Realistic Portrayals Win ‘Brothers’ Praise

Mar 6, 2007  •  Post A Comment

Monday’s salute to ABC’s freshman series “Brothers and Sisters” took a serious turn as several audience members praised the family drama for its sensitive, realistic portrayal of gay characters.

Creator Jon Robin Baitz said, “We have come far enough in certain aspects of the culture — Ann Coulter’s epithets notwithstanding — and Touchstone Television and ABC have been wildly encouraging. They never said, ‘Less men kissing,’ or anything of the sort.”

At the event, part of the Museum of TV & Radio’s 24th annual William S. Paley Festival, series star Matthew Rhys said that frankness was part of what drew him to the part of gay lawyer Kevin. “I loved the fact that his sexuality wasn’t the defining characteristic of who he was.”

Mr. Rhys also joked that he took the part because “I was about to be deported back to Wales,” surprising many in the audience with his natural accent.

Complimented by moderator Pat Mitchell on how American he sounds on the show, Mr. Rhys demurred. “We were shooting the last episode, and Ken [Olin] shouted cut and said, ‘Can you not sound like you’re from Middle-earth?'”

Sally Field said Mr. Baitz won her over by saying he wanted to tell a story about a matriarchal family, and “to explore how women age.” Mr. Baitz said Peter Coyote “is visiting us” as a love interest for Ms. Field’s character.

Mr. Baitz also, in answer to an audience question, said Tom Skerritt would continue to return in flashbacks as the patriarch of the Walker family to explore his relationship with his children.

Getty family scion Balthazar Getty won laughs with his reason for taking the part: “The money.”

And when Dave Annable was asked if his character interested him because of how he allows the show to deal with the Iraq war, he said, “Yeah, that’s one of the reasons, besides getting to meet Harrison Ford…,” drawing the mock ire of co-star Calista Flockhart as well as the audience’s laughter.

(Editor: Romanelli)