Matt Ross: Bigger Gay Love

Matt Ross, who plays fundamentalist Mormon villain Alby Grant on HBO’s Big Love, goes deep inside his character’s closet and spills some sexy secrets about Alby’s handsome new love interest.

BY Brandon Voss

January 10 2010 3:10 AM ET

MATT ROSS 2 X390 (LACEY TERRELL/HBO) | ADVOCATE.COM

Olsen also revealed that Alby is going to "ex-gay" therapy this season.
Well, he doesn’t go to cure himself. He only goes because Dale is going and he’s chasing Dale. He’s in love and he’s not going to give up.

What do you think about ex-gay therapy — can a person pray the gay away?
[Laughs] I’ve certainly done some reading on the subject, and I think it’s absurd. I mean, come on. Frankly, I think it’s deeply, deeply sad that someone would even try to reconcile their religious beliefs with their homosexuality, because there’s really no reconciliation allowed. By and large, these churches represent a really antiquated view of the world.

Can we look forward to any love scenes between Alby and Dale?
There are many kissing and postcoital scenes, but there are no scenes of them actually having sex. It’s certainly possible in the future, though. It’s HBO, right?

Tell me about working with Ben Koldyke, who plays Dale. Was it easy to be intimate with him on camera?
Well, we didn’t know each other before, but I was very fortunate to have Ben, because you never know who you’re going to get. Ben is just a very open, present, serious actor who’s really game for anything, which is what the role required. Frankly, intimate scenes are no less awkward if it’s with a man or woman, but it can be awkward when you view the other person as a close friend, so I was happy I didn’t know him. You just sort of show up, do the work, and let go. It was very comfortable. We both just wanted to do justice to the relationship and make it real.

Could some of the tension between Alby and Bill Henrickson, Bill Paxton’s protagonist, stem from the fact that Alby finds himself sexually attracted to Bill?
[Laughs] I like that. There was a scene that got cut during the second year where I was in a truck with Bill and I was sort of holding Bill’s hand, massaging it and looking into his eyes, and Bill was extremely uncomfortable. That kind of suggested what you’re implying, but I think they cut that with good reason, because if there is any attraction to Bill, it has to be hidden and so subtextual. Bill’s clearly an attractive man, but I don’t think their relationship has ever been overtly sexual. Alby has probably never opened up about his sexuality to anyone until Dale. His wife, Lura, perhaps has an inkling, but I don’t think he would ever discuss it with anyone.

Lura’s probably the perfect wife for a closet case like Alby because she seems to care more about power than love or sex. Is that a fair assessment?
Yeah. Again, this is something I never talked to Mark or Will about because they have, like, 30 characters to deal with, but Anne Dudek, the woman who plays Lura, and I have talked behind the scenes about what that relationship’s about. As first wife she has all the power in the community, so we decided that she’s a Lady Macbeth character and that they sort of have an arrangement. Because how could she not know that he’s gay? Their relationship does change a little bit this season because of something big that I don’t want to give away, but you and I can discuss that next year.

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