Ron Rifkin says he was charged up when
producers of ABC's Sunday drama Brothers & Sisters asked
him to play gay.
Rifkin's character of lovable Uncle
Saul came out gay in 2007. In
a just-released interview with gay glossy The Advocate,
the veteran actor says he relished the opportunity to play the part.
“One of the reasons I was interested
in exploring this character is we don't often see a guy my age gay on
television, explored in an intelligent, dignified, funny serious
way,” the 70-year-old actor said.
“So, I thought, when [Producer] David
[Marshall Grant] approached me with it three years ago and said, what
if Saul's gay? I said, bring it on.”
The Emmy-nominated drama was already
breaking ground with an ongoing romance between Kevin (Matthew Rhys)
and Scotty (Luke Macfarlane).
“There are already two gay characters
on the show – 'Oh, my God, three gay characters? No. The old guy?
No, I don't know,'” Rifkin said. “So it's been sort of a
struggle, if you understand what I mean. It's been a struggle to
really identify this character and give him some weight.”
In the final frames of the drama's
fourth season finale, viewers learn that Uncle Saul is HIV-positive.
Veteran actor Stephen Collins, 62, will guest star this season to
help Saul come to terms with the diagnosis.
Brothers & Sisters returns
to ABC on Sunday, September 26.