Talking Real with ‘Faking It’ Star Gregg Sulkin
It’s been two years since actor Gregg Sulkin concluded his role as Selena Gomez’s character’s boyfriend, who also happened to be a werewolf (hey, it happens), Mason Greyback, on Disney’s hit series The Wizards of Waverly Place. Since then he’s appeared on Pretty Little Liars and Melissa & Joey before landing his current gig: a bonafide leading role on MTV’s newest scripted series Faking It. No longer a werewolf (at least from what we can tell), Sulkin now plays Liam Booker, an aspiring artist and romancer to lesbian (but, spoiler, not really a lesbian) Karma, played by Katie Stevens.
Essential Homme: You just celebrated your 22nd birthday this past Thursday, did you do anything fun?
Gregg Sulkin: I was on set. We’re doing night shoots, so unfortunately I was stuck working under a rain machine for three days in a row. It was a very cold, wet, and muddy birthday. Very different than my last birthday in Vegas, but there was cake and everyone sang me “Happy Birthday,” so it was nice.
EH: How would you describe Faking It?
GS: A very fun, contemporary, unique, and somewhat refreshing show. I feel very lucky to be a part of show that sends out such a good message but at the same time is very entertaining to watch.
EH: How would you describe the atmosphere behind-the-scenes?
GS: I love it. Honestly, I’m working with some of the most humble and talented people. We knew from the start we had a special concept, but obviously when you work with people you really get to know them, and I think our chemistry off-screen has shown on-screen and that’s what makes the show so magical to watch.
EH: What is your reaction to hearing words like “scandalous” and “offensive” used to describe the show?
GS: People don’t understand what the show is about if they haven’t watched it. [Some might] think it’s about pretending to be gay to be popular. But it’s not. It’s about two girls that are mistakenly identified as lesbians at school and it catapults them into popularity so they run with the lie. Then one of the girls, in fact, does develop feelings for the other one, so that’s where the heart of the show is.
EH: The trailer for your upcoming film Affluenza just came out and it looks like a mess — not the film, but what transpires in the trailer alone. Can you tell us a bit about this movie and the character you play?
GS: The movie comes out July 11th. We shot it in New York, and it is directed by Kevin Asch. It’s set in 2008 when the financial crisis happened, inspired by The Great Gatsby. It’s the story of these young kids living through their Summer in Long Island, and this rich neighborhood crashing down as real life begins to set in. I play Dylan, who’s sort of similar to Gatsby in that he throws all these massive parties. He goes on this crazy arc from this likable, charming, party boy to a very depressed, alone, sad character. Everything from the outside looks like you’d want his life but really he’s miserable.
EH: What about that fight scene?
GS: I loved it. Grant is a very close friend of mine. It’s always fun and funny and weird hating someone that you actually really get along with off-screen, but that’s the fun part of acting. I played sports my whole life, so I’m very physically active — I have a lot of testosterone — so I think it’s good fun safely punching people… with stunt guys around, obviously.
EH: Circling back a bit to your early career, what was the highlight of your experience working on Wizards of Waverly Place?
GS: My first live taping, because I got to go out and bow to the audience and thank them for coming. It was a very humbling but overwhelming experience to know that I’d just moved from London to be a part of a very successful show, and it was the first time I saw the fans’ reactions in front of my eyes. The last day of set was [also] very emotional. It was a reminder of how far we’d come as people, as a family, as actors. It was a very special place to go to work. Originally, I was only meant to do one episode and the fans liked my character enough to have them keep him around.
EH: What’s it like performing in front of a live audience?
GS: Very, very embarrassing when you forget your lines. You want people who are massive fans of the show to have the best day ever when they come to set. You can never buy that energy. We pre-taped in the morning and then the live audience was in the evening. Friday was always the most exciting day because it was always showtime.
EH: What’s something about Selena Gomez that people would be surprised to learn?
GS: I think Selena’s life is out there for the public eye, so I’m sure they know a lot more than I even do. I was just very lucky to work with a very professional girl. You never know how people are going to welcome you in those circumstances and she was always very nice.
EH: Coolest famous person you’ve met so far?
GS: David Beckham. He was the most humble. You meet a lot of celebrities and unfortunately they’re not as nice as some people think. He definitely lived up to my expectation of him.
EH: Best meal you’ve ever eaten?
GS: I don’t know about ever, but I did a Fox pilot about a year ago called Delirium. Unfortunately we didn’t get picked up, but one reason in particular that I was sad about it was the craft service. We literally had the best steak, fish, and chocolate covered strawberries—the whole shebang. Popcorn! Everything we wanted, no expense spared.
EH: Going off of that, what’s one of the biggest perks of being an actor, besides the fame and money?
GS: The free shoes. Or the craft service on set. The caterers are usually really good. And I can’t cook. So it saves me from having to go out and pick something up.
EH: Favorite shoe designer?
GS: Armani does amazing shoes. I did a trip to New York recently and wore Armani most of the time.
EH: What’s a bizarre and unexpected place you’ve been that really shocked you with how great it was?
GS: I did a trip to Peru about two years ago that changed my mentality and perspective on life. We went to poorer areas and helped build houses. At first, I wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy it — I was worried about the mosquito bites, things like that. And when you get there, you quickly learn the least of the problems here are the mosquito bites. I became more grateful and hopefully a nicer person from that trip.
EH: What are you most looking forward to about this Summer?
GS: I’m very lucky because right now I’m doing my first horror movie, Don’t Hang Up. I get to go back to London for the World Cup to be with my family, and with English people. It all pivoted perfectly timing-wise. I also want to do a trip around America if I can fit it in. If the show gets picked up, I’ll do that before we start filming. Apparently New Orleans is fantastic.
EH: I highly recommend checking out Pittsburgh.
GS: Pittsburgh it is. I’ll find, what do they call it, an RV, and take it around.
Images courtesy of Lucas Rossi.