No Gay Kiss for 'Bionic' Isaiah
July 17, 2007 12:19 PM
Producers for “Bionic Woman” grimly stayed on their talking points after NBC co-chair Ben Silverman saddled their female-empowering sci-fi drama with gay-unempowering actor Isaiah Washington.
“We believe in second chances,” said executive producer Jason Smilovic. “When somebody does something wrong and you have a systemic problem, the best way to change that problem is not by casting them outside the system. It's by allowing them to make amends. So rather than excommunicate somebody, we felt it was better to give him a second chance.”
When asked if Washington would have been hired if he was a white actor who used the n-word, Smilovic didn’t take the bait. “That’s a theoretical question that I really can’t answer,” he said.
Asked if hiring Washington is could be perceived as disrespectful to the gay community, Smilovic said, “Absolutely not. … We embrace the gay community. … We are hoping that they are going to watch the show. … We are in no way making any judgments about what was
said. … This is about making great entertainment, and we found a great actor to do that.
One critic suggested, since producers are interested in allowing Washington to “make amends,” scripting a gay kiss for his character. Smilovic rejected the idea as “breaking down the third, fourth and fifth wall of television.”
Producers also took the opportunity to potentially alienate another interest group by confirming, as posted below, that Jamie Summers' hearing-impaired sister will no longer be hearing-impaired. She will now be a hacker.
Producers also defending hiring another actor on the show: lead Michelle Ryan, who certainly looks the part of Jamie Summers, but some have raised the question whether villain Katee Sackhoff might have been a better choice.
“I’m not worried about Michelle Ryan,” said “Bionic” executive producer David Eick, when a critic suggested Sackhoff upstaged his lead. “Katee’s a pure ensemble player. … There’s a real sense in the pilot of [the appeal] being 50-50.”