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Weber Plays the Political Card

Weber Plays the Political Card


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.

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. 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.

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.

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