Sunday, August 26th 2012

by: Radio rainbow
Source: soundcloud.com
Transcript: Juststopit & predec2
Video: Ingunn
Redatta da: Marcy

- Welcome back to Rainbow Radio. If you’ve seen any episodes of the Showtime series Queer as Folk, I’m sure you can remember the character of Justin Taylor, the young kid who falls in love with a slightly older guy named Brian Kinney. Well, this morning we have Randy Harrison with us who played Justin in that series.

- Randolph Clarke “Randy” Harrison was born in Nashua, New Hampshire, moving with his family to Georgia, when he was eleven. He attended PaceAcademy, a private prep school in Atlanta and went on to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in musical theatre at the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music. After appearing in various theatrical productions, Randy made his television debut, playing Justin – a gay teen in the American version of Queer as Folk in 2000 which is based on the British television series of the same name. So, good morning, Randy and it’s an honor to welcome you to Rainbow Radio.

- Good morning, I’m happy to be here.

- Tell us a little bit about your family: your mom, dad, any brothers or sisters?

- I have an older brother. My mom passed away this year, so it’s just me and my dad and my brother right now. My brother has a wife; I have two nieces and a step-nephew that are amazing. And then I sort of consider I have a fairly large and intimate friend community in New York and around the country that are very much family to me as well.

- When you’re, uh, growing up as a kid, when did you first start to feel like you might have different feelings towards boys than towards girls and you might be gay?

- Um, I think growing up I had crushes on boys and girls pretty equally all the time. Ha. Which I think might be normal for pre-sexual children. I would sort of fall in love with boys and girls. I remember having a really big crush on the girl who played Oliver when I did a production of Oliver so that was a kind of an interesting thing because she was playing a boy and I think I had a crush on her more as the character of Oliver than as herself (laughing) But I think probably I was maybe a late bloomer 'cause it was after I moved to Atlanta that I first sort of felt that hormonal, sexual urge and realized that it was definitely towards men, probably when I was, I guess, eleven or twelve.

- So, you were about eleven or twelve when you had those feelings that you might be gay…did you tell anybody else about…

- No, I mean, I think I kind of knew…

- Aha

- I…I think my crushes… I don’t know. I mean I'd always thought it was a possibility somehow…someway. I'm not sure why. And I didn’t tell anybody right away, no.

- Okay. Getting a degree in musical theatre, had you ever thought about being a singer as opposed to being an actor?

- I have later…not then, but more…actually more recently I…I’ve been more interested in making music and performing music more so than I was. I definitely, when I went to theatre school, I was very, very much an actor, and that was my focus. And I could sing as well and I wanted to… you know… use that to expand, you know, my job possibilities (and what I was capable of doing) but it’s actually only more recently, I mean, within the past five or six years that I’ve gotten more into music…specifically, and performing music and thinking of myself in some very small way, as a little bit of a musician. But, you know, it’s a less promising career than acting. So I'm not about to shift to it…

- Now most people probably remember you from Queer as Folk. How did that whole audition come to be……were you familiar at all with the British Series that come before it?

- Yeah, I hadn’t seen the British series, but I'd read about it and I was aware that they were making an American series. And I knew about the character of Nathan in the British version which ended up being Justin and knew that it would be a good fit for me. I'd played some similar type characters already in plays, um, Yeah and I had just moved to New York from PetersSchool and I was freelancing with an agent, and I got an appointment to be put on tape for the show.

- Uh, hum….
And luckily I don't even think I was one of, like usually they put people on tape in New York and then the casting director sends the tape to La and they sort of star a few and make sure the producers watch the ones that they think are the best. Apparently mine wasn't even like starred, the producers just happened to watch it and think that I was good for the role, so that was lucky for me. And then they ended flying me out to LA two separate times to do further auditions for the producers and writers and Showtime people. And then right before I was to move back after the second callback, I was informed that I got the role.

- At any of those auditions and ones that followed …did they know that you were gay or did you tell them that you were gay?

- No, it didn’t come up.

- It never came up, ah.

- No, I mean it would be …horrifically unprofessional to ask about sexual orientation in an audition.

- I was thinking considering the role you were gonna play… did you pattern playing Justin Taylor after anyone in particular?

- No…not anyone in particular. I mean I read the sсript and I feel like I caught a fairly clear idea of who the person was… And sort of as the show progressed it became clear in different ways sort of who he was in the context of all the different characters on the show and sort of the role he played and the dynamic of the whole show in general. But it wasn't modeled after a specific person, no.

- That’s kind of interesting to think about the way the show Queer as Folk was, you know, very much a very gay show, but not all the actors in it were gay. I mean, were there a large ratio of gay actors to straight ones, or…?

- No, you know, I think it was…I don’t know the percentage… No, there weren't that many gay actors on the show. It was mostly straight actors, I would say.

- Okay. This morning we're talking to Randy Harrison who appeared as Justin Taylor in the Showtime series Queer as Folk. And we’ll continue the conversation with Randy in just a moment here on “Rainbow Radio”.

- Welcome back to “Rainbow Radio”. This morning we have the pleasure of talking with Randy Harrison who appeared as Justin Taylor in the Showtime series Queer as Folk. And when we left we were talking about some of the other characters, some of the other actors that were gay or straight in that particular series. And now Gale Harold who played Brian Kinney isn’t gay. And… there were some pretty steamy intimate sex scenes between you two. How did you two handle that? Was there anything that he wouldn’t do?

- It was normal. It’s his job. Whether it’s a woman or a man, a straight or a gay sex scene, if you’re a professional actor and you're hired to do it, it’s not weird or difficult. No, I mean, we both…there were certain things both of us wouldn’t do, but it would only have, it had to do with the context of the show and the characters, it wasn’t about anyone being uncomfortable, you know, faking a gay sex act.

- Now most people, of course, know you from Queer as Folk. But that's not all that you do… you also do some stage and…have done some stage and film work… Which media do you prefer the most? Television, stage, film?

- It sort of depends on where I am at any given time, I think. The theatre is my home and I was…did nothing but the theatre until I got the show… and I’ve done almost entirely theatre non-stop since the show stopped shooting. So… it's always been where I belong and what I love deeply, but I really miss a set. I definitely, right when the show ended I was anxious to not be on a television set for a while. But I’m starting to miss it a lot, actually, I miss that pace, I miss sort of the intimacy with the crew and sort of, I mean, theatre is very collaborative as well, but it’s a different. It just feels completely different. The manner of performing and working and coming up with the performance is completely different than with ensemble television, so…. When I’m away from one I start to miss the other. And when I’m doing a lot of one then I start getting sick of it.

- Being more specific, what have you been up to since Queer as Folk stopped production?

- I’ve been on Broadway and I’ve been on off-Broadway. I have done a bunch of shows on Off-Broadway. I've done a lot of Shakespeare, I've done Williams. I’ve performed in a bunch of regional theatres, I’ve done some musicals, I shot some shorts, I have a small part in a movie.

- So you’ve been busy?

- Yeah, I work constantly. I think if it’s not on television most of America isn't aware that it exists.

- Do you think you changed a lot as an actor or I mean maybe even as a person compared to pre-Queer as Folk and post?

- Oh, absolutely. I mean I’m thirty four. I was twenty two when the show started so I’m a different person, I've had a tremendous amount of life experience. I had a lot of training… acting training and also a lot of…played a lot of the roles; I've changed as an actor and worked a lot of different people, I’ve been, you know, influenced by. Both my professional and my life experiences since the show ended. I would definitely think of myself as a much different actor then when I was when I was doing Queer as Folk.

- So can you tell us a little about the Arts Bureau that you co-founded in 2006?

- Yeah, the Arts Bureau was a nonprofit organization that I started with a friend. Pretty much, I mean, we had a large group of really talented artists, designers, writers, directors, actors, musicians. And it was a nonprofit that we created really to help and support this group of people. So, you know, we helped to produce concerts, helped to produce albums, helped to make a short film…two short films…shot a feature; what else have we done? We did a lot of like, photography stuff and video art. Things like that. It was…you know…an organization created to help get a bunch of people working and help there and give them opportunities that they wouldn’t have gotten.

- What sort of projects are you up to at the moment, right now?

- Right now I am performing in “Silence the Musical" off-Broadway which I started doing about a month ago and I’ll be doing it for another month. It’s this really hilarious parody of “Silence of the Lambs”, the movie “Silence of the Lambs”. And I got involved with it because my good friend Jenn Harris has been playing Clarisse. She originated the role and she called me and it was like: “Come do it for the summer!” And I thought: “That's amazing, I will”. And the other project that actually involved her which I wrote up, I have a company called the QWAN company (QWAN), uh, and, it, we are: me, Jean Harris, Jack Fervor, Philip Taratula, Matt Wilkas, and Christian Coulson and we’ve done, we've produced a bunch of different readings in New York and we about to do a double bill of our two biggest hits up in the Berkshires next Monday.

- If you hadn't been an actor, what do you think you would be doing now?

- I think, I would probably be a musician or a writer of some sort. I think I absolutely would have had to have had a career in the arts in some capacity, I would have self-destructed. So I would hope that I would be a writer or a musician.

- Do you play an instrument?

- I do. I do. Not well. I play a bunch of instruments pretty badly: piano, guitar, I play the ukulele a little bit; I play the accordion a little bit. What I love doing most is, um, electronic music or, I mean, recording stuff and looping it and programming things through various programs and devices like that. It’s what I enjoy most.

- What is on your plate right now; what are you hoping to accomplish in the future?

- Ha. I just want to keep performing and keep being able to support myself being an actor. I've always been relatively low ambition, if you can say that, but it was always just my dream to be a professional actor and to be able to provide for myself and my family by doing something that I valued and that was really creative and that I knew was extraordinarily Difficult to be a successful in So. I mean I continue to do that and it's still my main goal. I definitely wanna get back, I wanna get back on a camera again. I feel like I, the goals that I set for myself when Queer as Folk ended which were all sort of focused on development and a sort of theater career, I've achieved most of those goals at this point.
So now I’m ready to see what is next, to get back on camera, to start working more in different mediums. I also wanna be more creatively involved with things, help to create things, maybe, you know, produce, write, direct.

- Uh, hum…

- Mostly I just wanna pay my bills.

- Is there a web-site where anybody can follow you and your career?

- There is not. I have a Twitter-account where…I use mostly to just announce things that are coming up, that I’m being involved with. So that people know, which is… I think, it’s Randy Harrison01. But I don’t have a web-site, no.

- So, Randy Harrison, who appeared as Justin Taylor in the Showtime series Queer as Folk. Thanks so much for being our guest this morning, here on “Rainbow Radio”. It’s been a really pleasure, so thank you.

- My pleasure – thanks a lot.

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