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In addition to exploring its women’s often tenuous (and hilarious) relationship with God, ABC’s new hour-long comedy, GCB, takes a look at a very unique situation with Blake, a closeted gay man whose wife, Cricket (Miriam Shor), is in on the secret.
“It was one of those things where the more I work on it, the more I realize why people would make this kind of arrangement,” Mark Deklin, who plays Blake, tells The Hollywood Reporter. “And how it could be done in a way that still had honor and integrity.”
THR spoke with the 44-year-old actor about what’s coming up on the freshman series, how he came to understand his character’s choices and how the native East Coaster finds a connection to the Southern characters he has played during his career.
The Hollywood Reporter: There’s a whole Gone With the Wind-themed event coming up on GCB. What can fans can expect from that?
Deklin: It’s going to be fun. We all get to attend a Gone With the Wind-themed wedding. Carlene [Kristin Chenoweth] and Ripp [David James Elliott] are renewing their vows. It was fun. Personally, I got to dress up in a confederate uniform and I got to be one of the guards that stands in the aisle as Ripp and Carlene go down. It was fun. The whole episode was a lot of fun.
THR: What can you say about the baby talk ABC has teased for Blake and Cricket?
Deklin: Forgive me, I’m going to be cagey just because I think some of the surprises are so fun. Both these episodes coming up are two of my favorites. Miriam and I had so much fun in the baby-making episode. I truly can’t say too much, because it is so full of delightful little surprises. I don’t want to ruin anything. You’re going to see us run the whole gamut of emotions with comedy and sweat, which devolves into some great bedroom antics.
THR: I have to ask this for your fans. Can we expect you to go shirtless in this sort of bedroom scene?
Deklin: The bedroom antics, yes, I just don’t want to give away any plots. Let’s just say yes, you’re going to see some skin.
THR: How have you wrapped your head around that relationship and how they make that arrangement work for them?
Deklin: For sure. That was a challenge at first. It actually grew into a fantastic creative opportunity but, yeah, coming in to it, I have to admit that I had some prejudice. I don’t know anybody who’s in the closet. It felt sort of very old-fashioned to me. I suppose I probably had some judgment about what kind of person would be in the closet, would sort of live a lie. Of course, I had to get past that. As an actor, you have to get past judging the character.
Miriam and I had so much fun. The friendship that we developed with one another as actors, I think, comes through. That’s a great way to approach [the on-screen relationship]. At the end of the day, they have a lot of fun together and they’re a great team. They have this family that comes first and they value that and want to expand it, which we’re going to see in the upcoming episodes.
THR: Do you feel that the series could push your character further?
Deklin: This season, what we’re definitely exploring more of is the marriage itself, rather than what goes on outside of the marriage. So, will boundaries be pushed down the road? I would imagine probably, but I’m not privy to what’s coming should we get a season two. And so that’s the dynamic that we’re exploring more of, and how does it affect the community around them. Are there people who suspect? Are there people who are utterly clueless and would be devastated if they knew? Are there opportunities for blackmail and/or outing or betrayal down the road? We’re going to explore all of that.
THR: You’re originally from the East Coast, yet you seem so comfortable playing Western and Southern characters. Where does that come from?
Deklin: For some reason, I don’t why, I do have family in the South, but I’ve always had this affinity for things Southern, and I don’t know why that is exactly, but I’ve always loved Westerns. I’m a history nerd. I’m a big civil war buff. It’s never felt foreign to me. There are two places, the south and Ireland, both of which I’ve never lived in, but I have connections to both where I’ve just always felt very at home, very comfortable. I don’t know what it is. I’m a Yankee, I grew up in Pittsburgh, and I lived in New York for years. I should be a stranger in a strange land right now, but it doesn’t feel that way to me. I feel like an honorary Texan, if I can presume to say that.
THR: What else can we expect from Blake?
Deklin: On episode eight, which will be the following week, it’s a big church musical, and again I don’t want to give anything away, but Blake definitely has his moment to shine in the church musical, and what Blake is wearing… it’s pretty revealing. It’s fun and funny, but it’s also, again, you’re going to see a lot of skin. If you want to see skin, you’re going to see skin.
THR: Are there any plans to reprise your recurring character on Hawaii Five-0?
Deklin: I’m not privy to their meetings as far as what they have in mind for Stan, so any answer I give you is just conjecture on my part. But I think a lot of it depends on GCB. They stopped writing for my character when I booked the pilot. That’s when Stan kind of took a back seat and I didn’t do any episodes last year while I was shooting GCB. I didn’t go to Hawaii at all, and then right around the time we were wrapping the season we got a call asking if I would come out to Hawaii to do a couple episodes, which is great. I’m very grateful that they’ve called me back and the problem is CBS has to ask ABC for clearance every time they want to use me. I’m sure that’s a pain in the ass and kind of annoying, and I understand that.
Where we left off in Hawaii Five-0 is that Scott Caan’s character had the great pleasure of shooting me, but not killing me. So, I think it would be very easy for them to go either way with that. I think they could easily bring him back if they want to, but they could also make him go away. I think a lot of it will depend on the success of GCB and whether or not we get picked up for a second season. And you know what? However it works out, it’s a really nice problem to have.
On Sunday, ABC will air two back-to-back episodes of GCB from 9-11 p.m.
Email: Jethro.Nededog@thr.com; Twitter: @TheRealJethro
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