Beau’s char­ac­ter sheds light on a hid­den past

Herald Sun - Switched On - - ON THE COUCH - ANNA BRAIN TV WRITER

In award terms, ac­tor Beau Bridges (right) has been around the block many times.

With three wins from 15 Emmy nom­i­na­tions, his heartwrench­ing turn as clos­eted gay man Bar­ton Scully in Mas­ters of Sex has him in the run­ning once again this year (for the sec­ond year in a row). He has a Golden Globe and even a Grammy yet the 73-year-old says it’s still a thrill, as the old cliche goes, “just to be nom­i­nated”.

“It re­ally is,” he says. “The act­ing fam­ily is a huge part of my life. I liken act­ing to a whole se­ries of births and deaths. It’s such an in­tense time in your life, you work hard and ev­ery­one has the same goal, then it’s over.”

In sea­son three, the sto­ry­line leaps ahead four years to the im­mi­nent re­lease of Mas­ters’ con­tro­ver­sial book on sex­u­al­ity. Bridges says Scully’s com­pli­cated sit­u­a­tion is un­likely to be re­solved.

“Suf­fice it to say that Bar­ton Scully is as con­fused and in a co­nun­drum as he was the first two sea­sons, poor guy,” he says.

“To be a clos­eted gay in the 50s and 60s, … there was so much ig­no­rance afoot in the land at that time, I can re­mem­ber. Even now, un­for­tu­nately, there still is. But I think we’re do­ing bet­ter. When I was grow­ing up, I must have had sev­eral gay friends, but I had no idea. We just didn’t talk about any kind of sex­u­al­ity, es­pe­cially ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity.”

If Bridges could write his own happy end­ing for Scully, he says it would be very sim­ple.

“I have five chil­dren, and the thing I wish the most for them is to find a mate, some­body they can travel through life with and has their back, some­one to share jokes and jour­neys and laugh­ter. So I would hope that Bar­ton could find some­body he can hang with, re­lax and not worry about it.”

Hav­ing filmed Mas­ters of Sex and com­edy The Millers con­cur­rently, Bridges has no de­sire to slow down.

“My dad was an ac­tor, Lloyd, and he had a long, long ca­reer. He never stopped. I re­mem­ber wheel­ing him in in his chair for his last cou­ple of stops ... I’d won­der whether he had it in him, but he’d go on set, and the lights came up, and the old fire and pas­sion was there. If I’m blessed to have enough time to do that I’ll be happy.”

“When I was grow­ing up, I must have had gay friends,

but I had no idea”

BEAU BRIDGES ON THE CHANG­ING TIMES

MAS­TERS OF SEX, SBS, THURS­DAY, 9.30PM

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