I got the chance to talk to Chace Crawford a few weeks back. He is another young, new star of Gossip Girl, currently airing on The CW and CTV networks. Chace plays Nate Archibald, who finds himself in the middle of a few different love triangles. I talked to him about his character, the show, and what you can expect to see in Gossip Girl this year. Here is how my interview with him went down…
Josh Clinton: Hey Chace.
Chace Crawford: Josh, how are you doing man?
JC: I’m alright, how are you?
CC: I’m doing good bro.
JC: Cool. You’re a relatively new actor. Did you always want to be an actor?
CC: No, I had no clue actually. In high school, I always creatively inclined. Then, I went to Pepperdine University and I switched majors like twice. So I was just only sure of what I didn’t want to do. I was young, so I had a year ahead of everyone else in school. So I decided to take a semester off from school and work. A friend of a friend put me through to a commercial agent and they agreed to work with me. That got the ball rolling for me, and it all started to click for me in acting class. I’m a devil’s advocate. I would have jumped off ship a long time ago, if I didn’t really believe that I could achieve at this.
JC: Right. How did you get involved with Gossip Girl then?
CC: Well I switched agents last November and I came back from Christmas and I had a little meeting with my agent to talk about the new upcoming “pilot season”. I got handed a couple of scripts, because I didn’t know which one would work out for me. I saw that Gossip Girl was created by Josh Schwartz, but little did I know how insanely popular this series of books were with younger gals. The first read I thought Nate was totally attainable for me and something I was interested in. I went in prepared and met with Josh and Stephanie, the director, and casting director, and I guess they liked me. I went in again and again to audition. The key was trying to get Les Moonves, President of CBS, on my side. He was the final check mark in signing me off to play this role. I went in to read about 6 times. I shot a few scenes and that was that. It was great. We shot the pilot in March, now doing all of this press, and the show premieres on Wednesday. It’s kinda crazy.
JC: Yeah, it sounds like it. Was there something about the character that you liked or that interested you?
CC: I would like to play a little bit more humor in the future. But for now, Nate has these endearing qualities to him. He makes the right decisions at the end of the day. He’s just a good guy. He always has Chuck over his shoulder, trying to pull him in the wrong direction, though. But it’s pretty cool to play a high school character that you can still relate to the pressures of being conflicted on college choices and being forced to go to his father’s college and the girl situation. It can be too much sometimes. I think it’s a nice window into the lives of obviously very extraordinary situated teenagers, but these characters are also relatable in certain situations. That is what makes it entertaining. There are some interesting storylines to follow and stories that everyone can relate to.
JC: Yeah. How would you describe your character, Nate?
CC: He’s an easygoing guy for one thing. He’s a pot smoking procrastinator. They have really toned it down in the show. He’s ultimately very conflicted. He does like the girls, though. Blair, his girlfriend, represents something that has been forced upon him by family and friends. It’s the ultimate pressure for them to get married and go to the same college, and have this life together. But ironically enough, Nate is in love with Blair’s best friend, Serena. It’s like the polar opposite situation. Not only is Serena someone he wants to be with, it’s always something that could ultimately led him to be free. That intrigues him. I think he just wants to figure out who he is, and escape the life that has been mapped out for him.
JC: That’s interesting. The creators of this show, Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, were behind The O.C. as well. What is it like working with them?
CC: Oh man, they’re great. They were on every day for the pilot and were here for the first few episodes. But then they went home. The studio is in Burbank and the writers are back in the Warner Brothers lot. They were real cool, though. Josh was the youngest television creator ever at 26 when he created The O.C.. It’s so cool. They have the lingo down, they have the cutting-edge writing that flows like butter. It’s unbelievable. It’s been great, though. Stephanie is so great. You can always call her up and count on her help. They are always so conducive to what you want to do. We all hang out when they are in town, so it’s like a big family.
JC: That’s cool. Did you watch The O.C. when it was on the air?
CC: Um, I’m not really a big fan of soaps or teen dramas. But I did watch The O.C. a little bit, though. Back when I was a Freshman in college, that was the show to watch. We had our Wednesday night viewing parties and stuff. There was always some great melodrama going on in that show.
JC: Right. Do you see any similarities between Gossip Girl and The O.C.?
CC: Well coming from the same creators, there is always going to be similarities. But it’s a completely different show. Beyond the look, Gossip Girl deals with more technologically-savvy teenagers. Everyone has text message and flips phones and no one has heard of a pay phone. They use the Internet like every second. It’s more like the reality of today. The O.C. was all about fresh money. There were new houses and new everything. Gossip Girl is more about old money. It’s older families. Kids are born into a certain level of wealth. It’s like no other place in America. It’s really the closest thing that America has to royalty with princes and princesses. It’s a different show. Gossip Girl really delves more into the scandalous endeavors of teenagers.
JC: Right. In the first episode, the main storyline was the “love triangle” between Nate, Blair, and Serena. Is that going to be the main focus during the entire season?
CC: No, it will go back and forth. They have dealt with a lot of Nate’s family issues as well. That’s an interesting situation. Blair and Nate are a complicated couple. They never are really happy with each other. It’s interesting to play that up. It’s one of those back and forth relationships. You will just have to wait and see.
JC: Yeah. So have you been in any love triangles in real life?
CC: No, not really. I had a girlfriend in high school for a long time, and I ended up dating one of her friends. (Laughs). It wasn’t that big of a deal, but that was probably the closest thing. But I don’t know how any girl could forgive Nate for what he did to Serena. It’s a little bit crazy. It is what it is, though.
JC: Yes, they can be quite crazy. There has been this controversy with the series of Gossip Girl books and now perhaps with the show in regards to the sexual subject matter involving minors. What is your take on that?
CC: Yeah, there has been a lot of criticism on that subject. The writers of the show are trying to be as true to the books as possible. To be honest, the books are very racy. I think the writers are doing a good job of weaving that stuff in without beating everyone over the head with it. It’s more about seeing the repercussions of making tough decisions. I don’t think it will be that big of a deal on the show, since it is toned down more than the books. But then again, teenagers are not stupid. It’s not like this show is like an instruction manual. They are not going to run out and do what they see on TV. People don’t give teenagers enough credit. They know a lot about all kinds of issues. This is definitely a young adult show. It is what it is, though.
JC: Right. The series of Gossip Girl books were more geared towards a young female audience. On the surface, the show looks to appeal to girls as well. Do you think this show is something that guys could get into as well?
CC: Oh, totally man. There are some characters on the show that are really funny and so great to watch. I’m definitely not worried about girlfriends trying to drag their boyfriends in to watch it with them. I mean it worked out with The O.C. too. It is a teen drama, but it has so many comedic moments as well. It’s just a very entertaining show all around. I think word of mouth could make this show a big success.
JC: Yeah, definitely. So are you prepared to be a heartthrob for millions of girls when this show begins to air?
CC: (Laughs). I don’t know what a heartthrob is, come on. I’m not really prepared for any of that stuff. I don’t like to get into the blogs and the websites. I just want to put out good work. I will be happy with whatever comes out of that, and I will be able to deal with whatever comes if the show is successful. As long as my work is good, that is all I really care about. The other stuff you just have to deal with when it comes. It’s what we signed up for, and you really can’t complain. This kind of opportunity to do a show like this comes along maybe once a decade. They just don’t come around that often. So I am prepared for whatever comes my way.
JC: Alright, cool. Well good luck with the show and thanks for your time.
CC: Josh, thanks so much man. Good talking to you.
JC: Yeah, good talking to you too.
22-year-old Chace Crawford grew up in Plano, Texas. His father is a dermatologist and his mother is a teacher. He has one sibling, a younger sister, Candice, who is studying broadcast journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Crawford played football and golf in high school and is a talented artist. He graduated from Trinity Christian Academy in 2003. Although he worked as a model in Dallas, he never pursued acting. He moved to Malibu, California to attend Pepperdine University after high school where he was a member of the Sigma Nu fraternity. He struggled to identify a career path, vacillating between advertising, business and communications majors. Midway through his second year, Crawford’s mother encouraged him to pursue acting. He credits her for initiating this bold move. She states that “it was a practical move,” based on a career aptitude test he had taken in high school which revealed that he was best suited for a career in the performing arts. He was signed by the first talent agent that interviewed him, and then committed full-time to acting studies.
Prior to getting his role on Gossip Girl, Chace appeared in movies, The Covenant and Long Lost Son. He also has a role in future movies, She Lived and Loaded.
Welcome to Manhattan’s Upper East Side, where gossip rules and affluent prep-school students find themselves with the money, access and appetite to explore all the temptations New York City has to offer. Based on the best-selling series of young-adult novels by Cecily von Ziegesar, this drama is told through the eyes of an all-knowing blogger who is determined to uncover and fuel every scandal possible–including the intense rivalry between two girls, Serena and Blair–via her constant, avidly read text messages. When Serena unexpectedly returns home from boarding school, she stirs up an old love triangle, finds new romance and creates some powerful enemies. More info on the show can be found at CTV.ca
– Gossip Girl airs on the CTV network in Canada on Tuesday nights at 7 p.m. ET/PT.
– Gossip Girl airs on THE CW in the U.S. on Wednesday nights at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
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