Actor Brendan Dooling may have missed out on the 80’s the first time around, but he’s more than making up for it during the pre cell phone days of “The Carrie Diaries” (the prequel to the hugely successful “Sex & the City”). Dooling plays Walt Reynolds, the best guy friend of a young Carrie Bradshaw (AnnaSophia Robb).
Walt is undergoing his own 80’s journey of self-discovery. One that goes much deeper than gnarly fashion sense or the allure of Culture Club albums. Dooling’s performance as a closeted gay man trying to find out where he belongs is stellar, even generating an incredible fan base of followers to his character’s storyline.
I spoke with him about his role on “The Carrie Diaries” as well as his other projects and how he got his start.
What was the audition process for “The Carrie Diaries” like for you?
Originally, I had read for the role of Sebastian [Carrie’s love interest], but for the callback they asked if I would read for Walt, who was the other principal male role. So I came in the following day with Walt’s sides prepared and I guess the rest is history [laughs].
Have you found it difficult or challenging portraying a gay character?
Not really. It’s challenging in that it’s a lifestyle that I personally don’t live, but there’s no great chasm between someone who’s straight and someone who’s gay. Everyone feels the same way about a lot of the same things. It’s nice though that (according to Twitter followers) I’m doing the role justice and that I’m believable. That’s the most important thing.
What’s the chemistry like on the set?
That’s the best part for me. I enjoy the show and being on the CW, but the thing that makes it all work are the people I work with. It’s a really harmonious, friendly cast, crew and production. There are no egos and everyone is looking out for each other.
You missed the 80’s the first time around. Now that you’re on a show set in that time period, what are your thoughts about it?
I think the music was such a defining factor of the era. It’s something that really brings the show together. I also remember the first time I saw those big, block cell phones they used back in the 80’s and seeing how it all started. The funny thing about it now is all of us waiting in the wings for another take while we’re texting and Tweeting [laughs].
What can fans expect as this season progresses?
There’s a lot more of Walt and Bennett [Walt’s love interest]. A few episodes ago, you saw Walt trying to branch out and meet new people, but Bennett is really where his heart lies and we’ll get to see a lot of them this season. We’ll also be getting into more of the realities of what the 80’s were like for this particular community. It will be more truer to the time and represent it more accurately.
Tell me a little about your recent film, “Breathe In”.
It’s a film starring Guy Pearce and Felicity Jones that was directed by Drake Doremus, the same director who did “Like Crazy”. This is his first studio movie. It’s the story about an exchange student who comes over to stay with an American family and ends up falling in love with the father. It throws everything out of whack. For her, for his daughters and for his wife. I have a supporting role and help move the plot along. It was a lot of fun.
How did you get your start in acting?
I had a lot of energy when I was eleven and always liked being in front of a camera. I grew up in Bellport Long Island where I attended Gateway Acting School and met Robin Allan. She was the school’s director who took me under her wing and was the one who told me that I could do this for real.
What do you like to do when you’re not acting?
I definitely like to stay active. I’m a huge fan of the NBA and the sport of basketball. I love to play pick-up games in Brooklyn where I live. Otherwise, I spend most of my time focusing on the auditions.
What other projects do you have coming up?
I have a supporting role in a film I did last summer called “Doctor Me” that should be coming out sometime next year. It’s a fantastic, dark modern take on Alice In Wonderland. It’s directed by Ty Hodges and stars Toby Hemingway and Emily Meade. I want to support it as much as I can because it’s made by such wonderfully talented, good people.
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