Opens Up… About Cal Opening Up His Relationship in Season 2 of EastSiders
BY Mike Jenkins
Kit Williamson may have begun his career on stage in the Tony-nominated revival of Talk Radio, but he became a star on TV. He’s best known for his roles playing Ed on “Mad Men” and Cal on “EastSiders,” the critically acclaimed LGBT series he created and directs.
The first season of “EastSiders” focused on Cal and Thom (played by the dreamy former daytime soap actor Van Hansis) as a couple trying to stay together in the aftermath of infidelity. Season two, available now on Vimeo on Demand, finds them united once more and exploring an open relationship.
How do you feel about open relationships?
I think that loving, committed relationships come in lots of different forms.
Of course you know why I’m asking. Cal and Thom try opening their relationship in this season of EastSiders.
They’re trying to figure things out. They broke up at the end of last season, but now they’ve started dating again and are wondering where they go from here. How do they navigate this relationship?
Things get pretty steamy for your character. Did you purposely write the script so that Cal got a lot of action?
The second season is an exploration of the role sex plays in relationships, so this time around, everyone gets a lot of action!
Do you get jealous watching your real-life fiancé John Halbach, who plays Ian on the show, make out with Constance Wu?
So jealous! It’s a running joke that I made him play the straight character in the show out of spite, but I swear that’s not how things went down. It was just the right part for him.
How does he feel about watching you make out with Van, Matthew, Sean… the list goes on and on.
[laughs] He knows it’s all in a day’s work.
Don’t you hate when actors pretend that love scenes aren’t fun to film?
They’re not! Especially while I’m directing. It’s easy to get self-conscious, which kills the spontaneity. It’s hard to give notes while you’re making out with someone.
Is it true someone gets the clap this season? Did you have to take the show there, Kit?
Absolutely. I won’t say who gets it—you’ll have to watch to find out—but the show deals with it very graphically. It’s not a condemnation of the character at all, but anybody who is sexually active needs to fully understand the risk. Statistically, we all know a lot of people who have gotten STDs, but nobody talks about it. There’s a lot of stigma, and I think that stigma leads people down some pretty stupid paths. We approach it with the same irreverence the show approaches everything.
You make it funny?
It’s the funniest episode of the season! The entire cast of the movie “Gayby” plays the staff of the STD clinic. I wanted to replicate the experience of getting tested, from the creeper in the waiting room to the tense time waiting for your rapid HIV test results. And of course the rectal swab.
Fans will be surprised to hear the show has moved from Logo to Vimeo. Can you explain why?
I was really inspired by the way that Vimeo is changing the game for independent content creators.
Is it like Chelsea Handler moving from E! to Netflix? Are you betting that TV’s future is in streaming networks?
Almost everyone I know watches TV on their computer these days. It’s getting harder and harder to tell the difference between a TV show and a Web series, and I think that’s awesome. Our show is six half-hour episodes. The first season of “Looking” was eight half-hour episodes. Granted, they had more money for their first episode than we have had for two seasons, but the medium is the same.
Life must be crazy these days.
Life is crazy! John and I are busier than we’ve ever been, but we’re also closer than we’ve ever been.
Have you guys set a date yet?
We just did! We’re getting married in Palm Springs in early 2016, and we’re also celebrating with family and friends in Mississippi and New York.
You found love and marriage. What comes next?
I don’t know, maybe a second cat? Or a third season? We’ll see!
The first two seasons of “EastSiders” are available on Vimeo on Demand at vimeo.com/ondemand/eastsidersseason2
Photo By: JonoPhoto.com