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Luke Macfarlane excited about his new gay role on ‘The Night Shift’

Actor Luke MacFarlane arrives to the 19th Annual 'A Night at Sardi's' benefitting the Alzheimer's Association on March 16, 2011 in Beverly Hills, California.
Actor Luke MacFarlane arrives to the 19th Annual 'A Night at Sardi's' benefitting the Alzheimer's Association on March 16, 2011 in Beverly Hills, California.
Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Actor Luke Macfarlane is excited about his new role on the NBC hospital drama “The Night Shift.” The “Brothers & Sisters” alum plays Rick, the boyfriend of semi-closeted Drew (Brendan Fehr), a doctor who is also a former military man. As Rick is introduced, Drew shows immediate discomfort with having his personal life collide with his professional life. In an interview with The Backlot published Monday, Macfarlane talks about the complications of the relationship.

The show will explore how military gay couples handle their relationships, which is a reflection of real life. With “don’t’ ask don’t tell” no longer in effect and many gay couples now being able to receive equal benefits on a federal level, coming out and being out is still an issue. Macfarlane, who is gay in real life, recognizes some of the issues that still exist with gay military personnel.

He offers his own insight on the issue in the interview. He says, “I think that it’s like anybody in the world. It always takes a certain amount of courage to just say, ‘this is what I am.’ People are very reluctant to define themselves. It takes a lot to say, ‘I’m this, I’m that.’ We know it’s okay theoretically to be gay, but sometimes you just don’t want to be known or seen.”

That is the issue that motivates the character of Drew in “The Nightshift.” He is a character that just wants to be seen as a doctor and not a gay doctor. Drew is also a very aggressive character that gets balanced out by Rick. But, according to Macfarlane, there are times when there is a role reversal. Drew takes on the role of the caretaker in instances where Rick’s anger may come out.

As far as playing opposite a straight actor in intimate scenes, Macfarlane says he was “impressed” with the seriousness Fehr puts into his work. Just last week, Fehr admitted that kissing another man while in character was “uncomfortable” for him. He stirred a bit of controversy when he said, “I don’t like kissing guys.” He was one of the first actors to actually speak out about his discomfort about doing a gay scene.

In the interview Macfarlane talks about his previous role on “Brothers & Sisters,” playing both straight and gay characters on television, his future projects, but refused to give any information on his personal life. He said, “I never talk about my personal life. I’m a healthy and happy guy.” Luke Macfarlane can be seen on “The Night Shift” Tuesday nights on NBC.