Idol Chatter

I remember when I first heard about Neal McDonough’s (“Desperate Housewives”, “Band of Brothers”) Catholic faith . It was several years ago when I was interviewing one of his “Boomtown” co-stars, Mykelti Washington, also a Christian. During that interview, Washington told me how he learned from McDonough’s example on the set where Washington said McDonough would sit by himself and read the Bible and remarked how the actor’s dressing room was filled with symbols of his Catholic roots.
So I guess in one sense I was not that surprised to read the news that it appears McDonough has been fired from his latest acting job – a role on ABC’s “Scoundrels”- for not doing a sex scene with Virginia Madsen. Yes, McDonough has played his share of villains, tortured souls and even philandering married men, but he has never done racy sex scenes for the camera. So exactly why execs at ABC were surprised he didn’t want to steam up the sheets, I don’t know. How important were graphic sex scenes to a dramedy about a crime family trying to get off the crooked path I can only -sarcastically-guess.

What I do know is that it seems ABC is sticking with a generic explanation of a simple casting change and that former “Jag” star David James Elliott has taken over McDonough’s role. Still, a source close to McDonough has told Hollywood insider Nikki Finke that “It has cost him jobs, but the man is sticking to his principles.”
While I certainly applaud McDonough’s principles, I still can’t help but wonder if there is just a teensy bit more to the story. In Hollywood, it usually isn’t a deal breaker when the men -especially middle-aged ones- refuse to do sex scenes. And now that the story is starting to flood the internet on conservative websites and Catholic blogs, it makes me wonder if McDonough’s people aren’t trying to salvage an unfortunate situation with a serious p.r. campaign aimed at the general public who might share some of his values.
I’ll tell you one thing: I bet a lot more T.V. viewers today know exactly who Neal McDonough is than yesterday. And in Hollywood, that can usually only be good news for a career.

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