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5 Things We Learned From Reeve Carney, Including Why He Likes Being Naked

5 Things We Learned From Reeve Carney, Including Why He Likes Being Naked

Photography by Danielle Levitt

'I try to go as far as I possibly can.'

"One of my favorite costumes on the show -- or one of my character's favorites, I should say -- is various states of undress," Reeve Carney says when discussing his omnisexual character on Showtime's Penny Dreadful. "That can be terrifying, and I'd never done anything like it, but the worst thing you can do in that kind of situation is go halfway. I try to go as far as I possibly can."

Here, five other things the actor revealed in advance of the show's premiere May 3 on Showtime.

Grey Area:

"I had the great pleasure of accidentally locking lips with Joel Grey at his birthday party a couple years ago. We were both going in for a cheek kiss and I somehow caught some lips there. So Josh Hartnett was the first man I truly kissed, on or off screen, but I can't leave Joel out of it. That was an honor for me."

Killer Queen:

"It's hard to pick a single favorite singer, but if I had to, I'd probably pick Freddie Mercury. The thing about him that was so beautiful and incredible was he was able to take these things that were so deeply personal to him and bring them from the inside out, and magnify them in a way that comes across not exactly as exhibitionism, but as something in the same category."

Master Strokes:

"For my sex scene with Brona [a blood-hacking character dying of tuberculosis], to get it just right, our makeup artist stood behind her with a makeup brush soaked with fake blood. Our director said, 'We're going to have five thrusts, and on the fifth thrust, you throw the blood!' And that's what we did. So I was staring at someone you don't see on screen, but who's very much a part of the scene, as far as I'm concerned."

Fruitful Upbringing:

"The West Village was a perfect place for me when I was young. I grew up there in the '80s with an interesting combination--I was raised by two hippies, and my grandfather was an episcopal minister who was involved with the Civil Rights Movement. I've always gone with the flow, and I'd like to think I'm an open-minded individual. I'll always remember this guy named Rollerina--an elderly man who'd where a ballerina outfit and go around on roller skates. He had a magic wand that he'd bless people with. I love that. Growing up in a place so culturally rich opens you up to new experiences."

Leaps of Faith:

"Although I would never skydive, I equate acting, and the desire to take on challenges as an actor, to the experience one might have skydiving, in that the farther you jump away from that plane, the safer you are. Just jump, and go for it, and the farthest you can get from the plane--or from yourself--is the safest place."

Watch a clip of Reeve Carney discussing his Dorian Grey character below:

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