Marc Anthony Samuel is burning the candle at both ends. The on-fire actor is playing for keeps on the small screen with his portrayal of gay male nurse Felix Dubois on the daytime soap General Hospital. On the big screen, Samuel is starring in the out-of-the-box, gay-themed action/comedy/thriller Hot Guys with Guns, currently making the rounds on the film festival circuit.
Windy City Times: You have been playing Felix Dubois, the gay male nurse, on the daytime soap opera General Hospital since December 2012. How did you get the role?
Marc Anthony Samuel: My management team set me up on an audition with General Hospital casting director Mark Teschner. We had a great read; then they called me a couple of days later and said they want to do a screen test for me. I went in and did the screen test and connected with actress Teresa Castillo (Sabrina Santiago) who is one of my best buddies now. I felt a great connection to her on camera as a person. And a few days later they offered me the role.
WCT: There was some backlash against Felix, where viewers saw him as the stereotypical sassy Black character.
Marc Anthony Samuel: I completely understand. When you have a character that is introduced as a minority, you're going to have, as a minority, a greater sensitivity to make sure you have fair representation in the media. Some people may have been ready to see another stereotype played out and maybe they jumped a touch fast.
My father was one of the people who said, "Look, sonI'm happy that you got this job but I want to make sure that you're not playing a stereotype. I wouldn't want you to do it as a Black man and I wouldn't want you to do it for the LGBT community. It has to be an honest representation." And I had no fear of it because Executive Producer Frank Valentini and Head Writer Ron Carlivati had already talked to me about what they were looking for and I was on the same page with them.
WCT: Felix has some of the funniest lines on the show. Do you ever get to ad-lib?
Marc Anthony Samuel: Ron can write the stuff! Granted, they let me have a little fun, too. I think what they've done is study what I bring with my personality to the character and they change the writing and the character says stuff the way I would say things.
WCT: Felix has not had to confront homophobia. Would you want him to deal with some type of gay-bashing?
Marc Anthony Samuel: Honestly, I think that would be great. It does exist out there and there are those people who are, for lack of a better term, scared, uninformed, and they may have a limited understanding or education of what it means to be gay, lesbian or transgendered in the world. We have to reflect that part of the world too because even though we have TV shows which are fantasy and they take you to another place, you also have a responsibility to show what's out there and an alternative way to deal with it.
WCT: You did two episodes of the gay-themed Web series Old Dogs & New Tricks. Will you be doing more episodes in season three?
Marc Anthony Samuel: I don't actually know. I told them that I'm open to it, depending on what they need. That goes for any type of work I do, if I'm the one that fits the bill, then I'm always down and we just work it out. I just love being able to play different kinds of people whether it's sassy Black nurses [laughs] or soldiers or husbands.
WCT: Doug Spearmanwho wrote, produced and directed your new film, the gay action/comedy/thriller Hot Guys with Gunsalso appears on Old Dogs & New Tricks.
Marc Anthony Samuel: Doug is not only a fantastic actor; he may even be a better director and writer. Hot Guys with Guns is really a great movie. Most of these films prior have been about a summer when the young kid comes out or the young woman comes out and nobody in her family accepts it. Those are important stories but sometimes you've go to have fun stories too and action films.
WCT: Describe Hot Guys with Guns and your character.
Marc Anthony Samuel: [The character] Danny Lohman is an actor and he's actually trying to prep for this hot cop show called Crime And Punishment. In order to properly prepare for it, Danny enrolls himself into a detective course to learn how the character thinks and feels. He comes to find that he's really good in this class.
His exPip Armstrong, played by Brian McArdleis a trust-fund baby and a very popular person within the gay scene. Pip asks Danny if he could find his missing jewelry after he is the victim of a robbery. Everything unfolds from there and there's a whole lot of stuff that nobody knew about, that was going on behind the scenes in Hollywood.
WCT: Hot Guys with Guns has been at film festivals in Miami, Boston, Kansas City and Toronto, where it had its international premiere. Any plans for it to come to Chicago?
Marc Anthony Samuel: I don't know, but I most certainly hope so because that's my hometown. Nothing would make me happier than to come back to Chi-town and see my family. I also lived in Oregon too so it would be great if it could get to Oregon.
WCT: General Hospital celebrated its 50th anniversary this past April. What do you want to say to the fans?
Marc Anthony Samuel: For those people who have been enjoying it, supporting it and watching it, we more than appreciate them. It's great to be able to have them as our base. We love our fans.
For General Hospital updates, go to abc.go.com/shows/general-hospital . To see more on Hot Guys with Guns, visit www.hotguyswithguns.com .