Actor Fabrizio Filippo talks about his stint on Season 2 of Queer as Folk.
When Melanie and Lindsay take Justin to a violin recital as part of the Queer as Folk episode airing May 13 on Showcase, little do they know that the budding artist may in fact wind up making more than just music with his school’s brightest new virtuoso, Ethan Gold, who’s played by Toronto actor Fabrizio Filippo.
Needless to say, Ethan catches the eye of young Justin, who is feeling spurned by Brian Kinney. “I think Justin is drawn to his confidence,” says Filippo on the phone from his home in Toronto. “[He] sees an artistic bond with him, thanks to their passions.”
Upon first introduction to his character, viewers might assume that Ethan Gold would turn out to be the next Brian Kinney. Filippo, the star of the sleeper Gary Burns hit Waydowntown, however, suggests that their characters are in fact quite different. “Brian’s confidence is really a mask and he is motivated by the desire to have his cake and eat it too, while my character has a confidence that stems from the fact that he knows he’s just so good at what he does.”
Over the course of this season Justin has tried to understand Brian, whose commitment to their tenuous relationship waffles on a weekly basis. He’s tried the ultimatums and the meaningless flings but nothing has forced Brian to show his hand. Until now, we suspect. “Brian’s going to have to finally put his neck out and decide if he really wants to be with Justin,” reveals Filippo.
While it’s likely that Ethan will rock the romantic boat for Justin and Brian, and that Ethan will have a tough time finding his place among the Liberty Avenue gang, Filippo says gelling with the real-life cast was easy. “Being such a tightly knit ensemble one would think that it might be tough, but the cast welcomed me from the beginning,” affirms Filippo. “Being a guest [actor] can sometimes make you feel like an outsider, but it wasn’t that way with Queer as Folk, which is a testament to the cast.”
That being said, though, Filippo is no stranger to the new guy role. Over the course of his already accomplished career, which includes writing and acting for movies, television and theatre, he has guest-starred in countless series, including the celebrated FOX series Action, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Due South and Providence, which, he concedes, is a large part of his self-tailored career design. “I like to work for about a year, so to speak, and then spend the cash I’ve earned the following year when I concentrate on my other interests, such as writing.”
For a young talent with acting and writing credits (he wrote the acclaimed plays Waiting For Lewis and Things are Falling Always) on his resume, Filippo has remained realistic, not letting success go to his head. “My grounding has come from the fact that I don’t have expectations any more. After the success of Waydowntown I kind of expected all the calls to flood in, and when they didn’t I was kind of angry for short period of time. But it was a reminder that success is eighty percent work and twenty percent talent,” he says. “When I went to the States, thanks to looking a certain way, and I don’t mean that to sound pretentious, I found myself being pigeonholed as the leading man, when in fact, the reality is that on the inside, that’s not me.”
With such a diverse skill set, what hat does Filippo think we’ll see him donning next, actor, writer or director? “It’s hard to say, right now in my life I am content with the way things are, let’s just say I’m working on some stuff.” With another successful series appearance under his belt, the sky’s the limit for Fab Filippo.