BY Michael Fairman
September 09 2009 3:00 PM ET
How do you tell your parents you’re gay? That has been the controversial question that landed One Life to Live in the mainstream press recently. Patricia Mauceri (ex-Carlotta) was fired from the show over her self-proclaimed “religious beliefs” for refusing to perform in scenes where Carlotta found a book she thought was her on-screen son Cristian’s, titled How to Tell Your Parents You’re Gay. Mauceri’s objection seemed to be that a Latina mother would never be accepting of her son’s homosexuality. However, that book actually belongs to Officer Oliver Fish, played by Scott Evans! You see, Fish recently came out to roomies Layla and Cristian, and yes, he was trying to date Layla as well to deflect his internal struggle with coming out. Now it’s Fish’s turn to tell his parents he’s gay! In a series of highly anticipated episodes beginning next week, Fish’s parents, Barbara and George Fish, come to Llanview to visit their son. In a sensational twist on “stunt” casting, Scott Evans’s real-life mom, Lisa Evans, was cast as Fish’s straitlaced, uptight mom ... a far cry from Lisa and her liberal views.
In this Advocate.com exclusive Scott and Lisa Evans open up about their real-life mother-son relationship and Scott’s difficulties with coming out to his family, including his brother, movie heartthrob Chris Evans. The two also preview Fish and Barbara’s heart-tugging emotional scenes. Lisa is known to most of Scott’s friends as “Mom,” so she let me call her just that during our interview. The following is a must-read for all mothers and their gay sons.
Mom, how did you end up playing the role of Barbara Fish?
Lisa: I was visiting New York with some girlfriends and Scott invited me to see the One Life to Live studio where he worked. We also have another close family friend who worked on the show, and he was working that day, also. So I went up to the executive producer, Frank Valentini, who happened to be there that day and we talked for a little bit. A few days later Scott called me and told me that the executive producer called him to ask if I wanted to do the show! And it was that simple.
Had you acted before?
Lisa: I acted in college and in high school, and I run a children’s theater now.
The talent gene runs in the family. Both your sons, Chris and Scott, are very talented!
Lisa: I have talented sons and daughters, and all the children who come through my theater program are very talented.
Scott, how was it having Mom on the set?
Scott: Once we were on the set, it was fantastic. The days leading up to it, I was panicking with excitement and my nerves were going crazy. She got there and I went to her hotel room the night before and we were running lines. It was fun because we were laughing, and my mother is the polar opposite of Barbara Fish. So just hearing some of the words coming out of her mouth was pretty fantastic.
So no mother-son real-life family fights during the rehearsal process?
Scott: The hardest part was my mom separating the fact that I am not actually sad in these scenes. So, if she sees me cry in the scenes, she is not supposed to cry in these scenes as Barbara. But, as my mother, I could see her wanting to cry. She said to me, “I can’t keep the tears in if you are going to start crying.” It was great. The first scenes she was doing were not with me. I was watching and it was the closest thing I felt to being a proud parent. It must have been like how she felt about her children when she watched us onstage while we were growing up. It was cool to experience that.
What can you tell me about Barbara Fish and her stance on gays in the pivotal episodes?
Lisa: Poor Barbara. Barbara is from the Midwest. I think she has led a very sheltered life, and she is very religious and from a very conservative upbringing. However, she adores her son. Now, she is faced with this, and she has this husband who is a former policeman, very conservative and a little bit tempered and a little bit heated. I think she is trying to figure it out between the two of them. She is really torn. She wants to understand what is going on with her son. She wants to be close to him, but she just can’t because it’s not who she is. She wears a sweater set, for crying out loud!
You would never dress like her, right?
Lisa: It was funny. The wardrobe department called and asked me if I had anything in my closet that would work and I started to laugh ...
Scott: I have been hearing about the sweater set since we started ... it was not like, “What were you doing on set?” It was, “I have to wear a sweater set. For God's sake ... ”
Lisa: It is so not me. I am from Massachusetts, please.