April 2002

Different Drummer
- Jeffrey Epstein

A young Canadian actor hits the queer beat

It was a difficult stretch for Kris Lemche to play a gay drummer in the new WB sitcom The Young Person's Guide to Becoming a Rock Star. "I absolutely did not know how to drum," admits the 23-year-old, who appears as Lucas in five episodes on the show, which follows a struggling band. "I still, to this day, do know know how to drum."

The gay part was much easier. "I played a gay character in a movie -- I'm not going to mention the name, because it's horrible -- and that was much more sexual than this was," says the Toronto native, who currently dates actress Monica Keena. "The fact that my character was gay on this show was a nonissue." Which is not to say that Lucas is asexual: "I had one kissing scene, which was a nice goodbye kiss with the guy who was playing my boyfriend."

Lemche's comfort with playing gay might stem from early exposure: Out actor-comic Scott Thompson (of The Kids in the Hall fame) is a cousin. "He grew up down the street from me," says Lemche, who now resides in Los Angeles. "When he was living in L.A., I'd see him all the time."

It was actually Thompson who nearly influenced Lemche to not go into acting. "I was always putting on shows for my parents, and people would say, 'Oh, you should be an actor!'" remembers Lemche, who appeared in the film eXistenZ and in the telepic Bailey's Mistake. "But watching the hardship that Scott went through, the povety before Kids in the Hall, made me vow that there was no way in hell I would ever be an actor."

Of course, something made him change his mind.

"My brother did a part on [Kids], and he got all the chocolate he could eat," remembers Lemche, who will appear in the upcoming films Knockaround Guys, as a baggage handler in Montana who gets involved in the comedic chaos of organized crime, and in My Little Eye, a psychological thriller that takes on the reality television genre. "There was a woman who would come around with plates of chocolate, and he got to eat it all. That's the life for me."