Openly gay ac­tor on par­al­lels, meet­ing Oprah

GA Voice - - Newsbriefs -

Tye White is hav­ing a mo­ment. Af­ter kick­ing off his ca­reer in 2009 with a hand­ful of tele­vi­sion and short film cred­its, and bolstered by roles in the 2014 VH1 tele­vi­sion film “Drum­line: A New Beat” and a re­cur­ring role as L.L. Cool J’s char­ac­ter’s son in “NCIS: Los An­ge­les,” White nabbed plum sup­port­ing roles this year in two shows that have cap­tured the na­tion’s at­ten­tion.

First up was play­ing Ja­son Simp­son, O.J. Simp­son’s son in FX’s smash hit “Amer­i­can Crime Story: The Peo­ple vs. O.J. Simp­son.” And now “Green­leaf.” While White can’t re­veal much about his char­ac­ter’s arc as the sea­son wraps up, he does warn against view­ers mak­ing as­sump­tions about Kevin Sat­ter­lee.

“As the story evolves, I don’t think it’s go­ing to be some­thing that peo­ple ex­pect,” White tells Ge­or­gia Voice. “The spec­u­la­tion is just that he’s in the closet, but I think that for the most part it’s go­ing to be a dif­fer­ent an­gle to the LGBT com­mu­nity. He’s com­plex, man, and he’s fun to play.”

Part of that fun de­rives from his play­ing a char­ac­ter who is, in essence, play­ing a char­ac­ter to his wife and in-laws. White makes a “Tropic Thun­der” ref­er­ence to de­scribe it.

“You re­mem­ber Robert Downey, Jr.? I’m play­ing the guy that’s play­ing the dude dis­guised as an­other dude,” he says laugh­ing. “This is why I took on the role. It’s an in­ter­est­ing role but the fact that you have a guy that’s du­ti­ful to his fam­ily but he loves his wife. This whole them be­ing best friends and them want­ing to make a fam­ily to­gether, it’s not fake. He’s not a fraud. There’s just some un­der­ly­ing tones and some un­der­ly­ing rea­sons why he strug­gles with his sex­u­al­ity so it’s fun to play as a guy that’s in some shape or form act­ing as well.”

While White’s Kevin Sat­ter­lee is con­flicted, Mar­cano’s Carl­ton Cruise is any­thing but.

“He is an openly gay man who is a preacher’s kid,” Mar­cano tells Ge­or­gia Voice. “So he’s al­ways grown up in the church and has now got­ten to a point in his life where he’s done with hid­ing who he is and he’s fully liv­ing in his truth and let the chips fall where they may.”

As to what drew him to the role, the openly gay Mar­cano an­swers im­me­di­ately.

“It’s me!,” he says laugh­ing. “All my friends, when I au­di­tioned for the role and then when I booked it, that’s what ev­ery­body said. ‘Oh my God, that’s so you, that’s so who you are.’ I’m not a preacher’s kid or any­thing like that but I did sing in the youth choir as a teenager. And I did get to a point in my life where I was like, you know what, it’s not my job to make you com­fort­able with my life. I’m com­fort­able with it.”

As the sea­son has pro­gressed, Mar­cano’s been get­ting a lot of ques­tions from friends, fam­ily and fans about whether Kevin and Carl­ton have some­thing go­ing on be­hind the scenes. Mar­cano says he hopes not be­cause he doesn’t see Carl­ton do­ing that to his wife, but he is in­ter­ested to see what di­rec­tion the writ­ers take it in in the fu­ture.

Aid­ing heav­ily in “Green­leaf ’s” suc­cess is that mega-dose of star power in the one and only Oprah. While they didn’t have any scenes to­gether, Mar­cano says he got to meet her and snag a pic­ture at the show’s wrap party. And there’s al­ways next year for shar­ing a scene with the mogul, as the show earned a Sea­son 2 re­newal two months ahead of the pre­miere.

“I haven’t had a chance to re­ally have a heart-to-heart con­ver­sa­tion,” Mar­cano says. “I’m sure she hears it all the time about how she’s in­flu­enced peo­ple’s lives. When I grow up, I want to be like Oprah.”

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