Rhys role embraces brotherly love
ACTOR Matthew Rhys (right), who plays Kevin Walker on Brothers and Sisters, is happy that viewers have got over ‘‘the whole gay thing’’.
Hopefully, he says, they just see Kevin as an ordinary character living within an abnormal family.
During the first two seasons of the series— which stars Sally Field, Calista Flockhart and Rachel Griffiths— Rhys’s Kevin battled emotionally with letting himself be vulnerable enough to find love. And he wrestled with the knowledge that his uncle Saul (Ron Rifkin) is a closet homosexual.
Kevin finally found love with chef-in-training Scotty (Luke Macfarlane), but still finds it difficult to understand why Saul is hiding his true identity when he (Kevin) has been open about his sexuality and his family have embraced it.
Kevin and Scotty’s wedding was the highlight of last season.
‘‘What I enjoy most is that Kevin just happens to be gay and that’s the angle they wanted me to go in with,’’ Rhys says.
‘‘I’m glad now that it’s well and truly cemented and that it was never a driving or defining characteristic (of Kevin). It was just a part of him.
‘‘They keep adding (gay characters) them (to the show). There are three of us in the show now,’’ he says.
Gay marriage is still a controversial issue, and Rhys thinks characters such as Kevin have a part to play in raising awareness.
‘‘I do, for the sole reason that we (the show) are very accessible to a relatively wide audience. We are family drama show (in the US) on a Sunday night with (major stars like) Sally Field,’’ he says.
‘‘You are going to get a certain audience that wouldn’t watch (lesbian drama) The L Word, but suddenly (the viewer) is introduced to Brothers and Sisters where there is a gay character and does deal with gay issues.
‘‘We could have possibly tapped into an audience that wouldn’t necessarily watch certain programs with those issues.’’
Playing a gay character hasn’t hurt the Welsh actor’s success with the ladies. In fact, he says, it has probably helped.
‘‘You are so unthreatening. The classic sheep in wolf’s clothing,’’ he says with a grin.