Last month Showtime's new hit series Nurse Jackie debut to record-breaking numbers. Part of the series' success and much of its gay following is probably due to the gay character named Mo-Mo, played to perfection by Haaz Sleiman and described as "the only gay character of Middle Eastern descent currently on the air and one of the few to have ever been portrayed on television." The Lebanese-born actor talks to Brandon Voss at The Advocate about his role.
On representing the gay community "respectfully":
It’s definitely my responsibility not to stereotype any character, but especially a gay character because of the misperceptions people still have about gays. I really struggled in the beginning with the character because I was trying to find balance and be as authentic as possible, but the way I finally saw it is that he’s just a guy. Even though he’s gay and Muslim, which is a really interesting combination, that doesn’t define him. It’s just a part of who he is.
On being "butch" compared to the other male nurse Thor:
Initially, I didn’t want Mo-Mo to be at all effeminate. I really wanted to focus on his qualities as a person rather than the physical. The director who directed the pilot was leaning more toward the effeminate without even realizing he was doing it, but I didn’t like that, and the writers and the producers were on my side. In terms of Thor, I think the actor himself is very similar to the character, so there is a sense of authenticity there in terms of physicality.
The actor also gives the inside scoop on how he perfected this line: "If I had to choose between George Clooney’s cock and this cup of coffee, I’d say coffee."
Haaz shot to fame as flirtatious muscle boy "Tyson" in Maurice Jamal's The Ski Trip. Although he has been identified by several on-screen gay roles, Haaz Sleiman finally comes out ... as straight ... in the interview and says he doesn't mind the speculation. "It’s not something that would bother me if it did. It’s all about doing good work, and the stuff that comes with it afterward, it is all fun"
Pilot episode of Nurse Jackie is free at iTunes.
Jackie's Strength [The Advocate]