Cyber-scintillating: stage actor Eric Millegan makes his screen debut in the sexy Web-cam comedy On_Line – Summer Movie Preview – Interview

Lawrence Ferber

On_Line is a cinematic first, according to actor Eric Millegan. Because of its tantalizing setting in the omnisexual cybersex world? Or its innovative split-screen sequences? Nope. Then why?

“There’s never been a sweet movie about people masturbating–ever!” enthuses Millegan, who plays Ed, a lonely gay college kid who finds heartwarming romance, thanks to Intercon-X, a Web-cam site for stroke-happy online addicts. “I was worried about that initially. Then I remembered every great acting performance has masturbating in it. Kevin Spacey in American Beauty. Philip Seymour Hoffman in Happiness. Joan Allen in Pleasantville. It happens in a lot of movies, actually.”

Directed and cowritten by self-professed gadget geek Jed Weintrob, the disarmingly romantic On_Line was inspired by real-life Web-cam sites and their denizens–many of them queer. “The pioneer of Web-cam porno is definitely the gay community,” he credits. “There are 3,000 dicks out there right now.”

Ed, woeful and whiny about his conservative, small-town, and homophobic Ohio University roommate–who may or may not be closeted–finds sanity and sexual satisfaction from Al (John Fleck), a New Yorker offering hot Nazi shtick and conversation. Meanwhile, Intercon-X’s Web masters, John (Josh Hamilton) and Moe (Harold Perrineau, who’s also in this May’s cyber-themed The Matrix: Reloaded), face their own dilemmas involving a bisexual sex bomb (Vanessa Ferlito), a suicidal nice gal (Isabel Gillies), and an enigmatic exhibitionist (Liz Owens).

On_Line was shot with technical and budgetary savvy. Most of the apartment interiors were housed within a dilapidated three-story Brooklyn brownstone. One floor served as Ed’s Ohio dorm room, while the floor below held Al’s midtown Manhattan studio. Millegan recalls, “During the scene where I’m online with John and my roommate is struggling with me, Jed was like, ‘Don’t stomp on the floor because your floor is his New York ceiling!”

New Jersey-born and Oregon-raised, Millegan studied musical theater at the University of Michigan. Determined to tread the boards on Broadway, he moved to New York City in 1995, where he and his partner Charles have been living together for the last five years, and snagged roles onstage (Jesus Christ Superstar) and on TV (Law and Order: Criminal Intent) as well as in last year’s production of the Terrence McNally-scripted Dead Man Walking opera at Lincoln Center.

On_Line represents Millegan’s first feature-film role, which he won by nailing the audition–an erotic clothes-shedding scene. “He sat down, and all the sudden his top came off,” Weintrob recalls, amused. “I was like, ‘OK, great, you have the part.'”

Since the film’s Sundance 2002 debut, Millegan has devoted most of his cyber time to discussing his second passion–basketball. The rabid Portland Trailblazers devotee contributes a regular column as “The Fan” to However, he cops to retaining a touch of Ed.

“I’ve gotten a little addicted lately. I’ve been online a lot,” he admits. “There’s something weird about it because there are things you can say online that you can’t in person. Like, all these people I’m talking to about basketball–we’d never talk in person. Flirting is interesting too. [Saying things on] the Internet is like writing a note in class in school. You could never ask someone out face-to-face, but you could write them a note. There’s a lot of letter writing going on.”

Ferber has also written for Entertainment Weekly and Time Out New York.

COPYRIGHT 2003 Liberation Publications, Inc.

COPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group

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