The Passion of Keir Gilchrist

After an outpouring of positive viewer response, Keir Gilchrist feels greater pressure in portraying an openly gay teen on The United States of Tara. But he’d still rather go camping than read Valley of the Dolls.

BY Brandon Voss

March 22 2010 6:10 PM ET

Toni Collette may have earned an Emmy and a Golden Globe for playing a mom with dissociative identity disorder on Showtime’s United States of Tara, but Keir Gilchrist easily won our hearts as Marshall, Tara Gregson’s openly gay teenage son. After his complicated relationship with a Christian classmate last season, Marshall will tangle with three major gay characters when Tara returns March 22 for a second season. Gilchrist, a 17-year-old Canadian whom Collette called “a brilliant young actor” when she spoke to The Advocate last year, gives us an exclusive glimpse into Tara’s new “fruit bowl.”

Advocate.com: One of actors playing a high school student on 90210 is actually 31, so it’s refreshing to learn that you’re age-appropriate for your role in United States of Tara.
Keir Gilchrist: Yeah, it’s true. I find whenever I work on a show that most of the people who are supposed to be your friends are in their 20s.

So what’s in store for your character in season 2?
Marshall had a big struggle with his mom in season 1, but he made peace with her at the end of the season, so that’s not as big of an issue in the second season. Since Marshall’s not as concerned with his home life, he’s more focused on his life at school. He’s starting to realize that he has to fit into a social group, but he’s not sure what that’s going to be — whether it’s going to be the gay group or something else. Marshall starts hanging out at the “fruit bowl” or the “gable” — the gay table — with the openly gay kids at school. He really hates it because it freaks him out to see gay people who are just so in-your-face about it, so to sort of retaliate he starts going out with a girl. He thinks he could maybe be bisexual.

Doesn’t Marshall also meet a cute boy at the gay table?
Yeah, Lionel, played by Michael Willett. Lionel talks about being gay all the time, but Marshall doesn’t want to be super flamboyant or in-your-face. Basically, Marshall doesn’t want being gay to be his whole personality; he just wants it to be a part of his personality. Being gay is part of Lionel’s everyday life, but Marshall just wants it to be the romantic part. When Marshall decides he wants to get more in touch with his gay side, Lionel convinces Marshall to go cruising in a park.

Tags: television

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