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 09 2009 12:00 AM ET

MICHAEL MUHNEY 01 X390 (GRAB) | ADVOCATE.COM

Will Adam continue manipulating Rafe?It will go its course, and there will be some residual fallout for awhile. The "relationship" or the chess game they are playing, there is not just one move!

Could Rafe be on to Adam?Well, sure. I am not inside Rafe's head yet. You have to understand. For me, I do not get to physically see the reaction in people's eyes when I am playing them, because Adam is blind. He can't make eye contact. So it will be interesting to see, and fun for me to see how Yani Gellman [Rafe] is reacting and see if it's a bit of speculation… or if he is plunging in headfirst and believing everything I am saying. The way in which he is going to react to me will be interesting for me to watch, as well as the audience!

How is playing blind? Adam's rap is that while imprisoned the convicts stuck hypodermic needles in his eyeballs, when in fact he has been injecting Botox in his eyes this whole time!It's an interesting disconnect. It's a slight handicap, no pun intended, and it's also to his advantage. Adam can kind of play with people at a distance. Imagine someone who is a boldface liar and not having to look the person in the eyes. He can go to sleep at night, because he did not have to look at the faces of the people he is playing with. However, at the same time, I would enjoy the opportunity to look someone in the eyes, at so many different levels. It's certainly a challenge, but one that I welcome.

When you heard about the rumors Chris Engen walked out on his contract because he might be homophobic... and the role of Adam, did it taint anything for you coming in? What was nice for me, and what has been nice up till now, is that I had been pretty protected. I was not aware of the extraneous stuff or issues swirling around.

Did this all happen within 48 hours?It was longer than 48 hours, it takes awhile. You had to set up a meeting, then you show up, and then they are pitching you the character. Then it takes a few days to negotiate the deal. For Hollywood the deal closed fast. I did not get myself involved in those other issues. I guess if it were me in Chris Engen's shoes who was here before me, I would want the benefit of the doubt. My mom always told me there are three sides to every story -- there is your side, her side, and the truth. That is where I don't like to get involved too much, and wish people well for the choices that they make. I can tell you for me, I actually became more excited when I found out Adam was going to play a game with someone of the same sex, because to me that's juicy stuff!

Are you gay-friendly? Not homophobic? No, I am not homophobic at all. If anything, I will flirt with a tree. [ Laughs ] To me, it's fun. I grew up really admiring my mom's dad, and in German it's called opa, and that means "grandfather." This man, you would sit down at a restaurant, and he would just love to be charming. He would flirt the pants off of anybody and enjoy that connection. So to me, if I have another person in the room and I have the opportunity to connect with them, as my character or myself, that's great. I certainly have no walls with that and I don't think an actor should if playing a part like this. I am glad I am the one playing the part. I don't want to put any barriers up. If anything, I want to push through some traditional barriers and embrace a large contingent of the audience that is out there, rather than alienate them. I think there has been a lot of respect that has been paid to the scenes. They are done in a way where, if you take the sexuality out of it and the identity of the sex being male/male, this story line is no different than a guy who is trapped in a corner and has to make a play on a girl and convince her of false emotions to get what he needs in the end. And in today's day and age, I like that they are willing to open up a new chapter and have a guy do that to another guy!

Tags: television

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