Eric Dane Reveals What His 'Grey's Anatomy' and 'Euphoria' Characters Have in Common

Eric Dane attends HBO's "Euphoria" premiere at the Arclight Pacific Theatres' Cinerama Dome on June 04, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for HBO

Eric Dane is opening up about two of his unforgettable characters in television.

Eric Dane is opening up about two of his unforgettable characters in television.

The 46-year-old actor currently has a much-talked-about role on HBO's controversial teen drama, Euphoria, playing Cal Jacobs, who has the reputation of a highly successful, clean-cut family man, but secretly has anonymous sex with people in motel rooms. The audience's first introduction to his character is through a graphic sex scene with another main character on the show -- a 17-year-old trans girl named Jules, played by Hunter Schafer.

While, at first, this may seem like a complete departure from Dane's memorable role as McSteamy on Grey's Anatomy, in a new interview, he shares what they have in common.

"The common denominator is that I'm naked," Dane tells Glamour. "But it's a lot deeper than that. With Mark Sloan, it was absolutely more of an aesthetic, and with Cal Jacobs it's more [that] Cal wants to control and dominate."

As for how McSteamy would be viewed in today's climate -- particularly, his workplace trysts with several of his co-workers which wouldn't be treated as lighthearted as it was more than a decade ago -- Dane notes, "I never felt like Mark Sloan was a predator. I never felt like Mark Sloan was looking to take advantage of anybody. I think Mark Sloan was just looking to have fun all the time. And one of the ways Mark Sloan liked to have fun was to connect with people sexually."

Dane admits he was pigeonholed into playing hyper-masculine, traditionally attractive roles after his character was killed off on Grey's Anatomy, and explains what made him want to play Cal.

"I understand what it's like to lead a double life," he says. "To have secrets and to have to live keeping those secrets from people. I've certainly had my struggles with alcoholism, drug addiction, mental health, and I know what it's like to have to put up a facade and have an external experience not match the internal experience. I felt like that was my strongest asset in trying to articulate what the guy's going through."

Dane says he's comfortable doing sex scenes and makes sure his co-star is as well. HBO also requires an intimacy coordinator on set to look out for the well-being of the actors.

"I've always been comfortable with these types of scenes; that's my final answer," he says bluntly. "Part of my comfort comes from me being vigilant that my scene partner's comfortable. Because if that person's not comfortable, it's going to create some discomfort for me, and the sincerity and the intimacy isn't going to be there."

"I want to do whatever I can to keep the story as truthful and honest as I can," he adds. "Obviously, I'm going to wear a prosthetic if I'm working with another actor, but there was an isolated shot where I [was alone] so I didn't have to [wear a prosthetic]. I simply said, 'If it's going to be better if I'm not in the prosthetic -- if it's going to be more organic, sincere, or truthful -- then I'm willing to do that.'"

ET recently spoke with Sydney Sweeney -- who plays Cassie on Euphoria -- at the Once Upon a Time in Hollywood premiere, where she talked about the show getting renewed for season two.

"We put so much work into the show," she said of the cast. "We were working [for] eight months [on] the entire season. So, being able to do another season, and come back together, and bring our stories back to life -- I can't wait!"

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