He’s just a gigolo

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - E Guide Television - HUNG, Show­case ( Aus­tar), Wed­nes­day, 8.30pm MARIA NOAKES

GET­TING naked in front of a room full of strangers isn’t most peo­ple’s idea of fun. But for Cana­dian ac­tor Stephen Ar­nell, it’s all in a day’s work.

The hand­some 30- year- old plays bus­boy Ja­son in HBO’S quirky drama Hung – a show about the un­ortho­dox ef­forts of di­vorced teacher Ray Drecker ( Thomas Jane) to make ex­tra cash by pimp­ing him­self out to women.

Ar­nell joined the cast for the third sea­son of the hit pro­gram, now air­ing in Aus­tralia, and says he was thrown in at the deep end.

‘‘ I fig­ured there would be a break­ing- in pe­riod for me and there was not,’’ Ar­nell says over the phone from Los An­ge­les.

‘‘ I got the part on a Thurs­day, we did the ta­ble read on the Fri­day and then I met Re­becca Creskoff [ who plays Lenore], my scene part­ner in my first sex scene on my first day on set, and then the next day it was our sex scene from the first episode.

‘‘ I felt like a teenager go­ing to one of those par­ties you go to in eighth grade – ev­ery­body’s stand­ing around and no­body talks and all of a sud­den some­thing hap­pens to break the ice and then you’re fine. Af­ter the re­hearsal I just ba­si­cally stood there for three or four min­utes al­most com­pletely naked and looked around and re­alised that no­body cared.

‘‘ Now it’s fine and it’s a great tool as an ac­tor be­cause if you’re com­fort­able in that sit­u­a­tion, you’re go­ing to be com­fort­able in any sit­u­a­tion.’’

Set in Detroit, the show is an ad­dic­tive mix of in­trigue, drama and com­edy.

Ar­nell’s char­ac­ter is trans­formed by Lenore from an in­no­cent 25- year- old into a male hooker who threat­ens to ruin Ray’s busi­ness.

‘‘ There’s noth­ing they [ the writ­ers] won’t touch, no pun in­tended, and that’s one of the el­e­ments that my char­ac­ter brings to the show,’’ he says. ‘‘ There are some re­ally in­ter­est­ing el­e­ments with clients that peo­ple re­ally re­sponded to in the States – Ja­son is open to any client, mean­ing any gender, and that opens up an in­ter­est­ing el­e­ment into the se­ries.’’

While the show ap­pears to be all about sex if you scratch the sur­face, it’s a pro­gram about emo­tional con­nec­tions, de­sire and love.

‘‘ There’s more to sex than just your phys­i­cal at­tributes,’’ Ar­nell says. ‘‘ You can tell that the writ­ers Col­lete and Dim­itri [ Lip­kin] un­der­stand that and they re­ally tap into it.’’

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