Derek Luke Talks ‘Trauma’s’ Gay Character

Derek Luke is surprised that word has already gotten out about a gay paramedic character being among the personalities on NBC’s soon-due “Trauma” series.  He says he doesn’t even know which character it will be.

Derek Luke and Kevin Rankin in

Could it be Derek’s guy, Boone?  “Not that I know of,” says the actor, who’s playing a family man fraught with issues at work and home.

What he does know is, “As actors, we’re excited. We want the show to be sophisticated, not just surface and one-dimensional.  I appreciate getting a chance to see different ideas and beliefs, and the effect people have on each other.”

He wants to learn what is going to happen from the scripts alone.  “I keep telling them, ‘Wait.  I want to have my own reaction.’”  As far as the gay character’s reveal, “It’s supposed to be in the next couple of scripts.  I’ll have to find out who’s who.”

With a busy career in features – and credits ranging from “Antwone Fisher” and “Glory Road” to this year’s “Notorious” (as P. Diddy) and “Madea Goes to Jail” — Luke wasn’t in the market to do a series when “Trauma” came along.  Peter Berg, who directed him in “Friday Night Lights,” is, however, executive producer of the high-octane “Trauma” show about paramedics who are first responders at catastrophes.  That made all the difference.  Luke recalls that once he met with Berg, he found himself saying, “Dude, I for sure at first was convinced I was not going to do the show….’”

Berg “made me pretty comfortable.  You know what?  Pete is invested in this.  He didn’t steer me wrong in ‘Friday Night Lights.’  He totally had my attention.  And, you know, it’s Pete Berg’s style, no matter whether it’s TV or film — it translates.

“Me and my wife kind of deliberated, and I came to a verdict myself,” he says.

Now he’s happily pulling long, grueling days on the San Francisco-set show:  “I love my job.  I love my life!”

How many episodes have they done?  “I thought I shot 13 but I heard we only shot three,” he jokes.  “I feel like I shot a season already.  We’re starting number four.”

SOURCE OF INSPIRATION: Music is definitely on the front burner for 17-year-old Emily Osment – what with her new “All the Way Up” single out, a video on the way next week, an extended play version of the tune coming up in October, and her first album for Wind-up Records on the way.  Wind-up, Emily reminds, is the alt rock-heavy label of “Evanescence and Creed — so I have to keep up that rock image for them…I think I’ve started in a good way.”

Meanwhile, however, fans of her best-known character – Lilly Truscutt of “Hannah Montana” – would no doubt like some reassurance about her acting plans.

“We’re doing season four next year.  We’ll get back on our really cool soundstage,” she notes  Osment points out that she and Miley Cyrus and the rest of the young cast’s characters are being allowed to grow, “in a good way.  This time between seasons allows the writers to see what we’re going through – and then they can parallel it with stories on the show.  We give them a lot of good stuff,” she says.  Indeed.

TRYING ON A NEW HAT: Voice talent extraordinaire Carolyn Lawrence has performed characters ranging from Cindy Vortex of “Jimmy Neutron” to the so-taboo-even-Adult-Swim-banned-it “Moral Orel” – to Sandy Cheeks, the rootin’ tootin’ Texas-born squirrel buddy of “Spongebob Squarepants.”

Now she’s trying her hand at producing, with a project called “Monstroville.”  Lawrence reports that her in-the-works the animated flick is about “your basic hard-working family who happen to be ghouls and monsters.”  Her “Spongebob” castmate pals including Tom Kenny have already agreed to lend their voices to the indie.
MEANWHILE: The 2004 “Spongebob Squarepants” feature grossed $141 million on a $30 million budget.  So you’d think another “Spongebob” flick would be in the planning.  But it’s not.  “We wish,” Lawrence says of the cast’s feelings about a follow-up film.  “The problem is, because of the way we function, the same team of writers and animators did both the series and the movie – so when we did the production of the movie, we had to stop production of the TV show.  It gets kind of complicated.”

With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster

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This entry was posted in The Hollywood Exclusive by Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , on by .

About Stacy Jenel Smith

I grew up in the San Fernando Valley when it was a kids' Shangri La in the 60s and we had Fabulous Eddie's miniature golf and trampolines on Ventura Boulevard. My big brother frequented The Third Eye psychedelic shop back in the day, but he wound up turning out anyway. Dad was an NBC video man who worked on "Laugh-In," Dean Martin's show, and specials by everyone from Sinatra to Fred Astaire. Mom was a first class home maker and PTA and GCA volunteer. They're still doing great. Anxious to get going in life, I quit college and jumped into journalism when I was still a teenager, and was writing for the New York Times syndicate and People magazine before turning 20. But that was a long time, many adventures, lots of traveling around the world and thousands of interviews ago. I go back to the very last days of hot type and getting to talk to Henry Fonda and Bette Davis, and Sammy Davis at the old Brown Derby...What a ride. That's in no small part thanks to my amazing writing partner, Marilyn Beck, one of the grand old-school Hollywood columnist stars -- a true star -- who knows how to do it right. I'm lucky, for sure. Now is fun, too. I love going out to events with my 17-year-old daughter (Jonas Brothers!). Seeing everything fresh through her eyes renews my excitement about the game. In-between I went back and finished school -- University of Redlands -- married, divorced, and at long last found my true love. My favorite things outside of the show business realm are being with my family, my faith and spiritual growth, learning new things (from doing Qigong to uploading stuff on Facebook), and running. See you on the trail.

One thought on “Derek Luke Talks ‘Trauma’s’ Gay Character

  1. Allan Enriguez

    I do believe you have hit it just right. You have made some really good points and I ‘m pleased to see a person with this point of view. You might have a few haters due to this, yet I am certain you will live.

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