Fish Out of Water

By Michael Fairman

Originally published on Advocate.com June 21 2009 11:00 PM ET

What's a brother to do? In an interview with The Advocate's Brandon Voss last January, movie star Chris Evans confirmed what blogs had been rumbling about for weeks... that his brother Scott Evans is gay. But Scott has always been out, and now with the news that ABC's One Life to Live has launched a gay story line that will feature Scott at the center, that makes Scott the second openly gay actor on daytime, following Y&R 's Thom Bierdz.

For more than a year and half, Scott has played Officer Oliver Fish -- "Fish" as he is known to the citizens of Llanview -- the nerdy, funny, and very human cop on the long-running daytime drama. This month marks a new day for the soap and a new direction for Scott's character. The show had announced that Fish and semi-bad boy Kyle Lewis are set to be a romantic pairing. In the coming weeks, the powers that be at One Life have stated that each week a little more of the story will be revealed until it kicks into high gear at the end of this month.

Advocate.com caught up with Scott Evans and talked 'Fish,' dating, brotherly love, coming out, and gay romance on daytime.

Advocate.com:We are all very excited that One Life to Live is tackling a gay story line! Scott Evans: I am as well.

Did you know from the onset that this was going to be the direction that Officer Oliver Fish would eventually go down? This came up much later. This role started off a small thing. I got the role in November of 2007. I did a few episodes the beginning of 2008, and then this year is when I started coming back to the show more regularly. The new story line is all news to me, which is exciting.

People took to Officer Fish. He was funny and charming. Is there a lot of you in there? I try to bring some of it to that. I think I am a big nerd in real life. It's easy to play, but being a computer nerd though not so much. I am completely computer illiterate. When I am trying to pretend to know what I am talking about, it is definitely all fake.

OLTL fans are a bit confused by the announcement that Fish will be involved in a gay story line, when he slept with Stacy [Crystal Hunt] a while back. I did sleep with Stacy. I had a one-night stand with her.

So this begs the question: Is he gay or has he swung both ways? There was some experimentation by him in college. This new story line is going to explore his journey dealing with it.

So Fish will be struggling with coming to terms with himself and his sexual identity? It's going to be a struggle, and it's been a struggle. We have been working on that the last couple of weeks, and coming up, he's going to be working on it, and dealing with coming out and seeing where that goes.

Fish is living with Cristian and Layla. Will they be instrumental in helping him figure himself out? Yes. I just moved in with them. They will be extremely instrumental with him in the coming months. Oliver decides he is interested in Layla, and that is where he starts to focus all of his energy on, to sort of put the gay background for him on the back burner. It does not quite work out, but then they become very instrumental in helping Fish deal with his own issues.

How is working with your soon-to-be love interest, Brett Claywell [Kyle]? He is awesome, and is so great. Kyle is so much fun on-set and always joking around. He is fantastic!

Their backstory seemed to revolve around being in the KAD fraternity house in college. We saw Fish mention this to him during the recent serial killer story line. What is their background? The background between us is there was some sort of relationship that happened between us when we were in college together. We were frat brothers and something happened. We were separate for a while, and now he is back in town. He has completely thrown me off, and messing with my head.

Has that been a challenge to play, because in the serial killer story line, you two had crossed paths revolving around Kyle's criminal activities? Right, that was not our initial main focus. I was this police officer and he was this guy causing all this trouble. I think that is what caused the extra tension there, and all the stuff that happened to us before was just sort of in the mix there, but we weren't playing anything into that.

Chris Evans 200901 x390 (getty) | ADVOCATE.COM

What do you think gay soap fans can expect from this couple? I think the journey for them is going to be what people should watch for. More than anything being so specific that it is only a gay story line… it's a love story line, and a story about their journeys and dealing with it, and how they react with each other.

Has Fish always had feelings for Kyle? It's like with your "first" of anything. This was sort of a first time in college and there were feelings then, and they are there now. It's a matter of how you deal with them.

Has Kyle been hiding his sexuality? I don't think it was ever revealed.

Do you consider yourself an "openly gay" actor? I do.

Any mixed emotions about letting people in the industry know you are gay? It was something I thought about. Maybe I should have thought about it more, but it was like I wanted to put myself first before my career. I did not want to go through life having to deal with extra issues when I am dealing with trying to get a job. So I went, "OK, this is me. Either you like or you don't. Hopefully you can accept it, and if you can't, bummer. If you can hire me, great." It was that sort of thing.

We seem to be in a different time, as far as having gay story lines represented in daytime. How do you feel we are doing, as far as equal representation? I think there is still a long away to go. I think there is definitely progress. With everything going on in the U.S. today, it's extremely relevant to have this story line with the issue of gay marriage and Proposition 8.

What are your feelings on Proposition 8? We were devastated here in California when the ban was not overturned. I don't know. I don't want to start swearing and throwing things, but before I can get angry, I can't stop laughing because I cannot believe it's 2009 and we are still referring to people as a 'gay' community and a 'straight' community instead of a 'human' community. That people are still denied rights, it's beyond my comprehension.

I remember voting for Obama and thinking, This is great. I am voting for the first African-American president, and on the same ballot I am voting no on Proposition 8, and so now we all have equality. Then to see that Prop. 8 passed, my hopes seemed to tank! It was shocking, too. I was pretty sure it would work, but slowly and surely if you look at Iowa and New Hampshire, we are getting there. Hopefully, New York, shortly.

Scott Evans as Oliver Fish ONE LIFE TO LIVE X390 (GRAB) | ADVOCATE.COM

In an Advocate interview with your fantastic brother Chris Evans, he said that you invited him to gay bars, and has hung out with you and friends. Is that true? He does not come to the gay bars. We definitely all hang out and go out with him, but it's more me not wanting him to hang out in gay bars than him. I don't want to have to have him deal with some things and rumors. I mean, someone getting or snapping the wrong picture of Chris Evans at a gay bar is going to end up in places nobody wants to see. People have trouble minding their own business when it comes to that sort of thing.

In the feature Chris said that you are an inch taller and four shades tanner than him. That is so funny. Growing up we were very different. I was a very heavy younger kid and he was stick-thin and pale. We could not be more opposite. He has been my best friend forever. We have been closer now than we have in our whole lives, so it's been great.

Chris stated about you coming out to him, "He was really nervous and he came out to all of us very slowly [in reference to their family]." Is that how it was from your perspective? It was nerve-wracking to tell my brother, and coming out to all of them was. Chris has been my best friend for so long, and he is someone I looked up to. I don't know why I thought it was going to be such a problem. When I did tell him, looking back on it, it was one of the easiest things I had to do. It's almost funny.

Chris told us your mom was a "cool chick." Is Mom cool? She is one of the most liberal moms and we came from one of the most liberal households. I can name two handfuls of people that call her "Mom." Every one of my friends calls her "Mom." She sees people as people, and it's absolutely wonderful!

Your brother Chris is a very sexy guy and probably a fantasy for men and women alike. For you, as his younger brother, is there competitiveness in any department: acting, career, looks? We are very different. He went straight from high school to L.A. to pursue acting. I wanted to do the whole college route. I am about four or five years behind where he is. He has had incredible success, and everyone always asks, "Are you competitive with your brother?" And the answer is, "No, not at all". I am proud of him, and he is 110% behind me. And it's incredible!

It's terrific that you have a big brother who is supportive of you. Many gay people don't have that relationship with their siblings. It's been amazing to not only have a friend in the business, but someone who is my family! It's incredible and we both have the same stories. We both want to escape when we can. So, being home at Christmas is just wonderful. We can talk about it, and then shut up about it until we go back to our respective homes.

Have you told Chris you are playing gay on One Life? Ya know, I don't know if Chris and I have even talked about it. Maybe now I will. I have to tell him!

Is Mom digging the gay story line? She can't wait and she sent out e-mail blasts to everyone!

In the Advocate interview your brother said his publicist -- in reference to taking his shirt off for photo-shoots and what not -- told him, "When you're promoting yourself, being you, there's a way to keep it as classy as possible. Greasing yourself up and stripping down may not be the best way to do it." Do you agree with that? Do you have a problem going shirtless when called upon for your career? Chris did a lot of taking his shirt off in the early parts of his career, and now his publicist has advised him to not do it as much, which is fine. I have already had a couple of times on One Life to Live where I have been shirtless, but nothing too crazy — not like the stuff Chris has done in the past. But it's all for publicity, I suppose. But I am fine and comfortable about taking my shirt off.

Are you single? Yes, very.

Good to know! Any certain type of guy that strikes your fancy, or any qualifications a guy needs to have to get a shot at a date with you? I have no qualifications. I need someone who is funny, and that's all that really matters to me because I consider myself extremely funny. I need someone who can laugh at my dumb jokes.

So we know you are funny, gay, and cool. What else should we know about Scott? I like to think I am cool, but I've got to say I am a little "nerdy" — but I am a dork. I love stupid things. I love my reality TV. I make really dumb jokes that I need people to laugh at, and my roommate laughs at them all the time. So he makes me believe I am funny.

In your free time, do you like to go to clubs, bars, movies? It does not matter where I go as long as I am with good people. I have the best friends in the world, and no matter where we are they make it fun. I am a little bit of a claustrophobic. When I go to a place that is crowded my friends know I want to leave and get out of there as soon as possible.

Since you are a funny man, is doing the drama on daytime harder for you? I think with this story line I can go right there, because I have been there. It's pulling my history from my Rolodex in my head. So, I think it should be fun, but it's nice because I have been the funny character so far. It's nice to get some serious stuff to play.

SCOTT EVANS BRETT CLAYWELL X390 (GETTY AND PUBLICITY) | ADVOCATE.COM

Since it was announced that Fish will have his coming-out story on OLTL , any e-mails, comments, people coming up to you about the upcoming story? In New York lately I have been talking to people randomly who have stopped me in town and will say, "Did I see you on TV?" or they might recognize me from different blogs where I had pictures. Everybody is supportive and they will write me online and say, "I see what's going on. That's terrific. Congratulations." Everyone is extremely supportive, which is incredible.

Are we going to need hankies? Will there be some sadness in Fish's coming-out story? I hope so. I think the story of anyone struggling will tug at your heartstrings.

Have you and OLTL head writer, Ron Carlivati, had meetings to discuss the story points for Fish and Kyle? We talk in passing, and talk about what's going to happen in the future. So we know how to deal and play some things now, as opposed to what's happening in the future. It's all informative and helps with our portrayals.

Fans of OLTL have not liked the character of Kyle because he has been a blackmailing troublemaker! How is that going to work out for the two of you? It's going to create some good tension because Kyle is in trouble with the law, and Fish is the law. So it will create added tension to what is already there from our past. Kyle had a little trouble for a while, but he is getting better.

Did you see the film Milk ? I loved the film Milk and cried my eyes out.

The scenes where the kid in the wheelchair from a smaller town is struggling to get out to a more metropolitan or accepting city for gays was poignant… …..Which we can hope they will watch daytime soaps and One Life to Live because if they need help with any of this, this will help. We will be telling the story of coming out.

What was the progression of your realizing you were gay? I have such a weird story with that. I am not sure I always knew. I had girlfriends in high school, and one day I went and did summer stock theater. It was the year before I graduated high school and was sort of like, "Wait a minute. Maybe I should reassess." That is when I picked up and moved to New York to reassess.

How is New York treating you? It's amazing! I would not live anywhere else. And the heat is starting to come and I am a sweater. So we will see. I am originally from Massachusetts, so it's not far from home.

In closing, what can we look forward to from Fish on OLTL ? A love story and a journey, and it's human. If you can't relate to that you're a robot!