Catching Up with United States of Tara's Keir Gilchrist


By Gregory Miller

Keir Gilchrist plays Toni Collette's gay teenage son on Showtime's United States of Tara. Collete's turn as a mother with multiple personalities has won her an Emmy, a Golden Globe, and a devout following. With the show's second season just under way, we sat down with Gilchrist to talk about his character Marshall's developing sexuality and what's in store for him this season.

A lot of gay characters struggle with being gay, but Marshall seems pretty comfortable with it.
Keir Gilchrist: Maybe it's a bit easier without the turmoil. Maybe it's a bit easier playing Marshall. To be honest with you, I don't really think about it too much.

Last season Marshall experimented with his sexuality, but he never really defined himself as gay. Are we going to see that develop this season?
Yeah, Marshall's big turmoil this season is exactly that. He's trying to find out who wants him romantically. How does he want to be? He's not sure if he wants everyone to know or if he wants to keep it more of a personal thing. And I think throughout the season, he finds a nice place for himself and tries different things -- dating girls and everything else on the spectrum.

Marshall's TV family is really supportive of him. They've never seemed to have had a problem with him being gay. Do you come from a similar family?
I have a very supportive family. They would be just fine with me doing about anything. I think it helped me because when I read the script for the first time and read the breakdown that said Marshall was gay, it never crossed my mind that it might be strange that his family was OK with it. And so having a family who's also supportive helps with that.

Was the dynamic of being gay at your school similar to that of Marshall's?
I don't remember' none of my friends were out. No one I knew was. I don't think I can remember any gay kids at my school -- there weren't any gay clubs. I'm sure if there was an audience, there could have been. But no, I guess Marshall's school is maybe a definite better place to be openly gay.

You once had a guest spot on Queer As Folk. What was that like?
To be honest with you, that was my first job ever, and I was 10. I really remember very, very little. It was my first thing, so I was still kind of figuring out how sets worked.

Having done Queer As Folk, and now playing a gay role on Tara, do you fear being pigeonholed?
I hope not to be pigeonholed in anything. No one wants that. But if people are going to pigeonhole me, people are going to pigeonhole me. It's fine. I've done other projects and played straight characters, too. I can definitely do it.

You've worked with some really famous people like Marcia Cross in Just Peck and the upcoming It's Kind of a Funny Story with Zack Galifianakis. How was it to work with those people?
It was fantastic. I did Just Peck like two years ago now. But it was great. I think it was like the first lead I had in a film. And then, the most recent one I did with Zack Galifianakis was a blast. I mean, Zack's hilarious. Everyone on the set was great.

Do you feel like being on Tara has skyrocketed your career?
I wouldn't say being on Tara has skyrocketed my career. It's definitely helped my career a lot, but I still go out and do auditions and whatnot.

So what do you hope to do more of in your career in the future?
I'd like to do lots of movies because they're faster to make so you get to do more stuff. I want to do lots of character driven stuff. I really don't have much of an interest in huge-budget action movies or 3-D green screen or any of that stuff. It's just not an interest of mine. I'm pretty happy with where I am right now, to be honest. If things keep going the way it's going, I'd be pleased.