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Matt Czuchry

Gilmore guy

by Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2006 PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved.  Posted: March 3, 2006.

It isnít easy to just jump into arguably the smartest long-running series on television Ė one known for its brilliant writing and strong ensemble cast Ė and make an immediate impression.  However, Matt Czuchry made it look simple.

Czuchry joined the cast of Gilmore Girls in the popular showís fifth season.  At that point the story was in flux.  Rory Gilmore (Alexis Bledel) had moved away from home to go to Yale.  This led to growing pains for her and her mother Lorelai (Lauren Graham), as both struggled to cope with changes in their relationship and their places in each other's livesDespite going off to college, Rory was still holding onto her past and having relationships with hometown guys when she met Czuchryís character, Logan Huntzberger Ė a privileged, somewhat spoiled, brilliant-but-unmotivated, thrill-seeking publishing heir.  It was a case of dislike at first sight, however there was an undeniable attraction between the two.  As Rory and Logan have gotten to know each other, grown closer and tried to get past their differences and their problems, Matt Czuchry has become the latest breakout star from the series. 

As the sixth season of Gilmore Girls was winding down, Czuchry braved a cold to sit down with us and tell us about his career and the show.

How did you first get involved in acting?

My junior year in college I took some Meisner courses outside of school.  I played tennis in college, so I didnít major in theater just because of the time constraint.  I took some classes outside of college and really fell in love with those classes.  Then when it became to make the decision of what to do, I didnít want to go to law school, so I decided that I would try to pursue acting in some form.  You know, when I first graduated college it wasnít like, okay, Iím moving out to LA. 

Did you ever consider going pro at tennis?

You know, it was a very, very quick and brief thought.  But I just wasnít good enough to play at that level. 

A friend of mine is a big fan of Dark Shadows, and he tells me that you were going to be in a new version of the series a few years ago.  How did you get that role and what happened to the show?

I did the pilot of Dark Shadows.  Itís been a couple of years now.  I played a character called Willie Loomis, who was Ė kind of what happens is he gets bitten by the vampire Barnabas and he becomes kind of his right-hand henchman.  Iím a big fan of horror movies and comic books and that genre.  It was a lot of fun to do.  The two projects that got picked up that year were Ė that was the year Jack & Bobby got picked up and The Mountain.  I think that during that period of time, it was kind of when The OC was really popping and I think that the decisions were made to go towards a younger audience with those two shows.  Whereas Dark Shadows, it was kind of a disturbing piece, actually.  It skewed a little bit older than the main demographic for the WB, and I think thatís why they went a different way.

Speaking of going for a younger demographic, the first time I remember seeing you was in Hack...

Oh, nice, manÖ

Which you were brought into on the second season to bring in some young blood.  Iím from Philadelphia, so I was a big fan (the show was filmed in Philly.)  At the time it was on I interviewed George Dzundza, who you kind of ended up replacing.  What was it like being on that show?

Iíve lived in LA for six and a half years.  Each of the stepping stones [leads] to the next.  Hack is a huge reason why Iím on Gilmore Girls now.  I say that because just watching David Morse and Andre Braugher work, it was justÖ

Theyíre both amazing actorsÖ

I was able to be around them and soak that up like a sponge.  It was incredible.  Both of them are so good and so successful and theyíre both completely different in the way that Ė David kind of works a lot from the inside out and Andre works from the outside out.  (laughs)  Both of their styles work so well for them.  I was able to just learn as an actor around them.  Also, what I loved about them was they came to work every single day, prepared.  They have families and they would go home to their families.  They were great actors and great people.  Especially David, because most of my scenes were with David Ė he really became a mentor to me.  So my time there was wonderful. 

Gilmore Girls was already a well established series when you auditioned for it.  How familiar were you with the show and how exciting was it to get an opportunity to be a part of it?

I was very familiar with the show.  When I came on, it had already been on for four seasons.  I came in the fifth season.  I was very familiar with the show because itís such a unique show.  So those first couple of days of work were very surreal, being a part of it.  It was a project that I had been familiar with as a fan and also had auditioned for several times before getting the character of Logan. 

Logan was originally only supposed to a limited amount of episodes.  When did you get the feeling that he may last longer?

Well, at the point where I came in, it had already been established that it was going to kind of be a year long thing.  A thirteen episode kind of thing.  So I knew coming into it that it was for that long.  Of course, for it being extended further than that, I had no idea.  But I did know that he was going to play an important part in that fifth season of the storyline.

The series is famous for its smart dialogue and fast quips.  Do you ever get a script and have to look up some of the topical references?

(laughs)  Yes.  Absolutely.  I have a dictionary close by when Iím preparing the scene.  I definitely have a dictionary close by to look up certain words, or references of certain people. 

In a lot of ways, Rory is such a romantic and Logan is rather cynical.  Why do you think they work as a couple?

I think that those differences bring them together.  Weíve seen this season how theyíve learned from each other with that.  Logan sees that romantic nature in Rory and wants a little piece of that.  I think Logan opens Rory up to a new side of the universe that she hasnít seen.  So those differences bring them together. 

I know you mostly work with Alexis (Bledel, who plays Rory); whatís she like to work with?

I was thinking last night, itís unbelievable how Alexis has been able to shoulder a TV show with so much of the pressure for six years.  She got the job when she was seventeen or eighteen. Alexis and Lauren Ė itís their show.  They have to shoulder so much of the responsibility and pressures and demands of being on a TV show.  Just the amount of time and work and effort that goes into it.  Sheís very, very inspirational to me that she can shoulder this burden.  Sheís been doing it for six years and sheís twenty-three now.  Thatís whatís most impressive to me.  Itís kind of a joy to watch just how sheís able to go from scene to scene and day to day and be able to shoulder the burden of the show. 

Now, Iíve only seen you in Hack and Gilmore Girls, and the characters of Jamie and Logan are very different in most ways, but one thing they had in common is that they had some run-ins with the law.  Obviously Logan is rich enough that he isnít doing it for profit.  Do you think it was just boredom on his part that he gets into trouble so often?

I think that it comes from a place of Ė that he has all the means necessary to do whatever he wants.  You mentioned that, with the money.  Itís just a kind of a feeling of Ė he feels like heís untouchable, in a way.  Anytime heís ever gotten in trouble, heís been able to get out of it.  So he doesnít have a frame of reference where he gets into trouble and it really, really puts people in danger for any extended period of time.  He has these means to him, so he does whatever he wants because he can.  The difference Ė with Jamie is very, very much completely different with Hack.  A lot of those were because he was a troubled kid, heíd get into trouble and I donít think that Ė Loganís not a troubled kid.  He has all these means and he takes advantage of it.

In all of the episodes revolving around the newspaper, Logan is usually not willing to work hard but when he does do work it is pretty much acknowledged that he is a very talented journalist.  Then in the recent episode where they had to get the paper out in a few hours, he pitched in totally and it showed he knew a lot about the business side of publishing too.  Do you think he is avoiding working too much on it to piss off his father?  Do you see him getting into the newspaper business eventually?

You know, that episode was very telling as to the capabilities that Logan has.  Itís not that he canít do it; itís just that he doesnít want to.  You saw with that episode that if he wants to do it, heíd be very, very successful at it, because heís been around it his whole entire life.  I think that a lot of times it has to do with because heís grown up with it and his father says you have to do this, it is a certain thing that he is just rebelling against his father.  Thatís one piece of it.  The other piece, I also believe, is that at least at this point in his life, Logan wants to do other things.  It goes back to the other question you asked me.  He wants to experience life in a different way at age twenty-two.  He doesnít want to be that responsible kid that he thinks would happen as an adult.  So itís two-fold.  One, he is rebelling against his father, and two, he doesnít want to live as an adult right now.  He wants to be a kid and take all the advantages as a kid.  Where heíll go down the line, hopefully there are going to be some storylines come into play.  Weíll see as the season progresses.  I think it would be very interesting to see who he would be as an adult in the business world.  It certainly makes sense for him, if he is going to be an adult in the business world, to be a part of the paper in some fashion.  Iím hopeful, actually, that Logan at some point Ė when he decides, okay, I have to become adult Ė that is the path that he takes.

I know that youíre ahead of me as far as what you know on the storyline, but in the last aired episode Loganís father comes down on him hard and tells him heís going to have to spend a year in London.  Now Iím assuming since weíre talking now that Logan wonít be gone for that long, but did that whole turn of events surprise you?

I know that things have been building kind of to the end of the show and the last couple of episodes that have been on the air are kind of pushing the storylines towards where they want to finish the season.  So, I think that piece specifically was just to show that itís not going to be smooth sailing for Logan and Rory.  They have issues to face Ė in their relationship and externally as well.  Those things havenít gone away.  Those differences that they have are still issues, you know?  So I think thatís what that piece was about.  So I think it was kind of just setting up those ending storylines.  It didnít surprise me, because I felt it was about that.

Logan and his family have had so many problems over the two seasons that youíve been on.  Do you see there being a big blowout somewhere down the line?  As a trust fund baby who is so used to a certain lifestyle, do you think that Logan could ever just completely cut himself off from them?  Or do you think heíd sort of toe the line to stay with the family and the money?

He certainly has walked that line over the course of the last two seasons.  Weíve seen him walk that line where heís able to Ė Logan is very good at understanding peopleís limits.  Pushing them to their limits, but not over them.  Thatís a characteristic that he has thatís very important with his family and his relationships.  So heís able to push that family to the limit of frustration, but not cutting him off.  If at any point if somebody went to their limit and he went too far, I think heíd bring them back a little bit.  (laughs)  So thatís kind of how Iíd answer thatÖ

Speaking of turn of events, on this seasonís episodes there has been a certain amount of controversy amongst the fans because for the first time in the series, the relationship between Lorelai and Rory has been rather strained.  Do you think itís just a reflection of the natural tendency for college-aged girls to fight with their mothers?

I think it was strained in the beginning of this season because their relationship was going to go to a new place.  At any time, to have growth, it kind of becomes strained first.  Thatís what we saw in the beginning of the season.  Rory was finding her own way Ė in a different light that was influenced a lot by Loganís character and what weíve talked about so far.  Their relationship was strained, because it was going to go through a period of growth throughout this season.  I think that theyíre starting to talk together about different things.  Theyíre both Ė their relationship is now different.  I think that itís going to be at a higher level.  The conversations that they have, the honesty that they have and the relationship that they have is going to be even stronger that it was in years past.  In order to get to that new place, they had to go through that strain.

When I was in college, big party weekends usually didnít revolve around staying in heated tents, drinking fine wines, wearing ape masks and jumping off towers with umbrellas.  Do you think that sense of fancifulness is one of the charms of the series?

(laughs)  That was, you know Ė last season the Life and Death Brigade Ė certainly an element of storylines that the new character Logan brought to the show, which I thought was wonderful.  It was a side which you could see instantly who this guy was.  He has huge amounts of money.  He takes risks.  Heís going to spare no expense to have fun.  Those are three huge pieces that weíve seen carried through last year and into this year.  Those storylines are going to come up again towards the end of this season, as far as the taking risks aspect was concerned.  So it was a perfect way to show in kind of a fantasy world and a heightened reality.  I mean, (laughs) certainly I never went to any of those kinds of parties.  Thatís what Loganís life is.  It is heightened.  It is almost a fantasy world that he lives in.  It was a perfect way to show a lot of his characteristics, but not force it on the audience.  That was a very fun episode for me. 

I read an interview with (series creator) Amy Sherman-Palladino recently in which she said that with the recent merge of the WB & UPN to become the CW things were a little up in the air for the show and it hasnít been renewed yet.  That was kind of surprising to me, because in all the articles I read about the merger at the time Gilmore Girls was one of only a handful of series on both networks that were considered a given to return.  Have you heard any more news about how the merger is going to affect the show?

We have not been officially renewed.  I think most of those things happen in May timeframe as far as it being officially renewed.  With the talk of the merger, a lot of people are just looking at the top-rated shows for the WB and UPN.  And Gilmore Girls this season has been either one or two this year in the WB.  So I think that when they were looking at Ė as far as whether it would be television or news Ė where theyíre talking about this merger, they looked at what the top-rated shows are on both of those networks and figured that those would be the ones that would be the flagship shows to start off the new network.  Although itís not official, it certainly would make sense that they would keep one of their highest rated shows.  But itís definitely not official and I think anytime youíre looking at something different it is up in the air.  Until, basically, they give us the official word that we all have jobs, then (laughs) itís not official, you know?  Thatís the way it is.  But if you could try and make an educated guess on things Ė and thatís what people have been doing Ė if you made an educated guess it certainly would seem that Gilmore Girls would be back.  But at this point it is still just a guess.

Do you have any ideas for the show that youíd love to see them do Ė either about Loganís character or more in general?

I would like to see if they could develop the business side of Loganís character more.  Like those instances at the paper, but at an even higher level as far as in the business world as an adult.  Heís close to graduating, so if he is going to graduate, it would be interesting to see who Logan would be as an adult in the business world.  That would certainly be something that Iíd like to see.

Ideally, how would you like for people to see your career?

When I first came to LA and I sat down with my dad, we were talking about a game plan.  It was the slow road to the things that I wanted to do.  Very purposeful.  I think that weíve seen that in the six and a half years itís been kind of incremental for me.  Thatís very important to me; to build that skill set incrementally and to develop as an actor as I move forward.  And then taking that into the future, itís just making choices that are challenging for me as an actor.  Trying to vanish into these different characters.  Thatís the goal.  One of my favorite actors is Philip Seymour Hoffman.  Iíve followed his career ever since way, way back, and heís been able to do that Ė whether itís been Boogie Nights, Magnolia or The Talented Mr. Ripley.  That run, and of course now you see it with Capote.  Itís about the work that he does.  In order to answer your question very quickly thatís what it is.  I want it to be about the work that Iíve done and not about anything external. 

Are there any misconceptions youíd like to clear up?

I donít think so.  (laughs)  If there are then I donít know about them Ė which is completely possible.  There could be plenty of misconceptions out there about me, but Iím a pretty private person so I wouldnít know about it if there was.  (laughs again.)  At least at this point.

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Copyright ©2006 PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved.  Posted: March 3, 2006.

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Copyright ©2006 PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved.  Posted: March 3, 2006.