Brian Michael Smith, who came out as transgender in 2017, told HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY why he feels ‘fortunate’ to be playing a ‘masculine’ character on ‘9-1-1: Lone Star’.
Brian Michael Smith, 37, revealed that his new role on Fox’s 9-1-1: Lone Star is extremely “significant” to him, and he’s still trying to “process” the fact that he’s playing a “positive representation” of a transgender character on a popular primetime series. In an EXCLUSIVE interview with HollywoodLife, the actor, who is transgender himself, said, “Sometimes I’m just astonished that this is something that’s even possible now, to be playing a positive representation of a trans masculine character on a network TV show, that I know it’s going to go into the homes of millions of people who may or may not know that they actually know a trans person.”
“So just knowing the weight of that kind of responsibility is kind of astonishing,” Brian, who plays firefighter Paul Strickland on the show, continued. “[I’m also] just excited because the show in and of itself is very, very exciting. The things that my character is doing, just things that I’ve wanted to do since I was a kid, growing up watching first responder shows and action movies and things like that. And then just feeling incredibly grateful and blessed that we’re at a point in time where there are opportunities for roles like this. And what [series creator] Ryan Murphy has created with shows like Pose and Glee, and creating these spaces and these worlds on screen where people just exist as they are with their differences. And their differences are either just integrated into who they are, or they’re celebrated in some way, is just something that I find incredibly fortunate.”
9-1-1: Lone Star premiered on Jan. 19, and the series is a spinoff of 9-1-1. This show follows a New York firefighter (Rob Lowe) who, along with his son (Ronen Rubenstein), relocates from Manhattan to Austin, Texas. There, he must try to balance the duties of saving those who are at their most vulnerable and solving the problems in his own life. Brian’s character Paul was hired by Rob’s character Owen, when Owen was tasked with rebuilding an Austin firehouse, following a terrible tragedy that killed most of the firehouse.
Thus far, we haven’t seen a lot of Paul’s backstory or personal life, but Brian told us that we’ll definitely get to see more of that as the series unfolds. He even stressed that the Feb. 10 episode will be a big one for Brian. “Yeah, I’m excited,” he said.