Gra­ham Pa­trick Martin

From sit­com kid to star of TV cop show Ma­jor Crimes, Gra­ham Pa­trick Martin has grown up on the small screen. As he be­gins his sixth year playing gay teen Rusty, he tells Gay Times about be­com­ing an ad­vo­cate for gay youths... and sur­viv­ing James Franco.

Gay Times Magazine - - Contents - WORDS joshua win­ning IM­AGES dy­lan lu­jano GROOM­ING matilde cam­pos STYLIST david nino

Do you re­mem­ber your first gay kiss? Twenty-five-year-old Gra­ham Pa­trick Martin does, prob­a­bly be­cause it only hap­pened a year ago. “We get to­gether and we’re good friends and we’re cool about it,” he tells Gay Times. “I’m like, ‘So are you ready?’ He’s like, ‘Yeah.’ So they give us a bunch of breath mints and stuff. They call ‘ac­tion’ and we do the scene, and the kiss is great, it’s an awe­some kiss, but what took me back was that I’d never felt a beard on my face. I said, ‘Bro, if you don’t shave that thing, I’m mak­ing sure they never write a kiss­ing scene for us again!’”

Ah yes, we should clar­ify. Rather than a dec­la­ra­tion of love, this stir­ring moment of pas­sion was ac­tu­ally Gra­ham’s first on-screen gay kiss. For six years, he’s played teen Rusty on TNT drama Ma­jor Crimes and, just last year, Rusty fi­nally got his first full-on pash with boyfriend Jack­son (Rene Rosado). It was a his­toric moment not only for Gra­ham who (sorry) is straight, but also his char­ac­ter, who en­tered the show as a trou­bled home­less kid taken un­der the wing of Sharon Ray­dor (Mary McDon­nell).

“I was like, ‘This is gonna be great, I’m so ex­cited that Rusty gets to do this, af­ter all this trauma he went through, he fi­nally is able to open him­self up and feel love,’” he re­veals. Chat­ting to us in LA, he’s on a rare day off from the show, which shoots ten months out of the year on the Warner Bros lot. “I’ve been locked in the stu­dio all week!” he laughs. “I’m prob­a­bly gonna go for a hike or some­thing and get some sun be­cause I’ve been shoot­ing non-stop lately. I haven’t been see­ing a lot of day­light this year.”

It makes a change from his first ma­jor TV gig on sit­com Two and a Half Men, in which he played An­gus T Jones’ buddy Eldridge. He stayed with the show from its sev­enth sea­son un­til the end of its ninth, when he landed the Ma­jor Crimes gig, and al­though he now has 92 episodes of the show un­der his belt, he still re­mem­bers the terror he ini­tially felt hop­ping from com­edy to drama.

“Work­ing on multi-cam­era sit­coms is the best gig in the world be­cause the hours are so easy,” he re­veals. “But some­times peo­ple type­casted me. They’re like, ‘Oh, he’s a sit­com kid.’ Ma­jor Crimes was the first thing that took a shot on me. It was a shock, but it was a good shock.” Less of a shock was the rev­e­la­tion that Rusty was gay. “James Duff, the show’s cre­ator, called me in to his of­fice one day and he’s like, ‘You know, I think Rusty’s gay be­cause Rusty is me.’ He said, ‘How do you feel about that?’ I said, ‘If Rusty is you, he has to be gay, and I love that.’”

The role has proved an eye-opener on nu­mer­ous lev­els. While Gra­ham ad­mits the gay scene is noth­ing new to him (“I went to mu­si­cal the­atre sum­mer camp,” he laughs), he’s em­braced the re­spon­si­bil­ity of por­tray­ing a gay char­ac­ter on prime time.

“I’ve been go­ing to LGBT+ events and do­ing in­ter­views with LGBT+ mag­a­zines,” he says, “just to make sure I’m not just swing­ing by col­lect­ing a pay-check, get­ting by on playing a gay home­less youth, which is a very vul­ner­a­ble com­mu­nity.”

Close to his heart is Covenant House Cal­i­for­nia, a youth shel­ter that houses home­less kids aged 18-24, where Gra­ham has par­tic­i­pated in writ­ing work­shops.

“Ev­ery­one knows the story of the gay kid get­ting kicked out of his house be­cause he’s gay,” he says. “But see­ing it, go­ing to a shel­ter in Hol­ly­wood and see­ing these kids who just straight-up got screwed over at such a young age... It’s been an eye-opener, and it wasn’t un­til it was put in front of my face that I was able to take ac­tion.”

The dark side of La La Land is some­thing he’s gen­er­ally man­aged to avoid. Though he was born in Louisiana and owns a place in New York, Gra­ham spends the ma­jor­ity of his time in LA, which he de­scribes as “a strange place; there’s a lot of money up here, so there’s a lot of peo­ple who come to chase it. It has a dark side but I guess ev­ery city and ev­ery in­dus­try does. I’ve never re­ally been a part of that.”

In­stead, he keeps busy. Dur­ing down­time on Ma­jor Crimes, he shad­ows the show’s di­rec­tors. Out­side the stu­dio, he works out when­ever he can. “I do this crazy weird yoga called kun­dalini, you should check it out,” he en­thuses. “I have looked at my­self on tele­vi­sion dur­ing a stretch where I was a lit­tle more re­laxed, and you know that 10mil­lion peo­ple are see­ing the dif­fer­ence!”

Ear­lier this year, he directed a mu­sic video (Google Tried to Be Nice by Phan­toms and Har­lie) and he has fea­ture film Bukowski in the can. “I walked in to call backs and James Franco’s there,” he re­veals of meet­ing his direc­tor and co-star. “We’re work­ing on the scene. He comes up and he puts his hands in my hair and starts pushing it back, slick­ing it back. Then he takes out his phone and takes a pic­ture of me, and he’s like, ‘OK, you can go.’ I left and I’m like, ‘Did James Franco just push my hair back?’”

With an au­tumn hia­tus from Ma­jor Crimes com­ing up, Gra­ham’s tak­ing a break from Rusty to di­rect a short film. But what of kiss­ing Rene? Has he got used to the stub­ble? “We’ve kissed so many times now it’s just an­other day for us,” he laughs. “It’s an awe­some beau­ti­ful moment and I’m lucky

I got to play such good writ­ing and such an awe­some scene.”

“Ev­ery­one knows the story of the kid get­ting kicked out of his house be­cause he’s gay.”

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