Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

One for the Boys: As the L Word's Resident Straight-Arrow Hunk, Eric Mabius Will Win Gay Hearts Everywhere

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

One for the Boys: As the L Word's Resident Straight-Arrow Hunk, Eric Mabius Will Win Gay Hearts Everywhere

Article excerpt

Cover Story

Eric Mabius must have thought he was getting seriously Punk'd. When he arrived on the Vancouver, Canada, set of The L Word, he knew that his job was to replace Party of Five actor Scott Bairstow, who was forced to leave the show in May after being charged with second-degree child rape. (In December, Bairstow entered a guilty plea to a reduced charge of felony assault committed with the intent of molestation; at press time he was awaiting sentencing.) What Mabius didn't know was that the other members of the cast were already on episode 5 and that he'd spend nearly two months playing catch-up.

"I was running around like a lunatic," recalls the star of such films as Welcome to the Dollhouse, Cruel Intentions, Resident Evil, and the upcoming Resident Evil: Apocalypse. "Some weeks I was doing three different episodes with three different directors and having to completely jump around chronologically. It's the, closest I've ever come to completely losing it."

Mabius is breathing easier these days, for not only did he survive the ordeal, he shone. As Tim Haspel, a hunky swim coach at the University of California, Los Angeles, who discovers that his writer girlfriend (Mia Kirshner) is having a lesbian affair with the gorgeous coffeehouse matron (Karina Lombard), Mabius breaks your heart. And like the rest of the cast, he looks great doing it. "Eric's a wonderful actor, and he really enriches the show so much," gushes series creator Ilene Chaiken. "Plus I just like having him around. Even as a gay girl, I like it."

The feeling is mutual. "Everyone felt for me because I was the only guy, but I thought it was heaven," says Mabius, whose girlfriend is a high school classmate he was reunited with two years ago. "I mean, I went to Sarah Lawrence, and I chose that college for a reason: It has three times as many women as men. Women are much more interesting and fun to be around than men."

Speaking of men, Mabius is fine with the notion that he's going to be the primary eye candy for gay male viewers. Just don't expect to see him pumping up at your neighborhood gym. "I don't really work out," admits the former junior national luge team member. "I run in the mountains because I live there, but I hate gyms."

"There has been nothing close to this show before," he says when asked what he hopes audiences get from The L Word. "I think it's going to strike a chord with every kind of person, straight, gay, female, or male." Yes, even his straight brothers. "Even if guys tune in to watch tits and ass, they're going to end up with a lot of touching, realistic scenes," he promises. "People identify with real emotion."

--Dennis Hensley

Halley says, chortling. "What about the one where there's me and three other girls at a beach house, and one of them says, "This [yogurt] is like a weekend-with-no-boys good," and we all laugh? I mean, what straight woman would be excited about a weekend with no boys?"

Halley's offscreen lesbian tendencies kicked in right around the same time as her thespian ones, when she left Nebraska at 17 to study acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City. "Soon to follow was my whole evolution," she explains. "I had fantastic boyfriends in high school whom I loved very much, but I started tapping into my true sexuality in my later years in high school--basically failing in love with my best friend--but I wasn't sure what it all meant. …

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