You Must Know: Steven Strait
Steven Strait is best known for 2006's camp-tastic man-witch movie The Covenant and 2008's 10,000 B.C., where his bod was barely contained by a loincloth. So when it was announced he'd be starring in Magic City, an extravagant drama about corruption in Miami circa 1959, there was some head scratching. But clearly those naysayers missed his touching performance in 2009's underrated gem, City Island.
Paired with his standout work on this new Starz series, it's safe to say Steven is about to break out in a big way -- so check out an exclusive clip from Friday's Magic City and then keep reading to find out what this on-the-rise actor thinks about his sexy, sandy and slick new home.
Insider.com: What appealed to you about the Magic City script?
Steven Strait: 1959 was a complicated time in American history but in Miami it was even more eclectic. There was a lot going on – Cuba's falling, the mob is moving in from Chicago, they're trying to turn Miami into the next gambling metropolis. And this family gets wrapped up in the middle. It's a really interesting mix of circumstances that meshed in the lobby's of these hotels – and it all really happened. It's amazing to me that this story hasn't been tapped before. It was so exciting to bring to life these situations and play a character who is really coming into his own as the country is coming into its own.
Insider: There is a bit of "bad seed" to Stevie. How do you see him?
Steven: He is a wild guy. He reaps the rewards of what his father built without any of the major responsibilities – but Stevie is a little misunderstood too. He handles the grimier stuff on the ground; like the prostitution and gambling. Ike is dealing with the politics and Stevie is setting up all the hookers the politicians need [laughs]. He definitely has that side to him, but he also looks up to Ike. He's of the same cut, as opposed to Christian – who is more like Bobby Kennedy. He wants to change the world. Stevie is far more localized than that. He is a playboy, but that changes also. He falls in an unexpected way. Stevie loves women, but never fell in love with a woman.
Insider: Which leads to the inevitable sex scenes -- have you adapted to that part of working on cable?
Steven: [laughs] I have, but we don't have nudity in the show to the extent some others have. It's never featured as a subject. If there's any nudity involved, it's always in the context of something else. It's never, "Story, story, story, story, sex, story, story, story." [laughs] We were always very conscious of that. The realism of the show is imperative, but it's also important to not overshadow the work with my ass or some boobs.
Insider: What was the most exciting part for you in playing this character?
Steven: This whole experience has been so wonderful and so multifaceted. Everyone involved has been so supportive. It really gave us actors the freedom to build these people. I had such a blast playing Stevie. Usually when you're creating the subconscious for a character, the work goes into that truth. But it's fun building the truth of a character like Stevie because there's also a layer of un-truth that you have to build because that's how he lives his life. It's like a buffet for me. He's a hustler. A man of a thousand faces. I really loved bringing that to life
Insider: What are you excited for people to see in the next seven episodes?
Steven: I'm excited for people to see this universe. It's incredibly real and lush and because of the place, time and circumstance, it's like a moving postcard. But it doesn't bash you over the head with it. Realism is the goal and it's a part of our history I don't think people know much about. These circumstances do lead to major global circumstances. This is where all that began brewing. Not this season, but hopefully next year.
Magic City airs Fridays at 10 p.m. on Starz.