'Nashville's' Chris Carmack on playing a gay country singer, music business politics, and Connie Britton's hair
After getting bumped up to a series regular for Season 2 of the country drama, Carmack's country singer Will Lexington has gotten more air time -- all the better to explore his struggle with his sexual identity in a world that holds a heavy stigma with being gay.
"People I've spoken to say that at a certain level it'd be career suicide for somebody to come out of the closet [in the Nashville music business]," Carmack tells Out.com. "That's a terrible kind of fame. I don't think executives would give Will the time of day. That's a damn shame, but in country music there's a stigma that's insurmountable."
As a result of pushing down his true feelings, Will made the mistake of making a pass at his extremely-straight best friend Gunnar at the end of Season 1. "I think Will might have a mild case of sexual Asperger's," Carmack explains. "He doesn't know better -- all he knows is how to go to a bar and take home whatever drunk girl comes on to him. With Gunnar he stopped pushing everything down; he let himself get swept up."
When it comes to playing Will, Carmack is not just acting -- he is also singing and playing the guitar, which he learned to play prior to joining the series. "I grew up playing the saxophone," Carmack says. "I joined the jazz band in high school, but somewhere along the way I realized the guys who strummed acoustic guitars at parties were the ones who got the attention. So I asked a friend to show me a few chords, and when I moved to L.A. I spent a lot of time practicing my guitar."
And as for sharing the screen with Connie Britton, Carmack says her hair is as luxurious as everyone claims it to be. "It looks great," Carmack says. "What you see on the show is the real thing. It's magical."
"Nashville" airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET on ABC.