Dustin Milligan Interview -- JustJared.com Exclusive
90210 star Dustin Milligan sat down with Just Jared to talk about his upcoming teen drama, which presidential candidate he’s rooting for, and what it was like meeting 90210 alum Shannen Doherty and Jennie Garth. Here’s what the 23-year-old Canuck actor had to say:
JJ: Happy Belated! You turned 23 late last month. How did you celebrate?
DM: Some of the cast members took me out for a nice little dinner in Hollywood–an appropriate way to celebrate. It was a just a nice quiet dinner and I got fairly intoxicated and it was nice.
JJ: Are you living in LA now?
DM: I’m in Venice (California) now, right by the beach. It’s lovely.
JJ: Congrats on snagging one of the lead characters on 90210. How did you manage that since your last series, Runaway, was canceled after just three episodes?
DM: I’m sure Runaway had a large part to do with it, having already worked for The CW. Also, I was working on an episode of Supernatural when I was auditioning for it in Vancouver. One Saturday, I actually had to go into my agency to tape because I was shooting all week. It was just one of those things where a month and a half prior to that, I checked out on the Internet and heard, possibly on your site, that there was going to be a new 90210 in the works. So, I talked to my agent about it and having that relationship with The CW prior to that probably had a huge part in it. But once I put that tape up, it was just a few days later that I found out I got the job.
(Click inside to continue reading JustJared.com’s interview with Dustin Milligan…)
Dustin Milligan Interview — JustJared.com Exclusive
JJ: What was the audition process like for the show?
DM: I hadn’t read a script and it was for a version of Ethan from the Rob Thomas script. I was actually hired while Rob Thomas was still on board. So, it was really different from who Ethan is now. He’s a lot slower, he was more your traditional jock in that he’s been hit too many times in the head.
JJ: How has the character evolved?
DM: Well, I think that’s once of the nice things that (creators) Jeff Judah and Gabe Sachs have brought to the series. There are no two dimensional characters anymore, everybody’s got a lot of layers. Ethan is not your traditional jock anymore.
Gabe and Jeff have allowed for all the actors to give input for their character and create change in the character. I’m hoping to make Ethan so much more than an athlete. I think he’s funny. I think he’s smarter than people give him credit for. I think he’s more emotionally aware and sensitive than your traditional jocks would be. And there’s a lot going on with his family that wasn’t there in the original character that provides layers and relatability to the guy.
JJ: Are you shooting all of your scenes in LA? How has filming been? What are your workdays like? Do you start off with five hours in make-up and wardrobe?
DM: Yeah, five hours of makeup and wardrobe because [Ethan] is a diva! (laughs) No, really all over the place. Like, one week I’m in five days a week but its never always early in the morning. Sometimes you’ll get really easy call times like 1pm but sometimes it’ll be at night at like 7pm. This morning I had to be here at 7:24am, which blew heavily.
JJ: Are you shooting all of your scenes in Venice?
DM: No. we have the studio in Manhattan Beach and now we’re at El Segundo High School. We also have a bunch of Beverly Hills locations we go to.
JJ: Anything crazy happen at the high school you’re filming at?
DM: We work in the summertime, so there’s nobody really around to do that. We have a security guard around who carries a gun, so I’m pretty sure there isn’t gonna be anybody messing with us. They’re gonna get shot if they do! But yeah, that was a concern for us, whether or not people were gonna start hounding us. Once the show airs, we may have to increase security or something.
JJ: Did you cut your hair after Runaway? Or did 90210 make you cut it short?
DM: I had my hair shortened for the audition and when I went down for the shoot in Malibu, they shortened it again. I haven’t had that shaggy 70′s afro in awhile.
JJ: How does filming this series compare to Runaway?
DM: It’s such a different show and dynamic. Everybody’s young and in high school. It’s a lot different than the family dynamic we had on Runaway, not to mention being in different locations. Shooting in L.A. is much different than shooting in Toronto. As much as I love the Toronto crew and city of Toronto, man I wanna go back there really bad. I had such a sick apartment…it was such as sick sick bachelor pad. But it’s cool because everyone on Runaway got along, and it’s surprising to me how well everyone here is getting along considering the potential for ego driven drama to really shake things up. Everyone’s just really chill and relaxed. We make fun of all the older stars and knock their books of their hands and put “Kick Me” signs on their back. Rob [Estes] and Lori [Loughlin] are so much fun. Jessica Walters is such a blast to work with. Even the crew is having a lot of fun because its such a young cast. But the older cast is, for lack of a less cheesy expression, is young at heart. It’s just a fun environment to walk into everyday.
JJ: Have their been any pranks on set?
DM: There have been some pranks on set. Michael Steger, who plays Navid, can tell you more about those pranks. All I can say is, I did not do it. I’m hoping the pranks will increase, both in hilarity and severity. It’s difficult though because you never know who’s having a bad day or whatever. It’s tricky but I’m pretty sure if there’s gonna be any drama on set it’s gonna be because I went too far.
JJ: In your latest guest blog by Runaway costar Sarah Ramos, she refers to to “screenagers” with warped self-images and unrealistic, harmful world views. Would you consider your 90210 character a screenager?
DM: I’m really glad you brought that up–really glad–because I think it’s such a delicate balance to be in this position. You have so many people, not necessarily looking up to you, but looking to you about how cool teenagers are supposed to act and how popular teenagers are suppose to behave.
Because there’s story lines that are written partly to get ratings and advertising. It’s a real shame. I think that so many teenagers look to to see how they’re to behave and who they’re should be. That being said, I’m really hoping that being on the show will be an opportunity to change what that can be and make it not so shallow and superficial. Not necessarily through the storylines–nothing you can do about that– but off-camera, you’re not gonna see me out in clubs getting wasted and getting into fist fights or getting a DUI.
I feel like if you’re in the public eye, you have a responsibility to people much younger and much more impressionable than maybe you think. There’s people that’ll say, “I don’t wanna change my life or change who I am” but I don’t believe that. I believe that, to a certain degree, you have to accept and take on being a role model and it’s just kind of selfish to just ignore that.
It’s difficult, though, because you don’t always have control over publicity with the paparazzi being what it is. Because you still do want to live your own life, but it’s so hard when people are taking your photos and you don’t even know it.
I haven’t experienced that or maybe I never will but if I do, I’ll have to really think about that and how to approach that. Because it’s really important for me to be a role model to all the kids back in my hometown (Yellowknife, Northwest Territories) who want to become actors. I don’t want to become a scandal, I don’t want to bring any shame to my town, to my school or to my family. I think the best way to do that is be careful and behave.
JJ: Have you met 90210 alum Shannen Doherty and Jennie Garth Met? Have you filmed scenes with either of them?
DM: I’ve met Shannen. And Jennie , I’ve had a chance to hang out with a bunch around set and stuff. They’re both very lovely women.
JJ: Besides my blog, which I know you read religiously, which ones do you follow?
DM: Just Jared is pretty much my number one go-to. But, just the regular stuff. I check out Hollywood North Report. Everything else is too racy. I look at A LOT of pornography. A LOT of pornography. There’s me setting a good example.
JJ: Which songs are you listening to on your iPod now?
DM: You know what I can’t stop listening to? Flight of the Concords. (Comedy duo) Bret [McKenzie] and Jemaine [Clement], the novelty touring band. They’re hilarious!
JJ: What was the last movie you saw?
DM: Step Brothers, it’s so hilarious. You’re like John C. Reilly and Will Ferrell acting like 8-year-olds? It’s the funniest thing ever.
JJ: Boxers or Briefs?
DM: I just go straight for the commando. Or thong.
JJ: Favorite Cereal?
DM: Canadian cereal called Shreddies.
JJ: McCain or Obama?
JJ: Do you speak any foreign languages?
DM: Only the language of love. Which is not foreign to too many people.
JJ: When was the last time you cried?
DM: Probably a couple of weeks ago, when I didn’t get ice cream for lunch. First I cried, then I yelled, then I flipped a table and then I punched somebody out and then I woke up from my blackout rage completely innocent.
Hope you enjoyed the interview! If you can tell from the Q&A, Dustin was a riot to interview. Be sure to tune into 90210 when it premieres @ 8PM ET/PT on Tuesday, Sept. 2 on The CW.