I love a good rivalry. Letterman vs Leno, David vs Goliath, Spy vs Spy, Alien vs Predator and the list goes on.
Real or imagined, it’s always fun to see two seemingly matched adversaries go toe-to-toe and this third season of HUNG is delivering just that in the form of Jason (Stephen Amell) vs Ray (Thomas Jane) in the race for the top “happiness consultant” of Detroit.
Daemon’s TV had the pleasure to chat with Stephen Amell who spilled some beans about what we can expect in the upcoming episodes, the not that awkward sex scenes and what he wants to say to Larry David.
Read more about what he had to say below and don’t forget to tune in this Sunday October 30 for the upcoming episode of Hung “‘We’re Golden’ or ‘Crooks and the Big Beaver’” at 10:00 PM on HBO.
Can you talk about how you got involved with the series?
Stephen Amell: I had just finished shooting a movie in New Orleans and I got back to L.A. during the week when pilot season was just starting to go crazy, and I missed all these pilot auditions. I had an audition for what was originally a guest star and sort of the tag line for Jason was the rival. I had never auditioned for ‘Hung.’ I’d never met Dmitry [Lipkin] and Colette [Burson], the creators of the show, and apparently it wasn’t supposed to start for a while.
Fortunately for me I came in sort of at the last minute and I don’t know if I had a fresh perspective on things. I didn’t actually have that much time to prepare, and so I just went into the audition just trying to be enthusiastic and likeable. They kept me around for a chemistry read with Rebecca Creskoff who I’d never met. She was on the lot for a wardrobe fitting. She actually came into the chemistry read dressed as Lenore which is scary. I thought that it went well and I got the call the next day that I’d be doing the show, and then over the ensuing weeks it turned from a guest start to a series regular.
Your character comes off as a likeable & innocent guy, but at times he’s also sort of a mastermind. Is he a little bit of both?
Stephen Amell: Kind of an idiot savant sort of thing. ‘Hung‘ is a very collaborative set with a lot of really creative and interesting people. They have us sort of go at scenes a lot of different ways. The off shoot to that is coming into the season I didn’t really know in totality what my character was going to be like because there were so many different ways that we would go at a scene. But I didn’t really get a good feeling in the first episode because it was so quick.
However in the second episode I was genuinely happy that there was sort of an innocent side, sort of a “follow Lenore with whatever she’s doing” side, but then with my interactions with Thomas [Jane] and even with my brief interaction with Birthday Girl when I sort of steal her from underneath him there seemed to be this sort of conniving gigolo side which we get to see a little bit more throughout the season. That’s the thing that I’m most proud of so far, that it actually seems like a character and not just me playing me.
Jason has a complicated relationship with Sandee, Lenore and pretty much all the women he’s dealing with. Do you think we’ll find out more about his past this season and learn why he is who he is?
Stephen Amell: I don’t think so. What we deal with this year with Jason for the most part is Jason’s relationship with women, his relationship with his sort of clients, but more specifically his relationship with, first, Lenore, and then Tanya and now Sandee. You can just see based on what happened last week and me being pushed into a job with Tanya’s character that all three of these women are eventually sometime down the road.it’s all going to come to a head. The only thing that we don’t know is who’s going to be making the decisions as to what’s best for me. Is it going to be me or is it going to be Lenore or Tanya or is it going to be Sandee? The dynamics of that relationship, we’ve just gotten sort of a glimpse.
When Analeigh Tipton and you were preparing for your scenes with Sandee or Lenore, what was the process going into them?
Stephen Amell: Well, I really like working with Analeigh because she’s really sweet and she’s very beautiful and you put her in Sandee’s outfits and she gets this little glare going. She becomes really evil. I just have to sort of look at her. She has these big, beautiful eyes, but if she trains them on you with a little bit of a squint it gets a little scary. So when we work in the upcoming episode with Rebecca Creskoff, you get to see a little bit more of a dynamic. But we never really spoke about it. The sort of dynamic between Sandee and Jason thus far seems to be just about looks. All of the directions that she’s giving him are sort of unseen at the moment. All I have to do is look at her urging me on and then I spring into action, no pun intended.
On your blog, you wrote specifically about your take on sex scenes. Can you summarize that for us?
Stephen Amell: My very first sex scene ever in my career, my first sort of real sex scene was my first day on ‘Hung.’ I didn’t know what to expect. I was incredibly nervous. It was the scene with Rebecca Creskoff in the season premiere. I realized very early on that they’re a lot of fun, and this might sound a little bit sort of – I don’t know sophomoric or fratboy-esque – but think about what you’re doing. It’s a lot of fun. You’re kissing beautiful women and you’re coming up with fun ways to block the scene.
My scene with Jane Adams in the second episode we’re having sex in a bathroom stall, and the only time that I ever provided any direction is that I turned to Jane and I turned to Uta [Briesewitz], our director of photography who was also directing the episode, and I said, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if I was carrying Jane over the toilet and you could get this long shot and it would just be me fully naked from behind?’ They both looked at each other, like, ‘Well, yeah, do you want to do that?’ ‘Sure.’ You can’t take these things too seriously.
I think if you can find the funny in the sex scene which ‘Hung’ does a lot and does really well, if you can find the funny and have the moment with whomever you’re sharing the scene with, sort of laugh at the absurdity of what you’re doing for a living, then it becomes a lot easier.
Do you think there’s a chance that your character might return for another season?
Stephen Amell: I think there’s a good chance. I can tell you for certain that I’m in all ten episodes this season. One very, very briefly, but that’s not my fault. That’s another character’s fault without giving too much away. But I think there’s a very good chance, and I really appreciated it. This is Thomas Jane’s show and the prostitution world is Ray Drecker’s domain, but the people that have been fans of the show from the beginning have been very, very positive even when they’re sort of proclaiming their loyalty to Thomas Jane’s character. So, ultimately I think that if that positivity from the fan base continues that there’s probably a good chance that we’d see Jason in season four.
I think Jason is giving Ray Drecker a run for his money so far.
Stephen Amell: Well, thank you, and in the weeks to come I think ultimately, especially scene stuff that Jason has done with Tanya, that we’re drifting towards some competition and maybe some teamwork.
You’re very active in social media. What do you feel you gain from all this activity as an actor?
Stephen Amell: From a basic standpoint it’s nice to get feedback because it’s not always positive. In the social media world people like to talk about people who are effusively positive or sort of incredibly negative, but there is a middle ground, people who write you really constructive, thoughtful criticisms that are both positive and negative. I really like interacting with people. I think it’s a very easy thing to do, a very rewarding thing to do. People seem to appreciate it and having people follow your work is incredibly important. It’s what drives the business. So, I find that best on Facebook because you can actually get in there and interact.
I did a couple of video Q&A’s with people that people seemed to enjoy. Facebook is great for that. With Twitter it’s observational, but as you get more followers.I was on ‘90210‘ as well as ‘Hung‘ and I’m going to be on ‘New Girl‘ later this season and it’s important to let people know because it’s sort of a common courtesy, and then with the blog, I’ve always really enjoyed writing and I want to become a better writer. The original premise for the blog was about breaking into the American acting industry being a Canadian.
Since I’ve broken in, I don’t have as much to write about. I still like writing, but writing is always better with a theme behind it. So, I find myself searching a little bit, but overall I think that in 2011, almost 2012 if you’re an actor and you’re not engaged in social media in a sort of real and authentic way and not as a brand that’s trying to sell shoes or whatever, I think you’re missing out.
So, you’re going to be on ’90210′ and ‘New Girl’?
Stephen Amell: I did a couple of episodes of ‘90210‘, and yeah, I’m actually filming this week the Christmas episode of ‘New Girl’ and I’ve just been hanging with those guys. The cast, Max Greenfield and Zooey [Deschanel] are incredibly funny. All they do all day is joke on set and have a good time. You can see why, it’s such a collaboration, the show is doing well. That’s my first.’Hung’ is a comedy but not necessarily a traditional one. Some people call it dark which I sort of disagree with it, but ‘New Girl‘ is my first network half hour comedy and it’s been really funny so far.
And if you could guest star on any other TV show which one would it be?
Stephen Amell: ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm.’ My goal in my career is to have a shouting match with Larry David. I want to have one of those ones where it just turns into him calling me a fucking asshole and us yelling back and forth and me not winning the argument, but just ending with him going, ‘OK.’
And you do have some contacts at HBO.
Stephen Amell: [laughs] Once you’re in the HBO family. I know that Rebecca did an episode of ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm.’ I thought that it was so good this year and I really hope that it comes back. I’m glad I had a specific answer for you because I don’t even know if there’s a second option. Absolutely, positively, a shouting match with Larry David.
(Photo credit : Lacey Terrell/HBO)