, and perhaps he may not feel so wonderful about it. Truthfully, he does not like the carnage he leaves behind. This was a means to an end, and that haphazard, "I don't care what I am doing to this person's emotions temporarily, because in the long term, I have to save myself," is kind of his thought process. In terms of him questioning that part of who he is, I don't think that comes into it as much.

And now yesterday, Nikki saw Adam and Rafe together! Nobody believes Nikki when she is telling Victor and Ashley that Adam is gas-lighting Ashley. How do you feel about it being Nikki that caught them in the act? I think it's perfect!The way in which the fallout will occur will be fun, and of course, it's going to cause some drama. And I agree with you, of all characters who would discover something like that, it's going to be Nikki! It also lends itself to someone who, if they are going to pass something around that they saw something, it may look like it comes from a jaded perspective.

They don't believe her now, anyway!Exactly! That is what is so great about it. It gives Adam the leeway to run around a bit and not in a corner and trapped. I think for Adam, the idea is for him to say, "Never say die." It's advantageous that Nikki is the one who saw it, because in the future he can put her reliability into question.

Tags: television

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