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ATWT: Van Hansis Breaks New Ground
Topic Started: Oct 27 2007, 07:47 PM (316 Views)
Steve Frame
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http://www.jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/200...7/ent/ent1.html

'As the World Turns' Van Hansis breaks new ground on daytime television
published: Saturday | October 27, 2007


When Luke Snyder, Van Hansis' character on As the World Turns, came out a few years back, the fan reaction was mixed. Pretty much everyone - characters on the show and fans of the show alike - has come to accept and appreciate the character of Luke.

The writers and producers of ATWT took a very big and brave step when they decided to bring on a male love interest for young Luke. While in the real world this is an everyday occurrence, in the soap-opera world, this definitely was a first. So how did Van react when he found out that Luke was finally going to get boyfriend?

"When Jake (Silbermann, Noah) first came on the show, I knew that he was going to be a love interest for Luke. I think it was vital for ATWT to show Luke as a well-rounded character by giving him a love interest. If they were having him come out as a homosexual only to have him be asexual, that would not have been realistic."

Negative reactions

So far, the fan reaction to the pairing of Luke and Noah has been mostly positive. Van says: "It's been really wonderful. There has been a great response with fan letters, emails and even people stopping me on the street. I had a woman write to me about her trying to deal with the fact that her son had recently come out. She said that by watching the show, she realised that her son isn't a different person because of his sexual orientation."

While Van has received some negative reactions, he doesn't let it get to him. "I try to distance myself from the negative stuff. People are, of course, entitled to their own opinions; just back up opinion with intelligence. What I would say to critics of this storyline is that you need to question in your own mind what really makes you uncomfortable with it."

Breaking ground

Van credits the writers for the fan acceptance of the character of Luke and his story line. "Being gay doesn't define Luke's life. He's just a normal kid who's a little bit dorky. ATWT has been on the air for 51 years. I think the writers are excited to tell this new story and to tell this new story well. The writers are really breaking ground."

Van hopes that Luke and Noah's story will pave the way for acceptance and understanding. "I hope this story opens doors for people to understand one another. It wasn't too long ago that people had the same issues with interracial relationships. As a country, we need to accept each other for who we are. We need to build each other up and make ourselves stronger, not try to tear one another down."

Van also can see Luke and Noah becoming the next supercouple, a title that originally had been reserved for heterosexual couples. "I don't see why they couldn't," Van says. "Whatever the writers write for me, I'll do. As long as the audience responds well, I don't see why not."

- Cindy Elasvky
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Charmqn
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I am glad daytime is breaking new ground with Gay couples like Bianca/Lena, Bianca/Maggie, and now Luke/Noah.
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