By JOE LEARY
As Luke Snyder on the award-winning soap opera As the World Turns, actor Van Hansis is breaking new ground as half of daytime television's first same-sex couple, Luke and Noah. Joe Leary spent 24 Seconds with the Emmy nominated actor.
24: When the sexuality of your character Luke was presented to you, what were your first thoughts?
VH: I knew going into the show that they were going to make Luke a gay character but I didn't know how long I was going to stay on the show. I knew where they were going with the storyline but I didn't know if he would get a love interest, but it's great that he has and it's been a fun opportunity for me as an actor.
24: You've been hailed in the press for the role, and magazines even refer to Luke and Noah as one of TV's super couples. Did you anticipate that kind of response?
VH: No, I guess not and I don't know if I believe that kind of response either. Maybe for the moment we're a power couple but it's great to have the press and the fans respond so positively, but I certainly don't walk around thinking that I'm a soap superpower.
24: Not everyone has endorsed the idea of a gay couple kissing on television. What's your response to the negative press?
VH: I kind of feel like I'm just doing my job. There's always going to be controversy but the positive has far outweighed the negative by staggering amounts. I try to focus on the positive. My mom always taught me that there's always going to be people that just don't like you, and that's life. I think it's a very important story to tell. The naysayers say that it doesn't have a place and that's just not true - it does, because there are gay couples everywhere in life, so why not show it?
24: This story has prompted a lot of response and a huge increase in ratings. What kind of feedback have you had from people who have actually been affected by what they've seen you do on screen?
VH: I have had the most incredible fan response, much more so than I could have ever imagined. Our fan base is a really diverse group of people. We have gay fans, we have straight fans, and a lot of straight women fans. Hearing the stories of how our storyline has helped kids come out and helped parents accept their kids ... is very touching.
It's great to know that what you're doing is helping people and I really do think that in some way we are helping people.
I have no idea why a paper in Vancouver is interviewing him, but more Van is always a good thing!