|Out of the Closet With
|Out of the Closet With
11th Annual SAG AwardsFelicity Huffman, Marcia Cross and Eva
A few months after she faced erroneous international reports
that she was coming out as a lesbian, Desperate Housewives
actress Marcia Cross attended a closing night panel of the Los
Angeles gay and lesbian film festival Outfest to talk openly
about how she reacted to those rumors and the upcoming season of
the hit show, which has just earned 15 Emmy nominations.
Cross--who earned her first Emmy nomination for her role as the
uptight Bree Van De Kamp-was joined at the Directors Guild of
America building in Hollywood by some of the gay men involved
with the show, including creator Marc Cherry, co-executive
producer John Pardee and story editor Joshua Senter, as well as
lesbian writer Katie Ford. Actors Ryan Carnes-who plays the gay
gardener Justin-and Shawn Pyfrom-Bree's son Andrew, who had a
kissing scene last season with Justin-also attended the panel
discussion, which was titled "Queer is Just a Frame of Mind on
When reports first came out that Cross was a lesbian, based on a
faulty blog posting, the actress said she called her alleged
girlfriend and laughed about it. "In 24 hours it was around the
world that I was a lesbian and I didn't care," Cross said. Then,
she was shocked when Barbara Walters asked her to talk about it
on The View, insisting it was news.
"There I was telling the world I was just happy," Cross said. "I
will tell you after it happened I was angry because first: it's
nobody's business; and second: it's a not a question that you
can easily answer on national television; and third: is this
what is important in international news today? Aren't there more
important things going on? I was angry, especially because what
if I was? How dare anybody decide when and what I do in privacy
of my life?"
Speaking of privacy, the plotlines of the hit show are carefully
guarded, but last season Cherry noted that within two hours of
completing some of their scripts "it was on the Internet and
people were reading about it in Outer Mongolia." He said they
tracked down the leak to someone sending the script for closed
captioning for the deaf, and the person was escorted off the
studio lot. This season, however, Cherry did reveal a few
secrets, including that the season is going to be darker and
odder than the first season -- revealing a few thing that even
surprised the actors.
"We will get really, really dark," Cherry said, speaking more to
his actors on the panel. "Shawn [as Andrew] has been working out
this summer so we're going to have that shirt off a few times
this season. We've seen the vulnerable gay guy so much on TV [in
other shows] and I thought 'Let's make him a sociopath' and
Shawn does sociopath so very well."
Asked about the budding relationship between Andrew and the
gardener, Cherry said, "I didn't plan on bringing a gay
character like this so quickly on the show and Andrew sure has
this weird sociopathic bisexual thing going on and I can tell
you that he will use his sexuality in horrible, horrible ways.
It's so horrific! He will mess with his mom so bad this year,"
said the show's creator, turning to Cross and adding "Sorry,
The show's writing staff is about half gay, and Ford quips, "We
think one guy is bi-curious, but I won't reveal his name."
Cherry said he doesn't care about the sexuality of the writers
and said, "Just because you're gay and lesbian doesn't make you
a good writer, and I know some of you aren't. You can always go
write for Scrubs. "
Cherry said he's not surprised about the gay following the show
has, saying "Any time you have four or five really strong women
doing desperately dastardly things, gay men seem to get a thrill
out of it. And the moment you put a woman in an evening gown
mowing the lawn, that's gay."
But Cherry said, "The real news is that we have a big following
with straight men, too, I think that's the headline."
Cross laughed about how much people love her rather vicious
Martha Stewart-like character, saying, "I feel a great
responsibility and an honor and I want everyone to know that in
London they think Bree is sexy. Those British!"
Her role is modeled after Cherry's real-life mother, and so when
he came out as gay to his mom when he turned 31, and his mother
answered, "I'd love you even if you were a murderer," he said,
"I put that in Marcia's mouth." He also put a few other words in
her mouth early in the show until TV censors started paying
"I got to say 'scrotum,' 'ejaculation' and 'erection,'" Cross
Network censors clamped down on the show, Cherry said, after the
Nicolette Sheridan towel-dropping episode during a promo for
ABC's Monday Night Football, but they didn't try to stop the
male-male kiss between Justin and Andrew. "We just had to show
that they were wearing bathing suits when they were in the
pool," Cherry said.
Meanwhile, Cherry scratches his head about being asked whether
there is some magic formula for creating a hit show.
"I don't know, we were all unemployed 40-year-olds on a
year-and-a-half ago," Cherry said. "It's baffling." And, as far
as writing the show, "It's kind of like sausage, if you found
out how it was made, you'd be appalled."