He’s just a gigolo
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.’’