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:: S H O W T I M E  L I V E  C H A T ::
with Eric Mabius Feb. 22, 2004


sho_moderator: Welcome to tonight's event. ERIC MABIUS was born and raised on the East Coast and graduated from Sarah Lawrence College. He has starred in more than a dozen films, including "Resident Evil," "Welcome to the Dollhouse," "The Crow III: Salvation," "Cruel Intentions," and "Lawn Dogs." Among his previous television credits are lead roles in "Extreme Team," and "Harvest of Fire," and guest roles on "Fastlane" and "Chicago Hope." Good evening everyone. Thanks for logging on. Eric Mabius is now ready to begin the chat. Let's get started!

eric_mabius: Thanks everyone for watching. Please don't judge my character based on tonight's episode alone! I'm glad I could be a part of this.

willow213: What's it like working on a show this controversial?
eric_mabius: Willow213, I've enjoyed working on the show more than I ever thought possible. When one signs up for a project like this, it's not because of the controversy that it's interesting, but because it's a well thought-out, well planned, hopefully well acted, enjoyable, inspiring project to be a part of.

dddpiston1: Hi Eric. I read that you originally passed up being a part of the L Word project. What changed your mind?

eric_mabius: I had originally read the script for the pilot episode and thought that Ilene was really creating something that we had never seen before on television, and that I thought it was a very ambitious endeavor and that I really wasn't sure if they were going to pull it off. And that was before they had pulled together the cast that they did. I became very interested after I saw the pilot episode and heard who the cast was. It's a difficult thing, especially as an actor, we read many dozens of pilots in a season, and a lot of them are aimed towards the lowest common denominator. I was impressed with the pilot, but because of my cynicism about television, I just didn't think it would work ultimately because it requires such delicate and complex handling that I hadn't really seen much evidence of on television. But I was so excited and surprised, and I'm still constantly impressed by the episodes.

eric_mabius: I choose not to watch the episodes before they air, so I'm looking forward to Sunday nights like everyone else. Good question.

stacers7: Were you nervous at all about taking on a role for a TV show?

eric_mabius: Stacers7, as I said in my last answer, I was a bit of a snob about television because of the lack of what I have viewed as the lack of quality and complex storylines. But this project has established and renewed my faith in television, and I'm not just saying that because I'm doing a Showtime chat. It was the most safe, inspiring, creative environment I've ever been allowed to be in in television. It was very much like doing a film every week, because we had feature directors and we had rehearsals and we had a creative say and input in our characters as Ilene and Gwen and Rose sculpted the characters every week. We'd have notes and they would implement certain suggestions that we would make. So it wasn't hard to do this tv show. I always say this show has spoiled me for all tv shows. I don't think I'm ever going to have this experience again, because it's a difficult thing to realize.

mmmm: Hi eric what do you think appeals to men about the lword?

eric_mabius: I think, mmm, what appeals to the men is the beautiful women, the talented actresses, the complex storylines. I understand women tune into the show for specific reasons, gay or straight, but I think men tune in to get a glimpse into the lives of women they wouldn't have much chance to otherwise, certainly not on television. While "Sex and the City" is its own thing, I mean one is a comedy and ours is a dramatic comedy, I think there's a lot to keep men watching. There's a thing that I was wrestling with as Tim, and I see a lot on the message boards, that some men might tune in because they're watching their idea of a straight male fantasy, seeing beautiful women making love to one another. But the reality is when Tim is in a situation and catches the woman he loves making love to another woman, his fantasy is turned on end. Because no matter who we see, a man with a woman, or a woman with a woman, if they're being duplicitous, it still hurts just as much. In some ways it hurts more because there are certain things that Tim can't provide that Marina is providing. So those wounds go much deeper. So men will tune in to watch beautiful women with one another, but they'll stay because of the reality of the situation. I think that might pull more people in because it's more interesting. Most of the things that we see in film, women on women, is set up for the male audience, but Ilene is aiming for so much more.

michele: Hi Eric, I love the show. How is it like being apart of cast that consist of mostly woman?? What kind of relationship do you have with them off screen?

eric_mabius: It's absolutely fantastic to be on a show surrounded by women, especially because most of the film and tv sets I'm on, it's a male dominated world, and it was so refreshing not to have that. I always say that women for the most part solve creative conflict in a more enjoyable and sensible way, and I don't mean that in a sexist way, it just is. The problem solving in and of itself was an enjoyable process, because there was a sense of discovery and exploration. When we were rehearsing, when we were looking at conflict in the scene, as an actor making suggestions in the scene, it was so much less about one's ego, than it was about working toward a common goal.

linspirit: Do the girls on the show play tricks on you? they seem to have a good connection off camera are you included in the teasing?

eric_mabius: Linspirit, I was included somewhat in the teasing, but usually we would try and dream up, especially Mia and I, would try to play tricks on people who would be coming in as a guest star for an episode, and the directors as well. I won't say exactly what we did, but one day Mia and I managed to make Dan Minahan, who directed the last episode, blush profusely. We spend a lot of hours on set, and one of the best ways to pass the time is laughing. SO we have a ton of fun. Of course, I don't have a lot of scenes with the other actresses, so a lot of the pranks we engaged in it was usually Mia and I dreaming up pranks to play on other people.

mikkibelle: How did you prepare for your role as Tim?

eric_mabius: Every episode has a different feel, obviously when you watch it each week we find ourselves, our characters in new circumstances and new situations, and we have a new director as well. So the problem of how I attack each new script varies with each new script. Some scenes just through constant rehearsal take on lives of their own. If there's a lot of time spent living those scenes as if they were actually happening, so I spend a lot of time existing in Vancouver shooting the character as Tim, trying to be Tim, and how I imagine he would react to those scenes. There's no single way to prepare for the character of Tim. Every one of us, as we move through our lives and our days, we deal with situations as they arise,' so it's kind of like someone asking "How would you prepare for the role as yourself?" There's no hard and fast rule about that. A lot of things are borne in rehearsal. That's a very important part of the show.

wee_ko: Eric, what do you have in common with Tim? Would you advice him about something if you could?

eric_mabius: wee_ko, I think I often said when I was talking with Ilene, discussing the episodes, that Tim is in many ways the kind of guy that most guys try to be. Sensitive, careful, he tries to be these things, he's kind, attentive,' but in every day life, guys often fall short of what they like to be and the things they like to do, and think after the fact, "Oh I should have done that, I should have been that." With the exception of this episode, I think Tim has maintained a nice balance in how he handles everyone he encounters, but as he starts to unravel as similarly as Jenny's character unravels, we see a side of Tim we've never experienced, and Tim himself has never experienced. I know there's going to be a lot of people reducing Tim's behavior to typical, angry, thoughtless, aggressive male, but I think for as many different people out there who might find themselves in this circumstance, they would respond in surprising ways.

seamusvet: Eric, perhaps you might be able to answer the question, what exactly is with "Lisa's" character? What is a lesbian identified man? Neither the men nor the lesbians I know can figure this one out.

eric_mabius: Seamusvet, your guess is as good as mine. I think Ilene is trying to make a point, which over the course of the episodes becomes clear. Pam Grier's comment about if he wants to join the rest of us second-class citizens, then more power to him, was some aspect of the ultimate point that Ilene is trying to make. I don't want to give too much away, but just bear with the character of Lisa, because Devon Gummersall does an amazing job of embodying and bringing dimension to that character.

ryanloral: Eric, is that difficult, working with new directors all the time?

eric_mabius: It's not difficult. It constantly breathes new life into each episode. We have new text every week, but to have someone on board who's up to the challenge of trying to make it new is an important part of the process. They bring out things in us as actors we couldn't necessarily anticipate.

eric_mabius: I also enjoyed finding new ways to communicate with different directors.

lovemmonroe: Why do you think it is so difficult for Tim to forgive Jenny for her infidelity?

eric_mabius: Lovemonroe, it's not just an issue of infidelity. There's a significant amount of duplicity, lies of omission, deceit, and intended vagaries that Jenny was consciously engaged in. If you had a relationship with someone that spanned many years and you had worked towards honesty and communication and respect, only to have that destroyed because of an attraction, wouldn't you find it difficult to forgive?

wer2girlsinlove: Every week someone asks this question and I am interested to hear your response! What does the L Word mean to you?

eric_mabius: I think that Pam Grier's response is best.

gaymarcy: Eric, do you read the message boards often?

eric_mabius: Sometimes someone will tell me about something they read on the message board, and I'll hop on to see. I actually had someone forward an email because it was a friend of an old friend of mine, who had made a really wonderful comment. It was someone I hadn't heard from in years. From time to time, I do, but I don't read the message boards every day. I'd say once a week on average.

loving: Do you think it is even harder for him to forgive her because the betrayal was with a woman?

eric_mabius: Loving it, as I said in a previous answer, I think the thing that's going to surprise men when their male fantasy is turned on end when they find out their woman is having an affair with a woman, it won't hurt any more or less, it's still extremely painful, because you're supposedly in a committed relationship.

wee_ko: Eric, loved you in Resident Evil. Which female character of the show do you identify with and why?

eric_mabius: wee_ko, I think the characters on the show are a great Rorschach test for men and women, according to my mood, I identify with a different character every week. I always think Shane is just cool as hell, no matter what mood I'm in. But I think it becomes clear on the message boards that everyone responds to a different person for a different reason, and that only makes sense. Although it's pretty obvious that everyone responds more to the women than they do to the sole dude!

on_the_bench: What's it like watching yourself on TV?

eric_mabius: I'm not very comfortable with it. When I watch films or tv that I've done, I get very restless and tend to not sit still. A lot of actors are perfectionists, besides merely being egotists. So I see what I like to change about my performance, as opposed to the things that I tried and seemed to have landed well.

bobo: You seem very thoughtful, what do you do when you are not filming. The other women go to each other's houses. Are you a part of this or do you, as the only male, spend your time alone?

eric_mabius: Bobo, no I am not a hermit. Any time I work on a project, and I think it's the same for most actors, a large percentage of the enjoyment we derive is the experience of being together in the same place in the same time. There are so many different realities intersecting in a project like this, and it's a joy to get to know new, talented, vibrant, cool people.

amberle: Has there been any scenes in the show that have made you uncomfortable?

eric_mabius: The scene tonight when I confront Marina at The Planet was a very difficult one to shoot, because there was so much pent-up frustration and anger and resentment, pain and sadness. To convey all those simultaneously, it's a difficult task. I knew it was going to be the only and the last confrontation Tim would have with Marina. So there was a lot colliding simultaneously.

sigma3: What's your favorite episode so far Eric?

eric_mabius: Sigma3, I think, again, that every episode is so different from one another, that depending on my mood I like a different one. I feel that my attachment to the characters grows every week, so there's a cumulative effect, where in each week I think that episode is my favorite so far. But each subsequent week that comes along, my mind is changed again!

cinnamon: If you had to change careers what would you do?

eric_mabius: In the past few years, I feel like I've started to join the adult world. I bought my first home, and I've gotten around to doing some other things I'd always wanted to try. Namely, woodworking. Or carpentry. I know it sounds really boring if you have no desire to explore, but the satisfaction of laboring, and at the end of your day seeing tangible results, is a simple pleasure that I don't have in other areas of my life.

stacers7: Eric, are there any other projects you're working right now? If so, what can you tell us about them?

eric_mabius: Stacers7, I just finished a small horror film with one of the directors from Roger Corman's studio. The title will probably be changed, but it was a lot of fun, and I got to work briefly with Devon Gummersall again. And I took a much needed vacation in Europe for a month. And I'm starting to produce my first project, from a novel written by my writing teacher at Sarah Lawrence College, called "A Different Drummer." Which has been something I've wanted to do for quite a few years now. I finally feel up to the task.

sho_moderator: Any closing comments?

eric_mabius: I just want again to thank everyone for being so faithful and open to the weekly trip we've all tried to take you on. I'm constantly amazed, pleased, and excited by the overwhelming response the project has had. I can't believe I have the opportunity to be part of something so ground-breaking, in the true sense of the word. I hope that the viewers will be patient with Tim, just as each character's discovering parts of themselves, so is he.


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