Gregg Sulkin: JJ Spotlight of the Week (Exclusive!)
The 21-year-old British actor currently stars in the drama White Frog, which is about a neglected teen with mild Asperger’s syndrome whose life is challenged and ultimately changed forever when tragedy hits his family.
“My favorite part of filming was hanging out with the guys,” Gregg told JJ of his co-stars Teen Wolf‘s Tyler Posey, Glee‘s Harry Shum Jr., and Twilight‘s Booboo Stewart. “We just all clicked. I never felt like I had to do a day of work and that kind of proved why I’m so in love with the business because it was just so much fun. Of course we had to work hard as well, but it was just so rewarding. The guys were great.”
In case you missed them, check out some behind-the-scenes photos from Gregg‘s shoot too!
Click inside to read our interview with Gregg Sulkin…
JustJared.com Interview – Gregg Sulkin
Just Jared: So we heard you just got back from Brazil. How was your trip? Why were you there?
Gregg Sulkin: It was World Youth Day when I was there and three million people gathered together. It was the craziest thing I’ve ever experienced in my life! It was my first time in Brazil, so it was amazing.
JJ: How long were you there?
GS: A week. I saw the giant statue of Jesus Christ, which was unreal. It was my third wonder of the world that I’ve seen, so it was amazing.
JJ: What was the coolest thing you got to do?
GS: Going through the sea of people. I would look behind me and there were millions of people behind me. It was incredible. But going to see the (Christ the Redeemer) statue was definitely my favorite part.
JJ: Did you go with friends?
GS: It was a big group of us. Last year, I went to Peru, so the same group of people who went to Peru last year went to Brazil this time.
JJ: Do you travel a lot?
GS: Yeah. That’s the good thing about growing up in Europe; the fact that I got to travel. Everything is so close to each other! A year ago, I did the math and I’ve traveled to over twenty countries already. I love it!
JJ: Wow! Did you get recognized in Brazil? We’ve heard the fans there are crazy!
GS: They’re crazy! 100 people camped outside of the hotel from the minute we got there until the minute we left. They’d follow us in taxis, buy us presents. They’d follow us everywhere – you walk down to the beach and there’s a hundred people behind you, following you. They were super sweet, though. Very affectionate, very touchy, and they like to grab and try and kiss you. It was a really interesting experience!
JJ: How did they know you were there? Did one person recognize you and the rest swarmed?
GS: This kind of happened in Peru last year. We tweeted a couple days before we left that we were going to go to Brazil, so obviously they were very excited that we were going to be in their country.
JJ: What is the major difference between your Brazilian, English, and American fans?
GS: The South American fans are the craziest – in the most amazing way. They are the loudest, most passionate, and most dedicated. English fans are the same same as American ones – they’re used to seeing celebrities walk into their coffee shop on a daily basis, so it’s not as big of a deal. But in South America, celebrities coming to their country means a lot to them. It’s more rare. It’s just wild. Instead of somebody coming up to you and asking for a photo, they’ll grab you and take a photo.
JJ: Wow. So let’s talk about White Frog! Tell us about your experience filming that.
GS: It was the most challenging role of my career so far. I’m most proud of it too. I put a lot of hard work and effort into it and it’s a character that’s so opposite me. I was very nervous to do it because I wasn’t sure I could pull it off. My character Randy, from the outside life, seems to be going by swimmingly. He’s got a beautiful house. Everything is superficial though; on the inside he’s just an extremely, extremely torn character.
His life starts spiraling down when that person dies who he has a relationship with. But he has to remain the rock throughout. The nice part about my character is it has that when a negative thing happens, it can be turned into a positive. And I like that kind of outlook on life and it’s why I responded so well to the script. (JJ Note: White Frog is available on DVD now!)
JJ: You’ve done quite a few lighter, comedic roles. With this being darker, was it hard to get into that kind of mentality?
GS: You know what’s funny? I never saw myself doing comedy, ever. I didn’t know I could be funny! I always felt more natural doing drama. It was just hard to raise these questions about teenage problems, like sexuality. My character didn’t know what he was. Everyone is always growing, but to really try and figure out what it was like going through those problems at 16 and 17. I went through problems at 16 and 17, but nothing like this character. So I had to use my imagination and heighten everything. It helped that we had a great cast, too!
JJ: The film really does have a great cast! Did you guys get to bond on set?
GS: My favorite part of filming was hanging out with the guys. We just all clicked. I never felt like I had to do a day of work and proved why I’m so in love with the business because it was just so much fun. Of course we had to work hard as well, but it was just so rewarding. We had quite a lot of group scenes where there were five or six of us. So it was great to hang out, eat lunch together. Just chill.
JJ: We have to ask. Fans are dying to know: are we going to see Wesley return to Rosewood on Pretty Little Liars at some point?
GS: Recently I did a Fox pilot [Derlium]. It was a shame because it was such a cool concept and we had an amazing director and people attached to it. It didn’t work out, so that hindered whether I was going to return to the show or not because I was tied to Fox for seven-ish years. If I return, then I’ll be very happy to go back on it. If I don’t, then I had the best time. Those guys have the most well-run, oiled machine going possible!
JJ: Now that Aria and Ezra are broken up, a lot of fans are hoping for an Aria and Wesley romance. Do you think they could work out?
GS: Maybe! Who knows, who knows!
JJ: As far as acting goes, who do you look up to in the industry? Is there someone you aspire to be like?
GS: Outside the [acting] industry, David Beckham. He did so much for our country [England]. He’s a perfect role model and understands that there are thousands of kids dyeing their hair like him, cutting their hair like him, and trying to play football like him. Every kid in England wants to be David Beckham, and I think that’s amazing. And he does so much for charity. I wish Hollywood had more David Beckhams. There are too many people here that are role models that don’t take on this whole responsibility of being one. They just don’t understand it.
In the [acting] industry, I like what Leonardo DiCaprio has done with his career. I love how Robert Downey, Jr. has turned his career around. I’m hugely, hugely, hugely against drugs. Addiction is probably one of the hardest things to deal with and how he’s come back is remarkable.
JJ: So we assume you’re a really big soccer, or football, fan? Do you have to wake up really, really early to watch games since you’re in L.A.?
GS: You have no idea what I’ve been through (laughs). I have to tell people that are getting to know me that they can’t come hang out with me early in the morning because they are going to see a side to me that they don’t want to see. I scream at the TV and I get extremely angry. I’m very passionate, it runs in my blood.
I’ve been on location a few times shooting, and I’ve nearly been thrown out of hotels for noise complaints. And I’ve lost my temper a couple of times in certain situations watching a game. So it’s something that I’m working on (laughs).
To be honest, I was going to be a football player before I was an actor. On a daily basis, I always think, “What would my life have been now if I wasn’t an actor?” Or if I didn’t have a knee injury and kept on playing football. I don’t know, it’s one of those things. But I love it. I’m going back to Brazil definitely next year for the World Cup. I don’t care how I get there. I’m either going on a bus, or jumping, going inside someone’s suitcase, I’m going. Even if Steven Spielberg calls, I’m going. (laughs)
JJ: Do you still get to play a lot?
GS: Like three times a week. I used to play six times a week when I was younger. But now I take it easy. I can’t afford to get injured!
JJ: That’s still a lot though, given your schedule.
GS: It’s tough. I lose my temper very easily. I don’t know why, I think when I play football, I get so competitive. I’m relaxed in real life, though. I feel like I’m quite normal and very calm but when I get on the football page, my disciplinary record hasn’t been the best this season. But I’ll improve on it next year!
JJ: Do you like any American sports?
GS: I’m into ice hockey! I watch the L.A. Kings. I try to go to every game. If not, I watch them on TV. And basketball too but it’s tough. I think [American] football is the best game, but there’s just no L.A. teams so it’s hard for me to get into it. I wouldn’t watch someone from a different state. It’s like me supporting Manchester United, but I lived in North London. You go with where you were born.
JJ: Very true! Now, we’re curious – do you think it’s true that British men tend to be better dressers?
GS: Definitely! However, I could be the exception though, because I grew up playing sports. So I go out in shorts, t-shirt, and running shoes on a daily basis. But that’s because I grew up in sports. My brother for example, dresses immaculately. I think it’s just the culture. The people in Argentina dress amazing. New York fashion’s kind of into it but it’s more like hipster kind of fashion.
JJ: How would you describe your style? If you went out with your friends, what’s usually your go-to outfit?
GS: A pair of jeans. Honestly, I’m a very, very basic dresser. And that’s happened where I had to go to an event. I just kind of wear whatever. Like if I’m going out on a daily basis and I’m not being seen, then I’ll just wear like shorts, t-shirt, running shoes. But if I’m going out, like to a movie or something, or on a date, I’ll wear a shirt, jeans, and shoes.
JJ: What other projects do you have coming up?
GS: I have a really cool movie called Panda Eyes. It should out in January in Europe, and then it will come out in L.A. shortly after that. And it’s sick. Fox is distributing it around the world. We had Spanish director Isabel Coixet, who’s really well known in Spain. While I was walking around with her in Spain, just like going to lunch, there were just loads of people coming up, asking for her autograph. She’s like the Spielberg of Spain, so it was pretty cool. And she’s unreal. She just has this really interesting, unique vision. I completely trusted her.
Sometimes you work with directors and it’s always a collaboration, but sometimes it clicks, sometimes it doesn’t. But me and her though, for some reason, she didn’t have to say much, but what she said, I completely listened to. It was Sophie Turner from Game of Thrones, who’s like…I could go on for an hour talking about how amazing she is as a person and as an actress – the sweetest.
Then, we had Jonathan Rhys Meyers, who played me and Sophie’s school teacher. And then we have Rhys Ifans and Claire Forlani. I’ve been a fan of Rhys for years. He always delivers but he’s so underrated. If I say his name, not many people know it. He’s actually one of the actors I respect the most in the industry. I’m really excited for the movie to come out – it’s like a supernatural thriller and it’s very dark.
JJ: And what can you tell us about your character?
GS: I play a guy called Drew. The movie is about a girl who thinks she may be being followed by a doppelganger. So Sophie’s character is having a lot of problems at home, and there’s a lot of controversy between her mom and her dad, and their relationship. For Sophie’s character, my character is kind of like the break-out. That’s where all the stories are spilled. And pretty much, we start having a love interest. It’s a very sweet love story but with a very dark twist. It’s a typical story but with a very unusual situation around it. It’s like that forbidden fruit that you know shouldn’t go there, kind of situation. Sophie and I had such amazing chemistry on screen, so it’s going to come across nicely.
PHOTO SHOOT CREDITS —–
– Sweater and Leather Jacket: RRL by Ralph Lauren. Shirt: Carven
Pictures 2 and 3
– Shirt: Vintage Harley Davidson
– Top: Clade. Pants: Kenzo
– Shirt and Shorts: Adidas for Opening Ceremony
Producer: Jared Eng (@JaredEng)
Photographer: Justin Campbell (@JustJustinNYC)
Stylist: Catherine Collins (@cathcolls)
Grooming: Melissa Adelaide (@MelissaAdelaide)
Interviewer: Sharon Tharp (@sharontharp)