Steven Weber Plays the Political Card

By Lawrence Ferber

Originally published on Advocate.com October 12 2008 11:00 PM ET

Oh, those wacky,
closeted, deviant politicians. Actor Steven Weber
one-ups even Larry Craig and J. Edgar Hoover (at least the
version depicted in Oliver Stone’s JFK)
as a sinister-and-sleazy-beneath-the-surface
politician in writer-director Luke Eberl’s
drama Choose Connor. Weber plays Lawrence
Connor, a charismatic congressman who drafts a 15-year-old
high achiever, Owen (Alex Linz), as his “youth
campaign spokesman.” As Owen becomes more
entrenched within Connor’s inner circle, he learns
that Connor’s attractive twink of a nephew,
Caleb (Escher Holloway), is being used in sordid,
sexual ways.

The New York-born
Weber -- who famously played the neurotic gay title
character in 1995’s Jeffrey and lists
TV’s Wings and Brothers &
Sisters
 (his character returns this season) among
his credits -- is pretty obsessed with politics
himself, and regularly rails against the GOP with
zingy panache on his Huffington
Post blog
. Sarah Palin is a frequent target of
his ire of late: “Dan Quayle looks like Alistair
Cooke compared to this most current excuse for a
Republican construct,” he wrote October 3.

We had a chat
with Weber about Choose Connor, closeted
Republicans, “Miss Half-Baked Alaska,” and
what Jeffrey might be up to today.

Advocate.com:How did you get involved with Choose Connor and
its 22-year-old director, Luke Eberl?
Steven Weber: They came to me. I was
dumbfounded at how young he was, and even more than that,
how young he looked. But then I was quite struck by
how much we had in common, how much we both love film
and how serious, complex, and earnest he was to tell
this story.

Connor pimps out his own nephew to
“supporters” -- there’s an
Eyes Wide Shut-esque scene during which
Owen catches a bunch of men having their way with Caleb
in a room -- and one can surmise there is a sexual
relationship to boot. Is there actual love between
Connor and Caleb, or is he just using him?
I feel like it’s the latter. I
don’t know if Connor’s really capable of
an emotional attachment to anything except himself and his
ambition. I don’t even know how much Connor
indulges in that [sexual] behavior himself. I
don’t know if he can. We never really see him in the
movie doing anything [sexual with Caleb], which is
good. It leaves so much to your imagination, which
makes it more insidious to me.”

That said, would Escher make a pretty good boy to
send out and “drum up support”?
I think that if you were just to look at him as
just a brand. he’s quite good. Appealing to an
important demographic I would want to reach out to.

Which real-life closeted Republican would you most
liken Connor to?
The obvious one would be a guy like Larry Craig,
but more than anything else Connor is, rather than a
sexual predator, an utter opportunist and has little
else to recommend him aside from that. He has a good deal of
intellectual capability, but he’s corrupted; his soul
is gone. He’s not as bad and ridiculous as Tom
DeLay. He’s a little more subtle in his
criminality. 

STEVEN WEBER X100 (GETTY) | ADVOCATE.COM 

Have any of your Huffington Post entries gotten you
into trouble so far?
Because I’m a tiny fish -- I’m not
even a fish, I’m krill in the pond -- most
people really could give a shit about my political views.
They just hate my untethered metaphors, my
out-of-control bad writing. Being vain, I always read
the comments from readers, and one led me to a particularly
virulent right-wing blog site, a woman I will not name, and
she’s a great writer. Really acid-tongued,
facile, and proficient and hates my guts. Really hates
me -- mostly for my crummy writing! That’s really the
only trouble I’ve gotten into. For my excessive
flourishes.

You’re such a Hollywood liberal, aren’tcha? You can call me a liberal if you want ... I
prefer that I’m a truth-er.

What do you think of California’s Proposition 8? I think that’s utter total fucking
nonsense. It’s ridiculous. It’s another
dumb-ass, dare I say -- I’m a Jew, so I have to throw
this in for fairness -- Judeo-Christian ...
it’s a crazy construct. It’s crafted by
people who hate their constituents, ultimately.
They’re trying to bring the dialogue down to
the lowest level, where people can only go
“no” or “ugh” or
“yeah.” It doesn’t incite real dialogue
at all. Clearly I’m against it because
it’s madness.

Do you discuss politics with your two children? They watched Obama’s acceptance [during
the DNC] and we used to have a “Bush Is a
Douchebag” sticker on my car. I had to take it off
because I was accosted by some guy who wanted to fight
me. My wife said, ‘take the fucking sticker
off.’

If there were a sequel to Jeffrey today, where
would the character be?
He would look virtually the same, because
Jeffrey was very vain, as I am, and fit. He would have
moved on from Steve to a longtime, very stable
relationship with an older but fit guy with salt-and-pepper
hair.

A silver daddy. Is that what they’re called these days? I
am a gay icon, but I’ve been out of the loop
for ages.

I noticed you’ve been playing a lot of creeps
lately, like in the horror film Farmhouse.
Farmhouse. [Laughs] Don’t ever see that
movie; it’s a terrible movie. The phase I’m in
is I’m playing pricks in a suit. I’ve
been doing that for several years now and quite successfully
in Studio 60,Law and Order. I did four episodes of
Without a Trace this season, again playing
pricks in suits. It’s good because I wear nice
suits. They’re expensive.

Are you going to play Karl Rove next? Or Himmler? Karl Rove ... no. Farmhouse was my last
venture into horror films. Himmler is basically a Karl Rove
in a cooler uniform. I’ve gone on to say the
Bush administration has a lot in common with the
Fascist machine that started in 1920s Germany. A very
insidious, slow drip into the German culture. They
were elected into office and made slow gradual
changes, and then suddenly ... a beep signifying World War
II.

Would you like to don a sweater or polo and play a
nice gay guy sometime down the line?
When people get sick of me playing authoritative
pricks, my next incarnation will be playing lovable
uncles. The ”bachelor” uncle.