Madeline Zima was there to promote Californication and I stopped her to chat. She was glad to hear that lesbian fans are likely to stick with actresses who play gay from one role to the next, and she told me that Gretchen on Heroes wasn’t her first gay role.
"I did a movie with Brittany Roberts and I had a crush on her in the movie and had to make out with Selma Blair," Zima said. "It’s called Family Tree. So this was my second girl-on-girl kiss."
Zima said the role wasn’t specified as a lesbian one when she went to read for it.
"I had inkling because it was called a "chemistry read" with Hayden [Panettiere] and I was like ‘Hmm, chemistry! With a girl? I never had to do that. That’s weird.’ And I kind of was playing it that way just because I like to find the underlying things in a character and play those things up, which it was more flirtatious than straight up friendly."
Madeline was psyched to play gay and said she wished the writers would have taken the Claire-Gretchen relationship further.
"We were mainly friends and had a lot of sexual tension, mostly on my part, but a little bit on hers, too. It’s like they didn’t want to go all the way gay with that storyline but I think they should have. I think they were scared. They’d put us in a trunk together and they’d find new ways to make us in a really close space but not make us kiss anymore. It’s like "what are you doing?"
I should preface this next part by saying she wasn’t joking — she was completely serious when she told me, "You never know, I might become a lesbian sometime. Very soon — I seriously considered it. I think women are beautiful and they’re definitely good kissers."
I asked if there was an off-set connection with Hayden and she laughed at that. "If there would be any girl, it would probably be her."
OK, so maybe it won’t be anytime soon.