Photo by Joan Marcus
Tennessee Williams's Cat on a Hot Tin Roof is currently in previews on Broadway and stars Scarlett Johansson as Maggie and Benjamin Walker as Brick. Johansson is known for her pouty lips and ability to steam up film scenes with her sultry voice. But if it's any indication, her co-star Ben Walker also promises sexy stage time: "We're certainly bringing a sexuality and a vitality to the play in a way that I don't think has been done before," he told Playbill.
Walker was in this past summer's Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and was previously presidential in Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson on Broadway. Now he's filling out Brick's britches, which have always been questionable when it comes to sexuality. After Brick's best friend Skipper—who also confessed his romantic feelings for him—commits suicide, Brick gets bombed on alcohol and it's always been up for debate how he felt toward Skipper (although he's married to Maggie).
Walker is husband to Mamie Gummer, daughter of Meryl Streep, so he's plenty comfortable talking about such things. So Playbill asked how Walker plans to redefine the roll and his opinion on the gay stuff. "I can't tell you that," he said. "It's a strength of the play that it talks about something bigger than that question. If you're asking that question on the way out, either I've done my job really well or I haven't done my job at all — I don't know. Human connection is so much bigger than the categories we like to put it in, which almost ruins it. But I can already hear my mom — 'So was he gay?'"
Although Walker is being coy about Brick's gayness, he admits that the play is all about the sexuality: "It's also about the need to express love and feel love and how difficult that is. It's about the complexities of sexuality and how that's perceived. And it's about the idea of legacy and the future."
Read more about Walker's take on the play here.