Hart of Dixie's Wilson Bethel Shows Us His Heart for JJ Spotlight
The 30-year-old actor, who is wearing Creative Reaction shoes throughout the shoot, stars as Wade Kinsella on the CW series Hart of Dixie, which just returned for its fourth season earlier this week. After a quick break for the holidays, the show will pick back up in its new time slot on Friday, January 9 at 8/7c.
Wilson got his start in the HBO mini-series Generation Kill and has a featured role in the new star-studded flick Inherent Vice, which is playing in select theaters right now. It will be released nationwide in January!
In our exclusive interview, Wilson told us why it seems like everyone at Hart of Dixie is pregnant lately, how music has made a big impact on his life, and why he had the hots for Elisabeth Shue at a young age.
Click inside for our complete interview with Wilson Bethel…
Wilson Bethel Interview – JustJared.com Exclusive
Just Jared: What’s been your favorite scene to shoot so far in the new season thus far? (JJ Editor’s Note: Interview took place in August)
WB: Rachel [Bilson] and I have been working together again a lot and that’s always fun. At this point, we have a good chemistry going and certainly fans are supportive of that, so that’s nice to have that feel that we’re feeding into what they want. There’s some good energy that comes out of that. In the last season, the writers made a big point of keeping us apart for most of the season. Fans of the show will be very excited that we’re working together a lot this year and that our relationship, Zoe and Wade’s thing, is much, much closer this year, more than it’s ever been. That dynamic is something fans of the show have been very supportive of so they’ll be very happy of where the show goes this season. Alot of people got frustrated with the last season. They felt like people were throwing wrenches into the gears, but it’s back on track.
JJ: Do you have a favorite prop from set?
WB: My flannel shirts. Wade has a pretty sick flannel shirt collection. And my guitar, I got a sick guitar, courtesy of Gibson. Shout out! (laughs)
JJ: What’s the first thing that comes to mind when I mention Scott Porter?
WB: Video games (laughs)… and karaoke! Probably karaoke first, then video games!
JJ: Rachel Bilson.
JJ: Jaime King.
WB: Baby, I guess? This is unfair because everybody is pregnant or just had a baby. How about stylish!
JJ: How did you get into acting?
WB: I did a lot of theater when I was growing up in New Hampshire and then partly up in San Francisco. In high school I was busy smoking weed and chasing girls, so I wasn’t doing as much theater then, but after I graduated I deferred from college. I spent a year traveling and then I got back from this trip and was looking for something to do and I came down to L.A. to visit a friend and just stayed.
JJ: How old were you then?
WB: I was eighteen. And it wasn’t ever intended to be a permanent thing. In fact, when I first came down here I was planning on moving to New York at the time because my brother was out there. I got my first-ever cell phone in L.A., but I got it with a New York number because I was planning on moving to New York. So for the first five years I lived in L.A., everyone was like, “Why do you have a New York number?” (laughs)
JJ: You said you can play guitar. Are there other instruments you can play?
WB: Uhhh, the nose flute? [Laughs] No, I’m still learning guitar. I’m still early-ish in my guitar journey. But, music has always been a really big part of my life. I was a DJ for many years.
JJ: Were you DJ Wilson Bethel?
WB: DJ Murphy Lawless! My childhood nickname was Murphy for some reason. I was into record collecting for a long time and I’ve always sung. That’s always been a part of my life so it was kind of a natural extension at some point to try and learn an instrument. At this point, just guitar, but I’d love to learn the piano too. I think it’s an amazing, beautiful instrument. Right now, guitar is a good starting spot for me because it doesn’t come super natural to me.
JJ: Would you ever pursue a music career?
WB: It’s something I’ve really thought about to be honest with you. My brother is a talented musician and producer and he built a music studio in my house. He works out of it almost every day working. He and I have made some stuff together, starting way back in the day when we were in high school. We even had a little hip hop group!
We still record stuff together every now and then, just kind of playing around if I want to write a song for my girlfriend or something. But yeah, I have a kind of back burner ambition to make some music with him, partly just as an excuse to collaborate with my brother. It’s a hard thing too because you don’t want to be the guy who is like, “the actor who thinks he can be a musician,” so I would be very careful about not wanting to appear like a dilettante. And also, not doing some corny singer-songwriter sh-t. I would want to make some fun, funky, bangin’ music. White boy Prince? (laughs)
JJ: What kind of music have you been obsessing over lately?
WB: This question always catches me off guard and it pains me that it does. Tom Vek, he’s a British guy. He just came out with a new album. I love his stuff. He’s kind of a little underground on the electronic-indie scene. This band Jungle is super good. I saw them in concert recently and they f–king crushed it. They’re like the whitest British dudes you’ve ever seen with like funky, sick music.
I’ve been loving on Jhene Aiko, who is doing some stuff with Drake. I’ve been listening to a lot of Disclosure, a lot of hip hop. I love Kanye and Jay Z, those guys are the sh-t. Little Dragon, Arcade Fire.
I just went and saw Arcade Fire a couple nights ago in Santa Barbara and it was f–king awesome. Those guys are so sick. Anyways, I could go on, but those are some of the ones I’m really jamming right now.
JJ: Any television shows you follow closely?
WB: Somehow I didn’t watch The Office until now and now I’m getting into The Office and I’m f–king freaking out over it. I am on season four and I can’t get enough of it. I think Steve Carell is a genius. All of those guys, they’re all amazing. My girlfriend and I have started watching an episode or two before bed every single night and it sends me so pleasantly into the place of sleep.
And then I love Game of Thrones. I love Boardwalk Empire. I loved Breaking Bad obviously when that was on… Arrested Development. I don’t watch a ton of TV. Most of the stuff I watch, pretty much all of it, is on Netflix. I’m always catching up basically and I think I will be for the rest of my life.
JJ: Do you have any side projects you’re working on right now?
WB: I’ve been doing this web-series with The CW for the last few years, which has been really fun and a really cool creative outlet. Now, I’m working on a pilot for them for next year.
WB: Yeah. It will be an hour-long, sci-fi genre thing. So that’s exciting. And then, me and my partner Dugan O’Neal, who is a director and collaborator, we’re working on a couple feature things.
JJ: Did you get to do anything fun over the summer before work started up?
WB: I went to Guatemala for a week and hung out in the mountains there with my girlfriend and a couple friends. And then I went to Mexico, to Tulum, for a buddy’s wedding. A couple road trips, camping!
JJ: Random question – who was your first celebrity crush?
WB: It’s funny that you say this because I was just thinking about it the other day for some random reason and I thought, “Oh man, maybe I’m dating myself here,” but I would say it’s a toss-up between Neve Campbell on Party of Five, I remember having super hots for Neve Campbell. And then the two others… I had this huge thing for Elisabeth Shue. I had a weird older woman thing for [her]. Even when I had the hots for her, she was probably in her 30s. She wasn’t like the young, new thing on the scene. She had been around, but I kinda liked that… I had a huge crush on her and also, of course, Heather Graham. I was head over heels for Heather Graham. That’s about as random as it gets.
Fashion Credits –
Photos 1 and 4: Ralph Lauren shirt, Diesel pants, Creative Recreation shoes
Photo 2: Diesel shirt and jacket, Tortoise jeans, Creative Recreation shoes
Photo 3: Tommy Hilfiger shirt, Hotel 1171 jacket, American Rag vintage shorts, Adidas shoes
Photo 5: American Rag vintage overalls, Diesel jacket, Brixton hat