My chat w/Van Hansis about ‘Kiss Me, Kill Me,’ co-star Gale Harold, partner Tyler Hanes, ‘Eastsiders’ and ATWT’s Luke
I’ve long been a big fan of Van Hansis who won me over years ago with his portrayal of Luke Snyder on As the World Turns.
It’s a big week for the gifted actor with the release of the sexy gay thriler Kiss Me, Kill Me. In the film, Van is at the center of the action as a man who blacks out while confronting his cheating boyfriend (Gale Harold). When he comes to, the boyfriend has been murdered and he’s the prime suspect.
The four-time Emmy Award-nominated actor is best known for his long-running role as Luke as well as for his role as Thom on the popular web drama Eastsiders.
Van is now 35 and came out publicly in 2014. He spoke with me recently about his new movie and a lot more.
You’ve done a lot of on-screen work but Kiss Me, Kill Me is really your first lead role where all the action is built around you. What did you think when you saw the movie for the first time?
Van Hansis: I’ve seen it a bunch of times at festivals and am so excited by the reaction that it’s getting from people. It’s super fun to be at the center of a mystery, I had a great tine making it and I’m thrilled with how it looks and am excited for more people come to see it.
You get to do all kinds of things in this movie. You are romantic, you are grief-stricken, you are resourceful and you even get to be a little bitchy. How did you land this juicy role?
Van: The way the film came to me was (Eastsiders creator and co-star) Kit Williamson. He suggested to (director) Casper Andreas and (screenwriter) David Michael Barrett to take a look at me. They liked what they saw.
You and Kit have such strong chemistry in Eastsiders. It’s no wonder he recommended you.
Van: ‘He’s been absolutely fantastic, I’m such a big fan of his. It was so nice of him to recommend me for Kiss Me. We had only shot one season of Eastsiders at that point. This was something so different from Eastsiders. It really exists in different noir-ish world.
What as the shoot like?
Van: We shot for about a month and a lot were night shoots which means we get to set at 4 pm and shot all night along. You are dealing with a lot of exhaustion which can help for not overthinking.’
You worked opposite Gale Harold in his first gay role since playing Brian Kinney on Queer As Folk. What as it like to work with him?
Van: ‘I had never met him. The first day we met was the first day we shot together. He’s an incredible actor. He really put a lot of thought into his performance which I think is something, unfortunately, you don’t always see. He wanted to talk about the character’s relationship. It’s always awesome to work with an actor who thinks so deeply about what is happening. He comes from such an awesome pedigree with Queer as Folk.
No doubt there are some fans of both of yours that there wasn’t really a love scene in the film between you and Gale.
Van: There was a kiss in there on the roof. There was no sex scenes in the film, that was a conscious choice.’
Eastsiders has been so popular and fans are hoping there will be a third season. Your character of Thom was not always a nice guy which was a departure from Luke on the soap opera.
Van: Playing Thom on Eastsiders has been one of my favorite jobs I’ve ever done. Any time I would be able to get back to that world I’d be thrilled to do that. He’s really not like Luke and that’s really fun. Obviously you want to play different characters so it’s fun that he’s so different. I think he’s a little more grown up than Luke, he was always a brat.
But Luke was so beloved. What do you think Luke would be doing now if As the World Turns were still on the air?
Van: I think Luke is probably in politics somewhere, probably very upset about Trump winning. I think he’s living in Chicago – in a big city. He’s going to be a politician of some sort. He might be with Noah. If he’s not he’s very good friends, very close.
Luke’s relationship with Noah (Jake Silbermann) covered so much from coming out to living together to getting shot and going blind. You two were so good together then came along the sexy Dr. Reid Oliver (Eric Sheffer Stevens). Talk about chemistry! It leaped off the screen.
Van: Eric is an absolutely fantastic actor. I thought the character of Reid was super interesting and unlike any you’ve seen in soaps. In retrospect there was more chemistry between Luke and Reid and I think it was the fact that he was older than Luke and it forced him to grow up. But Jake is one of my closest friends to this day – I just saw him last weekend.
In real life, you are in a relationship with Tyler Hanes who is starring on Broadway right now in Cats as the Rum Tum Tugger. How do you two manage to juggle two such busy careers?
Van: He is amazing. The thing about being with Tyler is we are each others biggest support system. I’m gong to see him in Cats against tomorrow, every time I get to see him I am blown away by how talented he is, I am so in awe. It’s thrilling to see him have such awesome success, I couldn’t be more proud.
You came out publicly a few years ago. Have you noticed any difference in terms of fans or your career?
Van: I honestly don’t think much changed. I don’t know if i was expecting anything to really. Not anything tangible that I’m aware of. Maybe things have changed in ways that I don’t see. But I’m also think it’s important for me to keep focused on itself and not try to figure out what other people’s perception of me are.