Jensen Atwood is a man of many talents. Gay fans probably know him best for his work on Logo's (AfterElton.com's parent company) Noah's Arc. But Atwood is also an accomplished singer and dancer having appeared in music videos for Destiny's Child, Toni Braxton, Ashanti, Lil Mo, and other well-known acts.
In 2005, Atwood appeared with Halle Berry in the Emmy-nominated Their Eyes Were Watching God before becoming an audience favorite for his role as Wade on Noah’s Arc. Now fans of the supernatural soap opera Dante’s Cove can look forward to the temperature getting even hotter at the Cove when Jensen joins the cast for the third season set to premiere on here! next week.
Atwood recently sat down with fellow castmember and AfterElton.com writer Charlie David to discuss being on the show, whether he can really do magic, and playing gay again.
AfterElton.com: This year you joined the cast of Dante’s Cove for their third season. Tell us about your character.
Jensen Atwood: I play the role of Griffin, the bisexual warlock who is a representative of the Tresum Council who has come to Dante’s Cove to set things straight. No pun intended.
AE: This is your second role on a "gay" show and this time you play a bisexual role. Do you have any concerns about being typecast?
JA: As long as I don't play the same role. I’m happy. The roles of Wade and Griffin are very different. As are Johnny Taylor and Snoop. I’ve been blessed to have a pretty diverse career.
AE: How would you describe Dante’s Cove?
JA: Dante’s Cove is like a gay Charmed, but pushes the boundaries of what you’re used to seeing on television.
AE: Griffin has a very generous attitude when it comes to sex. Basically the world is his convenience store. Was it strange to move to such a promiscuous ‘flower-child’ role after the monogamy of Noah’s Arc?
JA: What was strange was creating meaning for the things that have been created [for the show]. Like Tresum Magic for example. I know this will be a shock to some, but I can’t really do magic. So to make it as real as possible was a fun challenge.
AE: The cast has exploded with new and familiar faces like Jenny Shimizu, Jill Bennett, Reichen Lehmkuhl, and yourself. Now all the boys and girls liked to toss around the football except for you and Reichen. Care to explain yourself??
JA: I had a great time with all of the cast. It was torture to watch you guys toss the football around. I love football. But as you know I chose to keep my fingernails long for the character. So playing catch would have jeopardized the continuity.
Okay, Okay. Basically, I didn't want to break a nail. The first description sounded better though.
AE: What’s it like to act alongside infamous diva Tracy Scoggins?
JA: A pleasure. She makes really interesting choices. And I feel I'm a better actor from working with her.
AE: You’re most well known for your role as Wade on Logo’s Noah’s Arc. The show was a landmark showcasing the lives of gay African American men. What was it like to work on the show?
JA: Working on the show felt like being with family at times. Together we started a project we believed in. No money involved. Just a love for the art and a belief in each other.
AE: I thought Noah’s Arc was so hot. I begged Patrik-Ian Polk to create a role for a skinny white boy. ‘Let me be a pizza delivery boy or Dude playing checkers #2!’ I didn’t care! And now there’s a movie being prepped. Will it be like Rachel and Ross on Friends? Will Noah and Wade get hitched? What's the status of the movie?
JA: I wish I knew. I am so out of the loop. From what I understand the movie is still moving forward. But I have yet to find out if I will be a part of it.
AE: I’m sure there will be a stampede of fans throwing a fit if you’re not in it. In Noah's Arc, Wade goes through a coming out process which starts with a gay guy and a straight guy as friends. Then curiosity takes over. Do you think it’s common for straight guys to consider having an encounter with another guy, especially in light of gay and alternative culture being so chic right now?
JA: No, I don't think that's common for a straight guy at all. But because of the gay and alternative culture becoming more mainstream, I think it leaves room for those that aren't sure of their sexuality. Or for those whose sexuality isn't as simple as gay or straight.
AE: There’s a whole DL or Down Low phenomenon that is sometimes relegated to the Black and Hispanic community. Do you think with shows like Noah’s Arc, the DL Chronicles on here! and Oprah bringing on fence jumpers every fifth episode there will be a change in the community? Will more men just cut the middle ground and come out?
JA: I think some people feel comfortable in the middle ground. It’s a trip how DL has been demonized. I think the question is, why would a man have to pretend to be something that he is not? I think it could be easily answered knowing the history of our society.
AE: For some it’s becoming common for both straight and gay couples – either married or living together – to seek out extracurricular activities on the side. How much does our generation need to adhere to society’s traditions or are we at a place where it’s suitable to set our own rules?
JA: I would like to think living in America I have the right to be free. And any union between consenting adults is between those two, those three, or however many you can manage to have a productive positive and loving relationship with.
AE: On a completely different note, is it hard being one of the most beautiful men in the world?
JA: Thanks, Charlie…
AE: On set, we joked because you live in South Central, yet sound like you’re from Martha’s Vineyard. Is it difficult becoming a success in Hollywood and still maintaining your roots?
JA: That's funny. It is difficult becoming a success in Hollywood. But it’s easy to maintain my roots. I love my family. And they love me enough to not allow me to get lost on Planet Hollywood.
AE: Who’s a better kisser – Tracy Scoggins, Darryl Stephens, Gregory Michael or Halle Berry?
JA: Tough competition but Halle takes it!
AE: We’ve been playing a lot of poker when not shooting. You’re such a sweet guy I can’t imagine you bluffing..Which is probably why you beat me. You smile and I fold – here, just take my chips! Since we’re almost done, fill me in on your most common play – fold, check, or bet?
JA: You know me, Charlie. I'm all in
AE: Die hard fans will know you don’t only act and possess dimples to rival Antonio Sabato Jr. but you also sing. Where can we take a listen?
JA: I'm still at the very early stages of my music project. And I feel like things are moving in slow motion sometimes. Soon I should have something playing on my web site www.jensenatwood.com.