THE BIG ASK RON RIFKIN Brothers & Sis­ters

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Guide - with DAR­REN DEV­LYN

Do you want to be straight or do you want to be gay on the show? Well, I think it’s much more in­ter­est­ing for a guy like me and like a 65-year-old guy to strug­gle with this dilemma and fig­ure out some way to work it out. I don’t know. You know why I want him to come out? Be­cause I want Matthew’s char­ac­ter, Kevin and me, I want to go to like a bar. I want him to take me to a gay bar. What do you feel has been the big­gest de­vel­op­ment in your char­ac­ter from sea­son one to now? I think there was a strug­gle with Saul be­cause it started off this way and then it had a lit­tle curve that way, and it wasn’t un­til the end, mid­dle to the end of the sea­son, that one of the writ­ers said, ‘‘Who is Saul? Does he fit? He’s sort of the pa­tri­arch of the fam­ily now, but why isn’t he mar­ried?’’ And one of the writ­ers said, ‘‘Maybe he’s gay’’. And I got a phone call from the writ­ers ask­ing how I felt about that, and I was, you know, very turned on and very ex­cited about the pos­si­bil­ity of ex­plor­ing the world of a guy like that at that time who was clearly very close to his fam­ily. You know, had no im­me­di­ate fam­ily of his own ex­cept for the neph­ews and nieces and a sis­ter. And I feel that’s chal­leng­ing for the writ­ers. It’s chal­leng­ing for an au­di­ence, and also it’s chal­leng­ing to me as an ac­tor. I look for­ward to that. How far in ad­vance do you know what’s go­ing to hap­pen in the show?

Re­ally, not in ad­vance. When I say I still don’t know if Saul’s gay, I sus­pect, but we re­ally don’t know. It’s a very liv­ing, breath­ing process, and we as ac­tors need to stay open to the pos­si­bil­ity just as they as writ­ers need to stay open to what we feel and we see how our char­ac­ters are chang­ing. I was go­ing to say it’s a very odd thing. If you’re an ac­tor like we are and used to the theatre, the theatre’s quite dif­fer­ent be­cause there’s a play. Five weeks of re­hearsal. If it’s a new play, the writer’s there mak­ing changes. We did a play to­gether here in town writ­ten by the same guy who cre­ated this show. And the play was breath­ing and alive and chang­ing, but when we got in front of the au­di­ence, that was the play. We had pre­pared for it, and we did it ev­ery night, and it was a new au­di­ence ev­ery night and it was alive. This is so dif­fer­ent. It’s such a dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ence for us. Some­body called the show the new thir­tysome­thing. Is it? They were a fam­ily, too. A com­mu­nity that be­comes a fam­ily. Do you know the de­mo­graph­ics of this show? Who do you think is watch­ing it? You know, last night I had to do a char­ity thing. There were peo­ple there who were like 80 and 70 and 60, and then there were young Hol­ly­wood and rich peo­ple and poor peo­ple. I have to tell you that I got asked like 40, 50 times, am I gay. So I think the de­mo­graphic is odd for this show. When I go to New York on the sub­way, I can tell that peo­ple watch the show more than Alias. Alias was more of a cult show. It (Brothers & Sis­ters) is re­ally broad. What would you say to peo­ple who haven’t seen the show to at­tract them to it? You’re not go­ing to see me naked in this show. I can tell you that. When I did Sex and the City it was a long time ago and my legs aren’t as good now as they were then. I had to get down to my un­der­wear. This show ba­si­cally is about for­give­ness and lov­ing in spite of and be­cause of our hu­man frail­ties.

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