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.




Buck, Tara’s macho male personality, was the only one of her alter egos who had a problem with Marshall’s sexuality. Will Buck and Marshall butt heads again this season?
I think Buck and Marshall have found a nice place. Marshall’s pretty tight with all the alters at this point.

What kind of response have you gotten from gay viewers about your portrayal of Marshall?
When I did the first season I never really thought about the fact that I was playing an openly gay teenager because it didn’t occur to me as being anything strange. I finished the first season, it came out, and suddenly I was being contacted by all kinds of people — younger, older, a lot of them gay — just telling me how much it meant to them to see somebody like them on TV. So there was definitely more pressure starting the second season because I wanted to do the character justice. Especially for young guys who are openly gay, our show is one of the few places they can see someone else who deals with the same problems they do.

I’ve read that you didn’t really have any gay friends at the beginning of the first season. Have you made any since then?
Yeah, I definitely have more gay friends now. That’s comes from being outside of Toronto, where I live, shooting in L.A., and being in New York, where I just was for three months.

Marshall has very sophisticated tastes in music, film, cuisine, and literature. Has any of that rubbed off on you?
No, not really. I like camping. People are pretty surprised when they realize how different Marshall and I are. Whenever my close friends finally do see the show, they don’t laugh at seeing me playing gay on TV; they laugh at seeing me as Marshall compared to me in real life.

Marshall was conspicuously reading Valley of the Dolls last season. Did you ever actually read it? It’s pretty good stuff.
No, I did not read Valley of the Dolls. But I will if I get a chance, for sure, now that you’ve recommended it.

When you look at the careers of older actors in Hollywood, whose career would you love to have?
I guess Johnny Depp has a pretty good career. I love a lot of parts that actors have played, so I love pieces of their career, but it’s pretty hard to look at an actor’s whole career and go, “That was awesome!” Usually it either ends on a crappy show or with no work at all.

You’ll next be seen as the lead opposite Zach Galifianakis in the film It’s Kind of a Funny Story, but according to IMDb your first television gig was a third-season episode of Queer as Folk.
Yep, I’ve been doing gay TV forever! [Laughs] I was 10, I played some kid, and I think I had two lines. I was still pretty excited about it, but my parents didn’t allow me to watch the whole episode because a few minutes after my scene there’s a scene of two guys having sex. They had to pause it right after my scene so I didn’t see anything.

Tags: television