Rhys role em­braces broth­erly love

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Front Page - ERIN McWHIRTER

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.

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