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New Place, New Gay


Matt Fielding, the token gay on the original Melrose Place, was something of a pyrrhic victory for LGBT viewers. Finally, TV had a series regular who was out and proud and managed to go seven seasons without killing anyone or turning straight. But he was about as exciting as warm milk -- and half as sexy.

For the revamped Melrose, producers decided they wanted a gay character with a little bite. Enter Caleb Brewer, a scotch-swilling, cigar-chomping man's man who just happens to dig other dudes. sat down with Victor Webster, a former Playgirl model and star of the cult TV series Mutant X, about visiting the Place the second time around and whether gays in soaps are here to stay. What can you tell us about Caleb?
Victor Webster: He's a publicist at the firm Ella, one of the housemates, works at. I think he first appears in the second episode. Caleb is Ella's new boss and he creates a certain amount of havoc in her life. I'm on her all the time, but I want the best from her. Ella is very tough too, a ballsy go-getter. So there's a certain amount of tension but also some good chemistry.

Is Caleb a series regular?
Well, I was brought on for a few episodes, but the reaction has been really positive, so there's a good chance the character will be expanded.

Will he be interacting with other characters or moving into the apartment building?

[Laughs] Ah, they'd chomp my balls off if I told you that.

How much are you like Caleb?

I'm a lot like him. I work hard and love playing sports. I think I challenge others and expect a lot from them. I think he's a little harsher, though.

How is the new Melrose Place like the classic one from the '90s?
Well, they're both nighttime soaps, so there's always crazy stuff happening. But a lot has changed in the past 10 years -- viewers have seen a lot, and you have to raise the stakes to create suspense. So we push the envelope even further.

How does Caleb compare to Matt, the gay character from the original Melrose?
They're complete opposites. Matt was neutered. Caleb is a go-getter and he flirts shamelessly. He's definitely not a cheeseball. A lot of gay characters on TV are goofy or effeminate, and the producers really wanted the character to be well-rounded. Caleb grew up playing sports -- he's very masculine and he's not tortured about who he is at all.

You used to be on Days of Our Lives. Daytime soaps have been incorporating a ton of gay story lines lately. Do you think that represents a real sea change on television?

It's what's going on in the culture and the soaps are reflecting it. Television is generally on the conservative side, so if you're seeing it represented on TV, that probably means it's really out there in the real world.

I know you're straight -- tragically -- but are you aware of your sizable gay following?

Definitely. My gay friends keep me posted. I consider it very flattering, but a fan is a fan. I don't want to separate people into camps.

Your roles either have you fighting or taking off your clothes for a sex scene. How do you stay in shape?

I do a lot of mixed martial arts -- it's like unlimited fighting. I do Brazilian jujutsu, beach volleyball. I don't like my routine to get stale, so I also lift kettle bells and push cars.

Like actual cars?
[Laughs] Yes, but the brake is off.

What's your role in Surrogates, the new Bruce Willis sci-fi movie?
I play a police officer and helicopter pilot. It was a lot of fun because I got to be a part of a huge chase scene. Basically Bruce and I shoot at this guy and track him down. It's a pivotal scene.

Any other projects lined up?
I have a part in Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married Too. I play a cop -- again. And it's an important scene where a character has a real change of heart. I guess I'm the go-to guy when you need some dramatic tension.

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Dan Avery