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'Awkward' Star Beau Mirchoff on Playing a Jock, Set Pranks and His Nude Scene

by Annette Bourdeau, posted Jul 19th 2011 10:00AM
beau mirchoff, awkwardReady for a fresh take on high school? MTV is betting that you are. The network is debuting 'Awkward' this week, a new teen comedy that has more in common with 'Freaks and Geeks' than 'One Tree Hill.'

The show does have one similiarity with the long-running 'One Tree Hill,' though: It stars 'OTH' alum Ashley Rickards as Jenna, an angst-ridden teen who becomes a pseudo-celebrity after an accident everyone mistook for a suicide attempt.

The dark comedy also stars Canadian hunk Beau Mirchoff ('Desperate Housewives') as Matty, Jenna's popular jock love interest. We caught up with Mirchoff to get the low-down on 'Awkward.' He also dishes about set pranks, his nude scene and which 'Desperate Housewife' turned him into a stammering school boy.

What was your first reaction when you heard about the concept for 'Awkward'?
Beau Mirchoff: Yay, I have a job! I was elated, I was extremely excited. The script is so good, the pilot was great. All the actors they hired were top-notch, and I was just excited to work on something I was passionate about.

What was the dynamic like on set when you first got together with all of the other young actors?
It was volatile. [Laughs] No! It was cool. I hit it off with everyone real quick. Everyone had great chemistry.



What do you think really sets it apart from other teen shows?
I know a lot of teen shows right now aren't as realistic. Our show is single camera; it's got this real indie feel -- the way it looks and the tone of it. It's very new. I don't think anything on TV right now has a tone that's close to that.

Does it remind you of any other shows or movies?
The tone is kind of like [the movie] 'Juno.' It's a little bit like 'My So-Called Life' or 'Freaks and Geeks.'

Who do you think the show will appeal to?
Um, women from ages 13-29! [Laughs] But no, I think it will definitely appeal to younger girls, but I think it's definitely got a wider demographic. I know my brother's girlfriend will love it. She's 30. I know it's kind of her thing. We have younger characters who are in high school, but I think we have the maturity. The older characters also carry their weight, so I think it will definitely have a wide appeal.

So parents may relate to the parents on the show?
Exactly. And if they don't relate to them, they will find it funny.

What's your character like? Is he the resident jock?
Matty plays sports, but he's not the typical jock guy. He's more than that. He's popular, but he's popular without trying. He's genuinely a nice guy. He means well, but sometimes his antics come across in the wrong way. Especially with girls. He's 16, he hasn't had a girlfriend aside from a few flings. In the first season, especially with Jenna, he's trying to figure out how to deal with the relationship.

What can we expect to see from Matty throughout the season?
The rise and fall, rise and fall, rise and fall. [Laughs] You see me naked in one episode.

Is it a coming out of the shower type of thing?
It's a running in the field type of thing!

What about his home life? Do we get to see any of that?
You do. You get to learn a lot about Matty, actually. You learn there's a lot more to him than at first glance. I have issues with my brother that I keep inside of me. A lot of family issues that are relatively new to Matty, so therefore still very fresh and I'm not sure how to deal with them.

awkward, beau mirchoffWhat about the other characters?
Ah, it' doesn't matter! [Laughs] There are a lot of different storylines. What I think is cool about our show is you get to learn about every character and the reason why they act a certain way. Even the bully of the show, you learn why she acts that way. Everyone's kind of redeemable, which is true. I think everyone has redeemable qualities and nobody is all bad.

What was it like playing Drea de Matteo's son on 'Desperate Housewives'?
Um, fantastic! I was a big fan of Drea's, actually. That was a lot of fun. I primarily worked with her and really got to know her. She's a super cool woman. She's got a little daughter who she's always talking about. Just a real person. That was great.

She was so hot on 'The Sopranos.' Did you have a crush on her before you met her?
I definitely had a crush on her! I think the first time I met her she was like "Hey, what's up?" and I was like, "Good, good. I mean ... nothing!"

Were there any set pranks on 'Awkward'?
We would lock Jillian [Rose Reed, who plays Tamara] in her trailer. The trailer has this door handle, and from outside you can move it so the door won't open. We would lock her in there for a good 15 minutes, she would have no idea how to get out, she had no idea it was us. She would call Brett [Davern, who plays Jake] and be like, "Hey Brett, my door won't open!"

Anything else you think fans would be interested in hearing about 'Awkward'?
Fans should know that it's actually a really good show. I think it's been awhile since there's been a fresh take on the high school experience. Get ready for some fun!

'Awkward' premieres in the US on Tuesday July 19 at 11PM ET/10PM CT on MTV, and in Canada on Wednesday, July 27 at 8PM ET on MuchMusic.

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