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Van Hansis Grabs Emmy Nomination for Portrayal of Gay Teen

Congrats to Van Hansis, who was just nominated for a daytime Emmy for Younger Actor in a Drama Series for his portrayal of gay teen Luke Snyder on As the World Turns. Towleroad correspondent Alan L. created this reel of some of Hansis' scenes.

Hansis told AfterElton in an interview last year: "As far as playing a gay character, it's nothing that I've ever had any negative feelings about. I love my character. In the end, I'm really glad they made my character gay. I'm able to do so much more than the average soap guy gets to do...One of the really interesting things when the speculation started that Luke was going to come out of the closet was the audience was saying on some of the message boards, “I'm not going to watch this show anymore”. Then after the story line got going and people got into it and people thought the show was going to backpedal and make Luke bi or straight, again that's when the fans again said no, no, no. He should be gay."

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  1. The extended clips are great, particularly for anyone not familiar with the show or the character. Some of the most powerful (and best acted scenes) weren't the ones where Luke interacted with other teens, but when he first came out to his cousin Jade (the black girl in the clip, not Lucy, the cousin who is featured) and the scenes surrounding his coming out to his parents (conflicted, but accepting father; freaked-out, angry mother). In fact, the best scenes in the storyline really belonged to the actors who plays Luke/Van's parents, Holden and Lily, on the show. Jon Hensley and Martha Byrne (a former "soap teen" supercouple themselves in the 80s) stood out as Hensley played the father who (as so many parents do) figures out his son is gay almost before his son does, and then has to sort out his emotions quickly in order to be the most loving father he can, and Byrne played the mother so devastated by the news that she lashes out fearing she "doesn't know how to even be [Luke's] mother anymore." For those concerned about Luke's dwindling screen time in the past few months (which, actually isn't that strange for a teenage play heavily in the Summer and support his parents/family storylines until the Summer rolls around again) needn't be concerned. ATWT recently cast Luke's new love interest and the story is set to take off just in time for, you guessed it, the Summer! [Incidentally, GENERAL HOSPITAL intends to bring back gay teen "Lucas Jones," nephew of the legendary Luke & Laura (who went off the canvas when the actor jumped to another soap, partially due to dwindling screen time for Lucas, post-coming out), but no word has been announced re: casting or air-dates.] It is likely, as well, that both of these characters will kiss their boyfriends on-screen. The days where that has been a taboo appear to be well over, frankly. On PASSIONS, we found out African-American teenager Simone Russell was a lesbian when she got into bed with her girlfriend and started kissing, and "down-low" livin' Chad (Simone's brother-in-law, in true soap fashion) being blackmailed with racy sex-footage of his gay-trysts, all managing to make it on-screen with nary a peep or protest. While PASSIONS takes the same-sex lovin' cake for daytime, it's also notable that ALL MY CHILDREN'S BIANCA has kissed multiple women since returning to the show (including a one-night stand and her cheating ex) and her transgender friend Zoe, has, for plot purposes, laid one on the show's resident young (straight) heartthrob in a scene that replayed again the next day for good measure. All, again, without a single protest from any corner. Overnight, Daytime has become a LOT more progressive, for sure.

    Posted by: Soappipe - Blogging the Business of Soaps | Mar 16, 2007 1:25:11 AM

  2. Thanks for the heads-up that Luke will get a boyfriend this summer, Squappie. Of course, being a soap, I'm sure it won't be smooth sailing or "happily ever after" for Luke or the boyfriend because soaps revolve around problems and tension, and nothing ever really resolves. Still, I hope the upcoming scenes with Luke are written, handled and acted as superbly as Luke's story so far. As someone else posted above, these As The World Turns clips are better acted and better done than most gay films I buy on DVD.

    Posted by: phil | Mar 16, 2007 7:54:08 AM

  3. What a surprise to see this thread!

    The person who put together the really great clips really didn't chronicle the storyline of Luke's coming out, our pull together Van's strongest scenes, but rather pulled together some of the scenes related to what was ultimately a minor sub-plot, Luke's falling in love with his best friend and being unable to tell him (what you didn't see in the clip was Luke's friend Kevin, who is also an alcoholic, getting drunk, calling his friend a faggot, and outing Luke to anyone within earshot. Luke and Kevin eventually make up and Kevin's apologies are heartfelt, but that was the last we saw of Kevin onscreen). Soappipe is right that the best scenes involved the parents, and there continue to be great scenes between Luke and his dad Holden (his adopted father, not the Italian-accented bigot in the clips, who is Luke's biological father), who I think every gay kid wishes had been his father. Holden struggled, but is ultimately his son's biggest champion. Luke's conversations with his cousins Jade and Lucy (Lucy--played by Kelsey Grammar's daughter, incidentally--was the blonde, and the black girl defending Luke to Kevin was Jade) were particularly poignant at times, particularly when he comes out for the first time, to Jade, and describes how he fell in love with Kevin, who he knows isn't gay. It was great stuff for anyone who had ever been a closeted teen. So don't judge the show, story, or acting based on the "teen sub-plot" clips (the teens, especially the non-major character ones, hired for their looks primarily, are notoriously bad actors, but they tend to grow into pretty good ones over time). This was a really great story that has already won the Writer's Guild Association award for writing, and is up for a GLAAD award as well. When Luke's storyline picks up again I'd encourage any gay man who knew he was gay in his teens to check it out.

    Posted by: LesterMay | Mar 16, 2007 3:03:08 PM

  4. How neat. I'm actually REALLY impressed by this Van guy. His reactions to a lot of these situations are spot on. Big thanks to whoever assembled the clip. I'll watch the hour-long one on Google and I look forward to more in the future!

    Posted by: Bobby | Mar 29, 2007 12:37:38 PM

  5. As a (nice) coda to this post, ATWT announced all the details on the boyfriend they're giving teenaged Luke. The actor has been hired (his name is Jake Silbermann) and already is busy raising the profile of the upcoming story--Silbermann just recently attended the GLAAD Media Awardsin NYC alongside Van and co-star Jennifer Landon (AS THE WORLD TURNS coming out story lost to AMC's transgender storyline).

    Luke's new boyfriend will work at the local television station and sparks are scripted to fly between the young men sooner rather than later.

    Better still, both ATWT execs and Van have said in various interviews that there are no plans to shy away from on-screen kissing (a taboo that was broken by ALL MY CHILDREN's chaste lesbian kiss, and blown away by PASSIONS' significantly amped up same sex licks by both gay men and lesbians on the show--PASSIONS is chock full of them!).

    So set your VCRs, DVRs, and TiVOs for May 31 (and if you search for pics from the GLAAD ceremonies you can get a peek of Silbermann now). I can't wait to see the compilation reels that will come out of this phase of the story!

    Posted by: Soappipe | Mar 31, 2007 8:42:38 AM

  6. I have watched As The World my whole life. My mom has watched the show since it first aired. We are both disgusted with this storyline between Luke and Noah. We couldn't believe our eyes on Friday's episode, when they kissed. I thought I was going to throw up. I hope this disgusting storyline ends soon, or As The World Turns will be losing at least two loyal fans, I'm sure we're not the only fans that feel this way. If people want to live their life that way, fine, let them, but quit shoving it down our throats.

    Posted by: Lisa Pope | Aug 20, 2007 9:18:03 AM

  7. Maybe if more bigots threw up over Nuke, maybe they would feel better and they will throw up all that hatred and ignorance. Maybe that tickle in their throws is the realization that gays won't be "hidden" or go back into the closet. People said the same thing about interracial relationships on TV (people shoving it down their throats). Their bigotry is a dinosaur ready to die...

    Posted by: Thannyr | May 1, 2008 2:23:55 AM

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