This fall, after three years of occasional appearances on Wisteria Lane, Tuc Watkins is joining “Desperate Housewives” as a series regular.
The actor, who plays one half of the street’s gay couple – Bob (Tuc) and Lee (Kevin Rahm), will head to Los Angeles in mid-July to join the girls – Teri Hatcher, Eva Longoria Parker, Felicity Huffman and Marcia Cross – as a full-time cast member. Before that happens though, Tuc will finish up a run in “White’s Lies,” an off-Broadway play pairing him opposite Tony-award winning actress Betty Buckley.
“They made me a series regular on ‘Desperate Housewives’ next year, so that’s great and the timing works out perfectly,” he recently told AccessHollywood.com. “I’m doing the play for eight weeks and then when ‘Desperate Housewives’ stars up again in mid-July, I go back to do that on a hopefully more [regular basis].”
In “White’s Lies,” which is currently running at the New World Stages in New York City, Tuc gets to flex his muscles – both acting and pectoral – as Joe White, a roguish divorce lawyer and lady-killer whose mother’s (Buckley) dying wish is to see her son produce a grandchild.
“I love playing characters that – on paper – are completely unlikable and you have to figure out, ‘How do you translate this character to an audience and make them still root for the guy?’” Tuc said of the role.
Tuc, who has had a lengthy career as a mannish sort of imp – David Vickers, playing opposite some of the grand dames of daytime – Erika Slezak (Viki) and Robin Strasser (Dorian) – on “One Life To Live,” said he learned to play guys like Joe, after a stumble on the ABC soap’s set.
“I played David Vickers on ‘One Life To Live’ for a year the way he was written, which was a cool, mysterious con man and I was unremarkable at doing that and then one day I accidentally fell down the stairs while trying to be cool and mysterious and everybody laughed at me,” he recounted. “That’s when I realized, he’s not a cool mysterious character, he thinks he’s a cool mysterious character. And that’s when the David Vickers that we know today was really born.”
The moment, Tuc admitted, was a breakthrough.
“That was,” he laughed. “I’d have to call that an Oprah, ‘Ah ha!’ moment. And it informed the way I take on other roles,” he said.
Also informing his Joe White performance is a real character heart-to-heart Tuc had with Betty, who plays his ailing mother, a woman prone to arguing with her son.
“What Betty and I came up with, which I think is really working now, is we bicker out of wanting more for the other,” Tuc explained. “She is on me because she sees the choices that I’m making are ultimately going to lead to a really unhappy life… And on my end of it, I’m a 40-year-old guy and his mother is still breathing down his neck and I have never gotten her approval and I just want her to approve of me.”
Beyond his scenes with Betty as his mother, Tuc woos many a lady to his bed, forcing him to show off his well-built physique to the audience. Surprisingly, the actor revealed his godlike frame doesn’t come from an insane athletic ritual.
“Well, I have an unsexy answer for you and the unsexy answer is, I’ve been blessed with a great metabolism,” he said when Access asked how he preps for those shirtless moments. “I eat ice cream and ravioli and all that stuff and that’s not to say that I don’t exercise, but I don’t really think about, ‘Oh, I have to take my shirt off next week so I can’t eat that pint of Haagen Das.’ I’m sure one day it will catch up with me, but so far, I’ve just been lucky.”
Catch Tuc on the stage through mid-July in NYC.