Thomas Doherty: It’s different because we’re still in the middle of filming it, but I’m super excited. I’m so happy with the work that I’ve done—that we’ve all done. I think people are going to really love and enjoy it. I love doing it. For me, acting is not just about the final product; it’s very much how you’re doing it and the whole experience of it. And I’ve had such a good time. I’m excited for the rest of the season.
So tell me about your audition process. How did that go?
I was in Georgia shooting something else, and my girlfriend at the time was obsessed with Gossip Girl. This might have been in October 2019? She was watching it, so I kind of was there watching it with her. Then she left, and I was still in Georgia, and I just continued to watch it. I watched the whole thing at the ripe old age of 25. That December I was told they’re going to do another Gossip Girl. I was like, “That’d be really cool. I wonder what it’s going to look like. I wonder who they’re going to cast.”
And then I got called, saying, “Do you want to audition for it?” So I went in and auditioned a few times on tape. I actually did it for another character as well, but Max is definitely much more suited to me. I got the call when I was in New Mexico that I’d gotten the job, and then obviously production shut down because of COVID. So I had a lot more time then expected to prepare, which is actually really, really good. I’m happy we had that extra time.
And how did you use that extra time?
I always start off with the physicality of the character, from the writing and from what Josh [Safran] told me he wanted the character to be. I got into my body and tried to find the way that he would sit, how he would stand, how he would move as he walked. From there, I formulated a foundation for how the character physically was, and I built upon that with the way that he spoke, how he enunciated things, and how he would look.
I always envision Max to have a joke at the back of his head, or that he knows something at the back of his head while everyone is speaking. It was a type of character I had never played. Max is a pansexual character, and that definitely taught me so much. It was a huge education in how I viewed identification with sexuality and how we’re indoctrinated to think and feel and be a certain way. This really blew up everything wide open for me. Exploring that kind of thing was really, really interesting.
So what would you say was the easiest part of Max to tap into for you? Where did you feel the most connection to the character?
I’m quite cheeky, and I think Max is quite cheeky as well. Obviously, when you’re playing a character, you want to be able to draw upon things from your own experiences and your own style and try to integrate that with the character you’re playing. That cheeky charming-ness was definitely something I brought to the character that I could do.
Let’s go back to that October you were watching Gossip Girl. That was the first time you had seen it, correct?
That was the first time I had watched it.
What was your reaction to the show? You must’ve liked it because you stuck with it.