Exclusive Interview: Charlie Saxton Talks HUNG Season 3, Getting Damon A Girlfriend and Giving Advice to His Former Self

Charlie Saxton

It’s not easy being a teenager.

No one knows this better than Charlie Saxton who plays Damon Dracker, the goth wearing, angsty teenage son of Ray Drecker, the school teacher turned male prostitute on the HBO series HUNG.

Daemon’s TV had the opportunity to chat with Charlie about what is coming up in this third season of Hung, getting a girlfriend for his character and playing an elvis-obsessed science geek in the play “End Days”.

Check out what he had to say below and don’t forget to watch him in Hung which airs Sundays at 10 pm on HBO.

First of all, let me congratulate you on debuting a third season. That must be exciting.

: Charlie Saxton: Oh thank you very much. Yeah. It’s awesome. We all really like working on the show. So we’re all happy when we get that call that we get to go out and do it all over again.

Great. How many episodes have you shot so far?

: Charlie Saxton: We finished the whole season. We shot about ten episodes for this season. We started shooting them in March and we finished up around like the middle, late middle of June.

Awesome. And so what can you tease in terms of what’s coming up for your character this season and for the series overall?

: Charlie Saxton: Well, for the series overall, there’s going to be two hoes and two pimps, if you will. There is Lenore and Jason which is kind of the younger- attracts the younger crows. And then there’s the good old-fashioned Tanya and Ray for the older audiences. But I think that people will find that they love the old characters or the they love the new ones just the same. And so that’s kind of the whole plot is the battling businesses.

And then my character, specifically, Damon’s kind of, he’s kind of taking it easy this year. He’s gotten into a little bit too much trouble the past two seasons. With having a weird relationship with a boy and not really sure if he’s really into that. And then the second season he kind of had this weird, not a relationship, but he had this love and this connection with his sister. And he didn’t really express it in the most appropriate of ways. And so he’s trying to recollect everything and just kind of figure out things and take it slow.

So him and his sister are rebuilding their relationship this year by- they’ve started a band together.They’re going to be playing some music. So start working out in the next couple of episodes for us to be rehearsing in once scene or working on a song in another. And some of the songs that were written for this year are pretty great so I’m excited for people to hear them.

So are you actually playing an instrument, as well?

: Charlie Saxton: Yeah, yeah. Both Sianoa and I, who plays my sister, we both play instruments. I play the drums on the show. But I played the bass and the guitar out in the real world. And then in the episodes Sianoa is going to be playing just the base guitar. So it’s a two-person band. So we’re kind of like the White Stripes but we just have a bass and like a drum set.

Awesome. That’s very cool. And then so how do you- I mean now into third season I’m sure now you probably get recognized more. Do you feel people know to differentiate you from the character?

: Charlie Saxton: Oh, yeah, totally. Because I tend to dress a little more normal in real life. And in past seasons, my hair. The blonde hair and the black hair and the length of my hair is not my choice by any means. And so people see me on the street and I have an normal hair color, I have a normal haircut. And not quite such Goth clothes. And they can totally, right away, differentiate the characters.

How do you feel about your character’s evolution throughout the show?

: Charlie Saxton: Throughout the show? I think the evolution of Damon is kind of a look into the life of the American teenager right now. Kids are still dealing with they’re not sure of their sexuality or they’re not sure how to express their love or how to express their feelings. And sometimes they want to tell people how they feel about them. And it gets hard. So I think for every teenager Damon is going through the same things that everybody else is going through. So I feel like that in a way that he’s going through the evolution of what every other teenager goes through. And he’s trying to figure himself out bit by bit.

So far your character doesn’t know about his dad’s real occupation. Do you ever think about it as an actor about how you’re going to react to that moment when that does come out?

: Charlie Saxton: Yeah, that’s a good question. I never actually thought about that before. And maybe it occurs this season. Maybe it doesn’t. I don’t know. I can’t give too much away. But I’m not sure how Damon would react if he ever found out his father was a prostitute. I feel like he’s the kind of kid that always tries to support his dad’s decisions. He looks up to his dad and he really loves his dad. But, you know, it’s kind of interesting. It’s kind of interesting to see what will be the initial reaction and then the long-term reaction.

Because, as raunchy as people want to say the show is and how much sex is involved it really is a show based around a guy that just wants his kids in the end. He just wants his kids to live with him and have his family back. So I think that Damon kind of respects that in a way and really sees that his father is working hard teaching-wise to help support the family. And even in the first episode you saw how, you know, in the premiere last Sunday how impressed the kids were with how well he is doing.

And from an actor standpoint, if you could get your way. Is there a storyline that you’d want for your character?

: Charlie Saxton: I think a nice steady girlfriend would be good for Damon. You know people are so confused about what this kid is about and what this kid is into that they probably think he’s some sort of weirdo. But Damon is really just a- he’s just a kid that’s kind of had the short end of the stick handed to him. He’s been kind of stuck in the middle of weird situations everywhere he goes.

And of course, the girlfriend doesn’t have to be your typical normal girlfriend. There could be some sort of conflict that comes along with it, or some baggage. But, no sex scenes, though. Nobody wants to see me having sex on HBO. A bunch of my friends, specifically my best friend John said, ‘If I ever see any skin of yours on HBO I will cancel my subscription.’ [laughs]

With three seasons under your belt now, knowing what you know now, if you had the opportunity where you could step back in time and talk to yourself before you started the series. What sort of advice would you give yourself?

: Charlie Saxton: You know it’s interesting you ask that because I didn’t go to college. I graduated from high school and I signed with an agency in Los Angeles but I was still living in Philadelphia at the time. And so we would have a lot of meetings and talks with my parents. And they would just be like, ‘Should we go to college or should we try to our hand at Hollywood and see what happens?’ And so basically what started out as me going to a university school for four years and then coming back to LA ended up being straight out of high school, the summer after I graduated I ended up booking the pilot for ‘Hung’. And then when we were still trying to figure out if it was going to get picked up or not we were still talking about school.

And then ‘Hung‘ got picked up and they were kind of just like, ‘Well, you’re living in Los Angeles now.’ And so it was kind of hard and kind of scary at the same time to just go. Because I’m from a very small town. My town is like a square mile big. My graduating class had like ninety-four kids in it, if that. And so it was kind of just like- and, you know, my parents would have loved to have stayed with me and help me but they have their own jobs on the East Coast. So I kind of just like, I found an apartment in LA. I didn’t have a car. I drove a- rode a bike to Paramount Studios every day to shoot ‘Hung’.

And so it was kind of just like, you know, this whole new scary experience. But if I could go back and tell myself anything now I would just say, ‘Just keep at it. It’s all worth it in the end. It’ll all work out. All the fear and the nervousness you’re feeling about everything is going to be totally cool. Just keep at it and know you’ll have friends along the way and people to support you. And just know you’re in good hands.’

So you’re also in a play right now?

: Charlie Saxton: Yeah, what’s taken up most of my summer in a good way is this play that I’m doing in the Odyssey theater in Los Angeles right now called ‘End Days’. And it’s a dark comedy about this dysfunctional family whose mother thinks the rapture is coming on Wednesday. And it takes place in 2003.

And the father of this dysfunctional family actually worked in one of the twin towers during September 11th. And he was saved by a total stranger. And all of his clients and coworkers have passed. And so he’s just been kind of catatonic and really just hasn’t gotten out of his pajamas and is really sad about the whole situation. And the daughter is a sixteen-year-old Neolithic gothic girl and she’s very catty and has an attitude. And I play the new neighbor who just moved in. and I’m obsessed with Elvis. And I wear the ’70s jumpsuit the entire play. The white Elvis jumpsuit. Complete with a very spectacular belt. And so I’m obsessed with science and I’m obsessed with Stephen Hawking and I’m also in love with the daughter in the family.

So I try to get her to love me back by explaining to her how great science is and how thrilling it all is. And then also in the process just try to- I don’t want to save this family but I want to try to make them feel better because I can obviously tell that they are not as close as they used to be. And they have all gone through a lot of rough times in the past couple of years. And my character kind of sees that and tries to, you know, brings some joy and optimism into their life.

Yeah. And there’s something I meant to ask you regarding another project. So I saw that there’s a link on our Twitter profile to a blog about 100 movies you want to watch.

: Charlie Saxton: Oh, yeah, that’s been a project of mine that has been long, long neglected.

Yeah, what’s up?

: Charlie Saxton: You know I just got so busy. I started and, again, when I first came out here I didn’t have a car so I didn’t really have much to do when I wasn’t working so I got a Netflix account and I realized that I had, you know, I have the typical taste in movies for a twenty one year old guy. I love anything by Quentin Tarantino. I love ’80s movies. I love nerdy ’80s movies. And then I realized that there’s a lot- and if I’m going to be living out in Los Angeles and looking in the field of film and television I kind of need to know my films 101.

So I went on the AFI top 100 movie list of all time and I realized I hadn’t seen a lot of these films. So I just decided that I should educate myself. So I started watching them and then I realized maybe I should be write something about it. So every time I would watch a film I would write a haiku review of it. And then I’ve only gone up to like seven or eight. And I’ve been doing it for years. I really need to get back on it. But it’s just really hard because some of the movies, and I mean I love them and they’re classics, but some of them are just so long.

And sometimes the longest ones are back to back. Like it took me months to watch ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ because it’s four hours long. And it’s like I love it but I got stuff to do. Like I’ve got work and I’ve got to get groceries. And I would love to watch ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ but it’s four hours long. And then, of course, the movie that was right after ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ was ‘Schindler’s List’ and ‘Schindler’s List’ is like three and a half hours long. And then it’s just like- these are great classic movies that I know I should be watching but I guess people just had a to more free time when they watched them back in the day.

There was no Facebook or Twitter at the time.

: Charlie Saxton: People were giving me ideas of which way to go and which way to go. But I’m a sucker for sentiment and if it’s meant to be that way, it’s meant to be that way. Although I kind of wish I would have started at one hundred and worked my way down to one because people say, ‘Oh, you started at one and then you go to one hundred, the movies are just going to get worse and worse.’ But then I’m like it’s still the greatest movies of all time. It’s not like I’m going to watch, you know, I don’t know, whatever ninety eight, whatever ninety seven is and be disappointed. I’m going to still be satisfied with it.

That’s a good philosophy.

: Charlie Saxton: Yeah.

I have one final question. If you could be a star on any show, your pick of the litter, which one would it be?

: Charlie Saxton: Oh, if I could guest star. Well, you know, and this is going to sound totally cheap but I actually got to guest star on my favorite television show a couple weeks ago.

Which one?

: Charlie Saxton: I got to do a guest appearance on ‘Workaholics‘. It’s on Comedy Central. I was a guest on the season premiere and it was just one of the coolest experiences I got to do just because I’m a huge fan of the show. And the guys are, you know, we’re kind of close in age. The guys are in like their mid twenties. And I’m in my early twenties. And so it was really cool to relate to them. And it’s just cool to see that they play these like slacker dudes and they really are nice and chill and relaxed but then at the same time they’re executive producers of their own television show.

So it’s just cool to see success stories like that. Because they started where, you know, some of my friends are just starting out right now. Just doing Internet videos on the web and, you know, it caught Comedy Central’s eye. And so to be able to be part of that, part of the thing, for me, it’s just cool just because it’s such an awesome story that these guys built their way up. Their way up to the ladder. But, yeah, so ‘Workaholics’ was a really awesome guest star. But if there was another show that I haven’t guest starred on that I would like to it’s probably ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia‘.

Oh, yeah, that’s a good one.

: Charlie Saxton: You know I’m from Philly. I’m from the area. So every time I watch it, I get a little homesick. But, oh, I crave a cheese steak. But it’s, yeah, I think that’s another show I would love to be on.