Jack Falahee left the post-grad New York struggle behind and found much love in Shondaland as Connor, the sexed-up shady student on How to Get Away With Murder. Cosmopolitan.com talked to him earlier today about his role in TV’s sexual revolution, developing complex characters, and what he hopes to do next.
I don’t dislike Connor, but I don’t trust him. And he’s utterly charming, but sometimes I really want to punch him.
I think there’s a lot of truth to that; I think that he’s morally ambiguous at times, as we all are. I think, too, that we’ve just sort of scratched the surface with these characters. It’s such a huge ensemble cast. You’re meeting people for the first time and getting to know what they’re like … You compartmentalize them and stereotype them, and I think that viewers may think things about Connor and make judgments about him, but I would urge people to, with all of the characters, be open to the possibility that maybe we’re going to learn a lot more about them that will then influence what we think of them as people.
People are commenting that Connor, specifically, is “the face of TV’s sexual revolution,” and Shonda Rhimes has gone on record as saying there are no gay sex scenes, just sex scenes with people in them. What is your take?
I agree. He’s a guy that enjoys having sex and has a lot of it. If you look at Asher [played by Matt McGorry] on the show, he speaks about sex almost constantly, and there’s almost no dialogue about that — it’s just accepted and it’s heteronormative and that’s the society that we live in. It’s interesting and exciting for me to hear people talking about it; that’s sort of the point of entertainment in a way, to spark conversation. I don’t think it’s ever been the objective or the mission for Pete [Nowalk, show creator] or Shonda [Rhimes, executive producer] to spark this dialogue, but it’s just a byproduct of them showing truthful, real people on television. It’s refreshing.
I’m a Midwest boy that went to NYU, in an arts department surrounded by all different kinds of people that identified every which way. It was something that I never thought about growing up, and then when I was surrounded by it, it was there, and it was happening, and it was real. So I said, “Oh! OK.” And I think that not everyone is exposed to that.
You just graduated three years ago and you’re very transparent about how difficult it is to break into acting; what were your three years like between graduating from NYU and landing this job?
My story is pretty similar to a lot of post-grad drama students and artists that are pursuing a career in this industry — filled with waiting tables, late catering shifts, a lot of pouring drinks behind the bar, missing auditions because I couldn’t get someone to cover my shift at the restaurant, and hopping around from job to job, just trying to get by in New York and pay rent.
That is real.
It is very, very real! I read a great article about New York and why the writer was glad she left New York at 24, which is coincidentally right when I left New York. I related on a deep level with the author of that article in that I felt like New York was kind of slowly killing me in a way. It’s a hard place. I think she says in the article that the old saying is that if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere, and she sort of argues that if you can make it anywhere, why not just go make it anywhere?
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