CAST INSIDER: Jonathan Torrens

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Q: Let’s chat about Chester and his season two story arc…

A: On the surface, Chester appears to have it together in season two; he’s got a powerful job, the beautiful girl, and – best of all – Fitz right where he wants him. Sadly, this only means he has further to fall from grace. As we saw in the Repo Wedding episode, Chester has been hiding a secret that will once again give Fitz the upper hand and leave him marinating in his own patheticness.

Q: What is the best part of playing Chester? What is your inspiration for him?

A: First, the writing is so solid that I just can’t wait to get to work and say the things that come out of Chester’s mouth. The dialogue is so funny. Secondly, being in the presence of actors, performing at that calibre, is awe-inspiring; often to the point where I forget I’m supposed to “act back”. Most of my scenes are with Ali (the incomparable Kathleen Munroe), and she is so engaging that anyone in a scene with her can’t help but shine.

I guess my inspiration comes from how I actually feel being on that set with that world-class cast - sheepish, apologetic, unworthy... Wait – is that me or Chester?!

Q: Chester seems to be having some Dr. Jekyll /Mr. Hyde moments this year… Are you enjoying getting to see more of Chester's dark side? Is it more fun as an actor than playing the goody two shoes?

A: It’s really fun to parse out new layers of your character. It keeps the viewers guessing! Look at Dot Foxley (the incredible Amy Sloan)... Who knows what she’s all about?! The wonderful thing about the way this show is written is that all of the characters are conflicted and complex.

Q: Why do you think Chester got into a gambling debt with the mob? Is this a one-time error in judgement or just a sign of Chester's overall "weakness"?

A: It’s safe to say he’s pretty spineless. I mean... what does it say about him that he’s still with Ali after she’s made it abundantly clear that she wasn’t interested and that she’s cheated on him with Fitz? His series of bad choices is like social quicksand – each new little lie just pulls him in deeper.

Q: Chester kind of seems like the kid everyone bullied on the playground, and now has a big chip on his shoulder, trying to prove something to everyone around him – do you think taking Fitz down will make him feel better?

A: I think truthfully, Chester is more in love with the idea of crushing Fitz than he is in love with Ali.

Q: What do you think seeing Ali kissing Fitz on their wedding day will do to Chester? Do you feel bad for him?

A: I feel worse for him in that he has so little self-esteem that seeing something like that wouldn’t be the end of his pursuit of Ali. Chester has blinders when it comes to her. He would see that as being all Fitz’s fault.

Q: Can you chat about the Chester-Fitz dynamic on and off camera? What's it like having Jason Priestley play your archnemesis?

A: As a TV audience, we’re conditioned to expect our heroes to make “the right choice”... And Fitz never does. The fact that Fitz is likeable and someone we can root for, is a testament to Jason’s enormous ability and innate charm. In the hands of a lesser actor, Fitz could come across as a pig.

In scenes with him, even through Chester’s eyes, you can’t help, but love the guy. Same goes in real life.

Q: Any behind-the-scenes tidbits you'd like to share?

A: This is one of the happiest places I’ve ever worked – and not to brag, but as a teenager, I worked at McDonald’s where smiles were free. So that’s saying something.

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