Jayson Blair: 'New Normal' Exclusive Interview!
The 28-year-old actor stars in The New Normal, NBC’s family comedy about two gay dads and a baby mama. The one-hour season finale airs TONIGHT (April 2) at 9/8c. Don’t miss it!
Click inside for Jayson Blair‘s interview with JustJared.com…
Jayson Blair – JustJared.com Interview
Just Jared: You just recently wrapped season one of The New Normal, can you tell us anything about the season finale? What can we expect?
Jayson Blair: We’ve been building towards a wedding, the baby being born, as well as my character Clay and Goldie. There’s been a lot of you know emotional heart strings as far as whether or not they are going to get back together. And I think that we will sort of see what happens with them or what is going to happen with them.
JJ: Will it be revealed in the finale, or do you think they (Clay and Goldie) will get back together?
JB: We will see what happens with them in the finale!
JJ: In the second half of the season, Clay has really tried to be a better father to Shania. Is he finally growing up and realizing what his priorities should be?
JB: They had their kid really young. Clay was 16 and Goldie was 15 – and it kind of stunts your growth. It’s either going to make you grow up really fast or kind of start you in the place that you were like that, when you have a kid. Goldie had to grow up, although she’s still not super evolved, as far as real world terms. She’s still really naive and things like that but Clay was very stunted in that adolescence and taking things for granted. He didn’t put anybody, except for himself, first and I think that once Goldie moved out to California with Shania, that was a big wake up call for him and then he followed the family out there.
In the Halloween episode, which we just saw, you finally realize that Clay gets it for the first time because his daughter Shania tells him that he’s never really a dad, he’s only been a friend. And that whole time Clay thought that that was good, to be a friend for his kid and things like that. He’d never really been a dad dad, he was just never there. And I think that was a big wake up call for him. Then in the Thanksgiving episode we see Goldie secretly dating somebody else, behind his back, in which there’s a little confrontation about that. Especially with those two things, the conversation with his daughter and also the altercation with this other man over his wife at the time, was the big big wake up call for Clay to get his act together. He’s definitely become a good father, or a better father and he’s trying to be a great father. He’s trying to be there for Goldie as well and I think that its cool to see such a transition. From the beginning of the season, this womanizing bad man to somebody who really trying to evolve and educate himself for his sake and his daughter an his family.
JJ: The New Normal tackles real issues that are happening right now, with equality especially, is that something that you’re involved in a lot and excited to be a part of?
JB: Definitely. One of the things that I was kind of drawn to when I came on to the show is how current the material is. Whether it’s jokes about somebody in the press from two weeks before the episode airs or things like that. It’s really special for me, just being in Los Angeles, it’s inevitable to have so many gay friends. So to see the things that people go through and I think the show has helped so much for the largest civil rights movement of our time since Martin Luther King, for these equal rights. The show has really helped out with that and a number of different things, as far as race, same sex marriage, and current events, politics. I think the show has hit everything on the head so well. And it’s also giving respect to the other side, the other perspective. The racist bigot people out there who are afraid of what they don’t know. I think that the show has done a great job in painting both lights fairly equally and showing how ridiculous that actually is. Because unfortunately there is people like that. But I’m just so proud to be behind a show that is doing so much for so many different areas of our lives that we have to go through every day.
JJ: Clay is pretty ditzy and not exactly the smartest in the bunch, and your character on The Hard Times of RJ Berger was a mean jock. Is it fun to play those types of characters?
JB: I have a blast playing characters like Max Owens on Hard Times and Clay in New Normal because it’s so opposite of me. I’m just this most easy going, fun loving guy and I have love for everything and everyone, so it’s interesting to get in the mind of somebody who has such a high amount of fear towards these other aspects of life.
And in Hard Times, we found out the fear was because Max was secretly gay. That was one of the reasons he was so charged and aggressive. He had this huge secret that he was hiding. For me that was really fun to play because once I found out that you know, that secret was the case, there’s so much freedom and in exploring that. And after because you know there’s people like that unfortunately. So I had a blast playing that and also Clay is just totally aloof. Definitely not the smartest cookie in the cookie jar and that’s what he saw in the beginning. And throughout the first season he’s actually finding himself so much more in an enlightening and spiritual way, which has been a blast to get to play. It’s so different because I usually get cast as being the asshole, and the bad guy, and the rich guy, and this guy and that guy. And Clay is the first time really where he’s somebody who’s, I think Clay has so much love in his heart for everything. It’s just fun to be able to have a transition with the same character, from playing the bad guy essentially, to playing this really sweet guy that I think people end up rooting for or want to root for because you know, they feel for him and what he went through.
JJ: Will you be returning for a season two??
JB: I hope so! (laughs) We don’t know if we were picked up yet although I’m very positive and proud of the show. I hope that we do get the opportunity to go a second season. If we do, I hope that they keep me around because I love being a part of the show.
JJ: If you do get picked up, and you start filming in a few months, or even if not, do you have plans for the hiatus?
JB: Yes. Yeah actually. My girlfriend [Rumer Willis] and I are taking my mother and father to Guatemala for their 35th wedding anniversary. We’re going to Antigua and we we may go to Turks and Caicos, for my birthday. I never had the opportunity to leave the country really. I guess North America. I’ve been all over the United States, Mexico, and Canada. But I really want to explore and go down to Central America, and Europe especially, Spain and Italy. I’m hoping to do a lot of that this summer.
JJ: You were briefly in an episode of Glee in season one, did you ever think that you were going to work with Ryan Murphy again?
JB: No, I had no idea. It was such a fun little role that I got to do on Glee. I think it was actually the third episode of the show when nobody knew the success it was going to be at. It was a show with Kristin Chenoweth. I remember reading the script because it wasn’t on air yet and realizing “Wow this thing is really special and unique. And I think this is going to be a huge hit.” And then it turns into Glee, which we all know now. So I was always hoping, because I’ve been a big fan of Nip/Tuck, I’m a huge fan of American Horror Story, and the opportunity to with when Ryan again just came along and it all worked out as like a dream come true. That guy has got to be the smartest and most effortlessly successful show runner around, as far as everything else. He’s got great ideas and insights and things and it’s great to be a part of that.
JJ: Do you have any upcoming projects that you could share with us?
JB: I have a movie coming out I believe in June or July called Detention of the Dead, which is a comedy horror movie. You could say it’s Shaun of the Dead meets The Breakfast Club, which is a lot of fun. We shot that in Michigan I believe last summer or so ago. And we just had a blast and we’ve all seen it at this point and we’re really proud of it, it’s a lot of fun and it’s really funny. That should be out this summer and then I’m just auditioning for films now because I’ve been tied up as far as TV goes. I’m just looking for films and things like that.
JJ: How do you like to spend your free time, when you’re not filming?
JB: When I have free time I really enjoy listening to records and playing tennis. I love to travel, like I said before, I’ve been all over Mexico, things like that. I love to travel and broaden my horizons. You know, when you’re working in shows like this, you get so busy and caught up and kind of, your friendships evaporate for a moment in time until you’re done shooting. So I’m really looking forward to catching up with a lot of my friends that I haven’t gotten to spend time with and things like that. Just you know, things that I didn’t get the luxury to do while filming. I’m very happy and excited.
JJ: We heard you recently became obsessed with cooking?
JB: Oh I’m big into cooking. I have been ever since I was a kid. My mother’s side of the family is Italian, so I grew up making lasts with my grandma. I cook like crazy, always. My girlfriend and I are huge dorks in the kitchen. We have all the gadgets and things like that, so I like to prepare most of my meals. I remember being a kid in high school and my dad would come home from work with a cooler every day. And I’m like “Who brings a cooler to work?” He’s a much bigger dork. And now, I am the guy going to acting class with my cooler and all my food that I cooked and things like that. I try to eat healthy things like that. I prefer to cook for myself over eating out, although I love indulging in fine meals and things like that as well. But I’m now my father’s son. (laughs) With my cooler everywhere I go. I’m sure I look ridiculous but if you see me on the streets with my Igloo, you probably should try out what’s inside of that thing, probably delicious.
JJ: What’s your favorite dish to cook?
JB: I love cooking pastas. Handmade pasta, I love. Although, unfortunately I was just diagnosed with gluten intolerance, which is sad, such a bummer. But now I’m looking into alternative ways and trying different gluten free pastas. There’s so many options out there now, it’s just I want to make my own gluten free pastas and hopefully it turns out good. I love cooking pasta and also very clean dishes.
JJ: We also heard that you’re really into fashion a lot right now too?
JB: Yeah, I’m a huge fan of fashion and things like that. I just love that… I remember being in high school and looking through magazines, GQ and Esquire and things like that, which is, you know Vogue, and see fashion forward ideas. Being a kid in Michigan, I never thought it would be a reality for myself to have these beautiful garments and things like that. Then I moved to Los Angeles and I’ve gotten very lucky, as far as my career goes. I do have the opportunity to dress in some of the nicer things that I’ve always been a fan of, these designers and so on and so forth. I think that you know, back when I was a kid, for men fashion was so limited. And over the past few years it’s become so progressive and there’s so many options, as far as colorful dress shoes, and different colored pants, the way the jackets are cut and the way things fit men nowadays. I think that men can really put some thought into it and get into fashion as well. I love, I love that that’s happening and that I am fortunate enough to be able to do that for myself.
JJ: Do you have a favorite designer?
JB: I really love DSquared2 stuff a lot. I think they’re a finesse between edgy and super high fashion. If you’re lucky enough to get some if their pieces… And of course the classic designers like Armani and Prada and things like that. That stuff just fits so well. I personally look for a lot of things that are timeless and classic. I think that everybody should have nice staples in their closet that they can reuse over and over again. You get some really nice designers and it makes a difference, it makes you look good and feel good. It just fits so well.
JJ: When you’re out shopping or looking at clothes, what do you look for? What catches your eye?
JB: I look for things with detail. Whether its the way that things are stitched differently or different colored stitching. Or like a unique button or something like that. I just look for minute details. I used to go for flashy stuff and then I realized that that is not the best look for me. So I tend to go for classic pieces that have something very unique and special, as far as detailing goes.
JJ: What’s your favorite tv show at the moment?
JB: That’s a tough question. I have to say Homeland. It’s unreal. The acting and stories are just unbelievable.
JJ: Favorite movie of all time?
JB: True Romance. Not because it’s the best movie out there but I’m a Detroit boy. I will always be a Detroit boy. I think that True Romance has got everything. Its got gangsters, its got sex, its got drugs, it has violence, it has love, it has Brad Pitt, honey bear bong. I think that movie is so special and so unique. My all time favorite for those reasons.
JJ: Favorite song at the moment?
JB: My favorite song at the moment is going to have to be my favorite song of all time, which is Talking Heads’ “This Must Be The Place”. But at the moment it would probably be “B–ch, Don’t Kill My Vibe” [by Kendrick Lamar].
JJ: Are you going to Coachella?
JB: Oh yes! Absolutely. I’m really looking forward to seeing The XX. I’ve seen so many people over the years and so many amazing acts, and things like that because I’ve been fortunate enough to go to a lot of the MTV Movie Awards and the VMAs and things like that. And I’ve seen a lot of classic performers that I love and enjoy but I was not able to get tickets to The XX when they came in town, in L.A. And that first album to me at the time of my life was so special and unique and groundbreaking, and I’m really excited to see them at Coachella.
JJ: We know you really like pasta, but do you have a favorite food, like a go to must have?
JB: I love seaweed snacks. Is that weird? I love to snack on seaweed. I think it’s the most delicious thing ever. Oh and almond butter. Justin’s Almond Butter, the little freeze pack. You’ll probably find me carrying those around all the time too, the maple flavor. So good, unbelievably delicious.
Producer: Jared Eng
Photographer: Justin Campbell
Stylist: Maeve Reilly
Hair: Ryan Richman
Makeup: Desirae Cherman
Don’t miss the one-hour season finale of The New Normal TONIGHT (April 2) at 9/8c!