Sean Maher on “EastSiders”. Plus “Much Ado” About His Partner


Two of our favorite things come together starting today. First, our new fave webseries, Eastsiders, will be releasing a new episode and, second, fave actor (and Hot 100 regular) Sean Maher pops up for a few episodes starting tonight.

Will he be stirring things up between the fractured couple Cal (Kit Williamson) and Thom (Van Hansis) on today’s fourth episode? And what about Joss Whedon’s upcoming Much Ado About Nothing, where Maher plays the dastardly Don John?

I spoke with Maher last week to find out about these things and more.

TheBacklot: Let’s talk about Eastsiders since you’re popping up in this week’s episode.

Sean Maher: It’s adorable right?

TBL: Yes! I’m really enjoying it.

SM: It’s so well done and it’s so thoughtful and I love how flawed everybody is and how quirky. That’s really, I think, sort of a different take on it.

TBL: How did you get involved, Sean?

SM: I knew Kit and I know Constance (Wu, who plays Kathy). We had all done a class together years and years ago. I stayed in cut with Kit and his partner John Halbach who’s also on the show [as Ian]. I think Kit had reached out to me around the time that they were putting that show up on YouTube. He had asked me if I would Tweet it and I jokingly was like, “I’m not going to Tweet this homosexual smut!” I was kidding and then I was like, “Yes, thanks for writing a part to me.” Then next thing I knew he was like, “I’m going to write a part for you.” I was like, “Oh, Kit, I was just teasing.” Then that was it.

It was confusing because I’m so new to the webseries thing. I just didn’t know how that works. They sent me a bunch of the stuff that I was going to be doing without the script. So, I sort of had to piece things together with him. Then we shot it all in two nights. I thought I’m doing one episode which turned into three episodes, four, five and six. Truly, it was so much fun. It didn’t feel like work at all. I was hanging out with Kit and it was so laid back. It was probably the most creative freedom I’ve had in a long time on something.

Sean Maher in EastSiders

TBL: Can you tell me what your role is on the show?

SM: Kit’s character, Cal, gets a job in the gallery. I’m the gallery owner so I’m his boss. I don’t want to give too much away. It’s sort of an interesting character. I kind of take a strange liking to him, which is sort of playful at first and then we’ll see where that unfolds.

TBL: Well, the really important question, do your clothes stay on in this, Sean?

SM: Do my clothes stay on? Yes. I think there may be a shot of me buttoning up. My clothes stay on this time around, I think.

TBL: Webseries are starting to pop up all over the place. Do you think this is kind of the wave of the future?

SM: Yeah. What I’m finding and one thing that’s inspiring is I’m finding a lot of actors or writers, primarily actors who are saying “I’m so tired of sitting around and waiting to be chosen for a role. I’d rather it’s a webseries.” It just seems like it’s more accessible for an actor to become a writer, director, producer, actor and tell their own stories. There’s like camaraderie. It brings a lot more fun back into this art of storytelling.

I think if it hits and connects, which it seems like Eastsiders is doing, then it’s a whole other spectrum. So, I think it sort of gives a platform for artists to take control of creating what they want to create initially. Then as with anything there’s always a gamble to just getting it out there. It’s easier to get it out there and see what sticks.

TBL: And with Much Ado about Nothing, that was very low budget and you guys just did it in a very short amount of time.

SM: We were sort of going blind. Obviously it’s Joss [Whedon] and then the energy on set was extraordinary and it felt like we were creating something special. But still, we shot this in like 12 days and we all wore our own clothes. There were all these ifs. I think when we first screened it as a cast, I was like ‘what is this going to be?’

It’s really, really, really good, like blew me away. And on top of that, I brought my dear, sweet partner Paul who I think he probably read Much Ado maybe years and years ago but he didn’t remember anything. He comes at movies very differently than you and I do. He’s there as an audience member looking to be entertained. For him to sit there and truly get the entire essence of the movie and enjoy it as much as I did I was like ding, ding, ding. That’s it right there. That’s how I know that the movie is good is if Paul likes it.

TBL: He’s your barometer?

SM: Yeah. It’s like his favorite movie is Mrs. Doubtfire so for the genius that he is and he’s an extraordinary businessman, he comes to my work and when we go see a movie together, I’ll pick a part from the movie and he’ll be like, “I just kind of liked it. I just enjoyed it. I laughed over here and I cried over here.” He just wants to sort of just sit there and feel and get lost. That’s what happened with him and the movie.

TBL: Maybe that difference in how you both approach it is why the relationship works.

SM: I think that’s why it works. Sometimes it’s refreshing to go and see something with him.

TBL: Do you have anything else in the pipeline coming up?

SM: Yeah. I’m going to do this indie short called Forever. We’re trying to get that off the ground. I think I’m going to go do that in July, which is also another LGBT movie. It’s a really beautiful little film. They approached me about it and it was interesting. I was blown away by it.

You can watch Eastsiders right here on TheBacklot. Much Ado About Nothing will be in theaters on June 7th.

sean-maher-2Sean Maher photographed by Clinton Gaughran for The Backlot