Chatting with ‘The Carrie Diaries’ Star Brendan Dooling
One of the hidden troves of the CW Network is its sophomore series The Carrie Diaries, a loose prequel to Sex and the City set in the mid 1980’s starring up-and-comers AnnaSophia Robb, Austin Butler, and Brendan Dooling. The show has received favorable reviews ranging from TV.com‘s declaration that “on top of being a rock-solid teen drama, [The Carrie Diaries] really knows how to cast” and Vanity Fair‘s stamp of “charming but woefully under-watched.” But, unfortunately, in the accolades also lies the crux of the series, and possibly good television in general: CW actually delivered on creating an above-adequate prequel to a beloved series, and yet the next-gen of Sex and the City loyalists have evasively refused to join the party. The drama wraps its second season tomorrow night (Friday, Jan 31st @ 8P), so with hopes that the evening will end up a season finale and not a series, we chatted with Dooling—who play’s Carrie’s gay best friend Walt—to discuss his experiences on the show and more.
Essential Homme: What was your initial thought when you found out you were going to have a lead role on The Carrie Diaries?
Brendan Dooling: I was elated. That’s the rarest thing in this industry, having steady work that builds income over time. It was a blessing. Nothing compared to what I knew I was about to be getting into when I got that phone call.
EH: Gotta ask, had you seen Sex and the City?
BD: I had. My mom was a big fan and still watches reruns. I saw a couple episodes with her, but never really followed it regularly.
EH: There’s been a lot of pressure placed on the show to accurately represent gay New York in the 1980’s, as well as the AIDS epidemic. Was this something you guys discussed behind-the-scenes and how did that affect your performance?
BD: It was understood from the end of the first season that if we were picked up [again], Walt’s storyline would take the leap into the realities of being gay in 1980’s New York. I know Amy Harris, [the show’s Executive Producer], holds Walt as a character very close to her heart. Knowing that fact alone turned any pressure I felt into a hungry desire to be true to those who lived through it.
EH: Walt has a very eclectic, colorful wardrobe. What’s your favorite outfit the show’s costume designer Eric Daman has had you wear?
BD: Back in the Halloween episode for season one, Walt wore the Prince William costume. I thoroughly enjoyed that just because I’d never been in a military uniform before. Obviously it was a little more outrageous then the Prince would actually wear, but still fun.
EH: What’s the biggest difference between Walt’s style and your own?
BD: I’m pretty sure ours is different being that Walt has some. I’m pretty basic. I like to be comfortable.
EH: You’re one of the few cast members on the show actually from New York, so what are some of the places you recommend to your co-stars?
EH: What do you get when you’re there?
BD: The Business: gin, honey, lime.
EH: I know your an avid bball player and a piano/guitar player. Strictly hypothetical, we hate to make you choose, but if you absolutely had to…?
BD: That’s an interesting question, ’cause it’s really how I’ve evolved. I went from music to basketball. So right now, I’d say basketball. But if you’d have caught me two years ago, I’d have said music.
EH: What did you think seeing Zac Efron do both, at the same time, in High School Musical?
BD: I… [Laughs]… I thought I definitely couldn’t sing those songs.
EH: You might be a better basketball player than he is.
BD: I don’t know. His shot is probably a little more pure than mine.
The season finale of The Carrie Diaries airs tomorrow, Friday Jan 31, at 8 PM EST on the CW.
Images courtesy of Nina Duncan.