At 46, Mark Deklin is reaching the age at which some actors might be less willing to disrobe onscreen for fear of not looking their best in front of fans. But for this stage and TV actor, it’s a matter of liberation. “Oh fuck it! If I’m 40 and you still want to see me with my shirt off then go for it,” Deklin says.
On Devious Maids, Lifetime’s primetime soap, there’s no shortage of shirtless moments or dramatic plot twists. The second season — drawing to a close on Sunday July 13 — is very much a Marc Cherry production, who also created Desperate Housewives, as Deklin explains.
“There’s a level at which you’re not surprised [about the twists and turns] because you know what you’re signing on for,” Deklin says. “It’d be like standing in line for a roller coaster and being like, ‘Why is it moving so fast?’”
But Deklin says he's ready for the ride. In the past 15 years, the actor has made his mark on several iconic primetime soaps, which didn’t lack those dramatic twists. The actor talked to Out and revisited his roles on some of favorite shows, including Sex and the City, GCB, and — Cherry’s other wild ride — Desperate Housewives.
What he learned from his first TV role as Joe on the daytime soap opera, Guiding Light:
"I learned to respect soap opera actors in a way I hadn’t before. I had a notion about what that form was. After working on that show and seeing how on the fly they shoot — they are getting a new script every single day — and they are having to make quick choices, and to commit to those choices immediately and then move on to the next one. That’s not easy."
Being recognized for his “tits” on Sex and the City:
"People walk up to me on the streets and say to me, 'Show me your tits.' I know they are not asking me to show them my tits, but it’s a way of winking at me and saying, 'I saw you on Sex and the City.' It was an iconic show, and it was a big deal for Kristin Davis to be topless."
Not knowing what exactly was happening on Desperate Housewives:
"It was very last minute. All I knew was that I was the new guy dating Gabby [Eva Longoria]. That’s all I knew. Then I found out I was a widower and I had a little girl that she was coaching in a beauty pageant. So we went on a few dates together. But I had no idea what I was doing, who I was supposed to be, where I was headed, if I was a killer. I had no clue: Nobody knew where the story was headed. You just went with it."
The burn of Fox's short-lived series Lone Star getting canceled:
"To have a show with that kind of pedigree to be cut off so unceremoniously scared the hell out of everyone in the industry. That’s now the way the industry is: If you don’t get those numbers right away, you’re doomed."
Working with Betty White on Hot in Cleveland:
"My daughter came to visit the set. She and Betty hit it off like gangbusters. It was so cool to see Betty, who was 89, and my daughter was 2 — these two people at such different places in life — totally get each other. I can’t say enough good things about her. She’s just a treat. She’s just yummy. That’s the best word for her."
The surprise response to playing Blake Reilly, a closeted gay man, on ABC's dramedy GCB:
"It might say something about my own judgment and the way the character opened my eyes a bit. All my gay friends are out. I didn’t think that I knew anybody that was in the closet. I think I had a certain judgment of someone who would be in the closet. The only templates I had in my head were self-loathing: Heath Ledger in Brokeback Mountain and Dennis Quaid in Far from Heaven. I remember saying, “In 2012, how does someone stay in the closet, really?” But we found this model — the key to it was that he wasn’t lying to his wife. He wasn’t lying to himself or to his wife. They just had an arrangement, and it worked for them in their particular social circumstance. What I discovered was their marriage — the seemingly most off-kilter marriage — was in some ways the healthiest on the show."
The Devious Maids finale airs on Sunday July 13 at 10 pm EST on Lifetime.