Shameless Gay Teen is ‘The Anti-Kurt’
Showtime’s new family series Shameless features a character “unlike any gay teenager on television right now,” actor Cameron Monaghan promises.
Vanity Fair’s Brett Berk spoke to Monoghan, who co-stars alongside William H. Macy and Emmy Rossum in the new show following a family with an alcoholic Dad (Macy) banding together and barely getting by, about broaching new TV territory for gay teens.
So let’s talk about this role: Ian Gallagher. For the folks who haven’t seen eleven-hundred previews for the show, Ian is clearly meant to be a bit…incendiary, sort of the anti–Kurt Hummel.
He’s the anti-stereotype. He never does anything that’s stereotypically perceived as “gay”. He’s tough, he’s street smart, and he’s pretty much unlike any gay teenager on television right now.
That’s for sure! He smokes, he relishes porn, he’s in the R.O.T.C., and he’s having lots of sex—some of it with his married, Muslim boss. I think he’s great. But what did you think when you read the pilot?
When I first got the sides, it was definitely a little shocking seeing the content and the language. So at first I was like, What is this? It’s crazy! But it was really intriguing how no-holds-barred the situations and dialogue were. And I was so interested that I read the whole script, and I was hooked. I became a fan of the show before I was even cast.
There’s inevitably a part in these kinds of conversations where the interviewer subtly segues into asking you about your own sexuality by posing a question about how you connect personally with the character, and where you answer by either decrying labels and alluding to the universality of human experience, or shock everyone by coming out as straight or gay. We’re at that part now. Have you thought about how you want to handle this?
Yeah. You know, I’m not gay myself, but it’s a role I’m very happy to play. I’m always happy to support the gay community. Ian’s a really fantastic part. A non-stereotypical part. And I think a lot of teens—and a lot of gay teens, especially—will really relate to the role.
In what ways?
I mean, he’s going through a lot of problems. He’s living in a neighborhood where people don’t accept homosexuality, so he’s kind of closeted and insecure about it, and he feels like he has to hide it, even from his family—and in some ways he kind of does. He’s going through a lot of struggles, and I think a lot of teens in America are also going through that.
Read the entire interview on VF.com. Shameless premieres Jan. 9 on Showtime’s biggest Sunday ever.
Watch the trailer and behind-the-scenes for Shameless: