I did something for Gilles Marini that I’ve never done for a man… at least in an interview. After I managed to get an email contact for the current star of Switched At Birth and the former hunk du fox trot on Dancing with the Stars, I sent Marini a quick note requesting an interview. The actor (not his publicist) contacted me within a few hours, said “sure,” and then asked that I quickly send him some questions, as it was his day off and he had some free time. There was no third party involved; no manager telling me what I could and could not ask, no agent saying “we’ll get back to you… and what’s your circulation?” It was just Gilles.
The only caveat was that, because of time constraints, I had to ask the questions in Q&A email format, which, if you’ve read any of my previous GuySpy interviews, you’ll notice I’ve never done before. Gilles Marini was my first, and he got all 10s!
David Toussaint: You’re a busy guy these days. Switched at Birth would seem, on paper, to be a very different show than Brothers & Sisters, your last series. How are the two characters different?
Gilles Marini: Well, just for a start, my character on Brothers & Sisters was more like an artist, a “Non Dad” type of guy with a vision of the world much different than the Walker’s family! My Switched At Birth Character, Angelo, walks a very fine line between being a good, but also “Maybe Dark Character.” The audience never knows with him. Also, the fact that he’s a father who needs to learn how to deal with brand-new daughters, one out of a one-night stand. So, yes, there’s much more information to process and to deal with. I like the idea that the story lines are very complex and make the audience so attached to the series! We are blessed to have such success.
DT: Do your kids like that you’re on the Family Channel now? Do they watch the show?
GM: Yes, they do. It’s been very cool that, finally, my kids can watch something that I do as an actor. LOL. My son loves it cause it looks like many girls his age watch and talk about it at school. Probably pretty awesome for him. Who knows! LOL.
DT: You turned taking your shirt off into an art form on Dancing with the Stars. Do you enjoy it, and does it ever get in the way of being taken seriously?
GM: Well, DWTS is not one of those “needs to be taken seriously” types of shows. It’s a fun, cool-yet-difficult type of show. Nothing is taken at the first degree or I would never have worn those “Hell No Costumes”! I respected the judges and worked as hard as I could. You know, it’s a Reality show; not something I will put on top of my list to get any type of nod as an actor, but more for something to make Americans smile and enjoy. Voila!
DT: You have a lot of gay, male fans. Does that surprise you? And how do you like it?
GM: My man, let’s keep it real. The gay community has been there for me wayyyy [extra “y”s inserted by Mr. Marini] before I ever set a foot on the stage or a movie set. The gay community pretty much made me in this business. From Fred Goudon, the photographer that I met three days before I became a firefighter in Paris. After taking pictures with him, I had a super awesome modeling career, something that eventually sent me to Los Angeles.
To Michael Patrick King, who gave me the chance to push the envelope on SATC, etc., etc. I have many stories like that, and I guess that the most recent one would be the fact that I never was a witness at a wedding in my life, but for the first time I will be on August 8, for my friends’ David and Philippe’s wedding. So I am a proud gay supporter. More than that, I never really like to put on any stickers, like “gay” or “straight.” We are all freaking the same… Just human beings. That is all!
DT: How do you feel about DOMA and Prop 8 being demolished.
GM: We are in 2013… I guess that is all I have to say! It’s time to realize that there are way bigger problems in this world than trying to tell people what to love and how to love. I think it’ a small step, but it is a good one. There is no freedom without equality
DT: You are European: Is gay acceptance much different there than it is in the United States?
GM: I don’t think so. People have a tendency to say that in America people are much more difficult when it comes down to acceptance. I don’t believe in that at all. I believe, actually, that because of the freedom we make more noise about differences, and the world has a tendency of pointing fingers and to laugh about the USA.
But how many of those countries can say that we have complete freedom of press, we are allowed to say or do whatever we want, and, yes, we have an African-American President?! When other countries will show that, then, yes, maybe they will be able to teach us here a thing or two about progress and acceptance. I am not saying that we are perfect—by far—but at least we are trying and not regressing toward extremism and fanaticism. I love this country.
DT: You are now the face of the Perry Ellis Axist Line, and you wrote somewhere that your wife dictates your fashion. Are you good at picking out what to wear yourself, and what do you tell men who ask for your advice?
GM: I like a more classic look. I never was big on having a crazy kind of look, a la The Cure, or too funky. I want to be able to see a picture of me twenty years from now and still feel like I did not look so bad. LOL. Yes, my wife usually dresses me up when she is not too busy. But it’s because she knows me very well.
DT: Sex and the City (the movie) had you doing a full-frontal nude scene, which got you tons of attention. Was it scary, and would you do it again?
GM: If the script makes sense, why not? I believe no one would want to look at me butt naked at age seventy-five. So if it works out for a movie where it makes a lot of sense, then yes! So it was not that scary. I completely blocked out everything around me and became Dante. It’s what you do when you’re an actor… I guess 🙂
DT: Finally, do you still want that DWTS trophy?
GM: Ha ha! I always knew that I would never have gotten that trophy. There are many reasons why. Maybe one day I’ll tell you 🙂 The most important thing was for you guys to enjoy my dances. The rest is just a show… a Reality show! I had fun and I hope you did too, watching us dance!
And when Mr. Marini does tell me why he never got that trophy, I expect him to give me the information… in the flesh. –David Toussaint
Top Photo: Alan Mercer. Middle Photo: Fred Goudon.