When TV vet Ron Silver (Rhoda, Veronica's Closet) last graced the small screen, he was Emmy-nominated as Bartlet's campaign strategist on The West Wing. His next career move: Playing a porn mogul in Skin, a spicy new fall Fox drama. Why take this shady flesh-peddler role?
"You may want to ask my first wife's lawyer," he quips, then launches into a serious defense of the adult film business. "This guy is providing a service. It's an $8-10 billion-a-year industry. It's legal. He's not being hypocritical, like many people in public life are, about the role of sexuality in our lives and how we approach it."
Despite his trashy line of work, Silver's alter ego, Larry Goldman, sees himself as a family man. This sparks the show's main conflict: His teenage daughter falls in the love with the son of the district attorney who wants to drive Goldman out of business. Like any other chief executive, Silver says, Goldman rationalizes his actions by thinking: "That's my job, and it has nothing to do with what I want to teach my children, to be productive members of society."
In the end, Silver says his own moral judgments of his character don't matter. "I approach every role as if I'm the good guy," he explains, "because I know no other way to do it."