One of the stars of this fall's breakout series chats with Anne S. about 80s bands, water balloons, power tools, and the one thing he can't stand in a girl (oh, and acting, too).
Maybe you're the type who turns off the TV as soon as you catch scenes from the next episode of The O.C.. Maybe 9PM on Thursdays is when you break out a good book or a hearty game of Scrabble. As for us, we can't pry our beady little eyes away from the screen, because right after Ryan and Marissa comes Reunion, a new series on Fox featuring the highly crushable Will Estes.
You may remember Will as J.J., the Kennedy-esque running back on American Dreams (if you're a real fan, you may remember him from The New Lassie). On Reunion, Will plays a guy named Will-tricky, but not as tricky as the show's concept. A kind of 24 in reverse, Reunion tells the story of six high school friends over a span of 20 years...in one season. That's a whole lotta aging.
We caught up with Will on location in Canada (over the phone, darn it all...web editors never get to meet the cute ones...)
ELLEgirl:Tell me a little bit about Will, the character. He seems like a pretty stand-up guy except for the whole "sleeping with your best's friend's girlfriend" thing.
Will Estes: Hey, they were broken up!
EG:It's a good point. What do you guys have in common-besides your name?
Will Estes: I think once he sort of gets an idea in his head, he's hard-pressed to get it out of his head. I think I'm sort of the same way in that regard. He sees things as really black and white. I mean, I guess a lot of people maybe do at 18-years-old, maybe lik I did at 18-years-old, but it'll be interesting to see Will in six or eight years, when he's closer to my age.
EG:Luckily we will, and sooner than later.
Will Estes: Yeah, each episode is a year later in time.
EG:What's that like as an actor, to move from one year to the next in week?
WE: It's crazy actually, because we don't just jump forward 20 years. We have flashes forward, and you're going to start to see more and more of these characters-obviously except for the one that got killed-during the investigation in present-day...so we have to, some of us fall backwards and forwards.
EG:Do you get lost in time a little bit there?
WE: Yeah, yeah...It's not necessarily harder, I don't think, than other projects but I've realized it's a lot more work because it's almost like starting from scratch as far as what's going on with the character and sort of trying to wrap your head around really essentially what's different about the character in that year....
EG:What were your high school years like? Did you have a core group of friends like Will?
WE: Yeah, I'm still really good friends with a friend from high school. And I went to a pretty small high school because I went to a school that lets kids out for work.
EG:So it was a private high school.
WE: Yeah , it was. Not in the expensive, ivy-league sense but yeah it was. And I'm still best friends with people from high school.
EG:Is there a character on the show who is most like you in real life?
WE: I really like Dave Annable a lot [resident cool kid, Aaron Trumble, on Reunion]. I don't know if that's because I'm like him or not...We're good friends. But I guess possibly my character. I think the show is a case of a really good cast. I think that almost all of us sort of have a really strong connection, or some really sort of big, underlying similarities to our characters. That's a nicer thing to say about some people than others (laughs) but I really mean it in a good way. It's a great cast.
EG: What's the deal with the 80s resurgence? People who were born in the 80s are so into it.
WE: I don't know it's funny. It's really a huge resurgence. I hope that for that very reason, Fox lets us have all that great music from back then. You go clubs in New York or places in L.A. and 80s is really big again...but I don't know, I've sort of always been a fan of it. I started pulling out my old 80s music, like, five years ago to be honest with you. It sort of feels like people are going to make it uncool. You know how you get a really cool thing and then everyone starts wearing it and it's not cool anymore? I sort of always loved 80s music. To me, it's the music that I grew up with...I remember driving around in my mom's car when I was a kid, you know, in her '64 Volkswagen bug, listening to Madonna when K-Rock first came on in L.A. So for me it's sort of a flashback and something to hold on to and holds a lot of nostalgia for me to listen to.
EG: What 80s artists do you listen to...besides Madonna?
WE: I like the Ramones. The Clash. The Cure. Morrissey. New Order.
EG: Can you contribute to the show's soundtrack selections?
WE: No, I bend ears, but that's about it. I'm like 'you gotta get this song, you gotta get this song.' I think we're actually going to get-I hope, I hope, actually, I don't know-this great Guns N' Roses song. I don't want to jinx it. I think we're going to get this great Guns N' Roses song for an opening scene.
EG: When you were on American Dreams, the defining moment of the times was President Kennedy being shot. How do you remember the 80s? What defines the 80s?
WE: Reagan being President. And I played with a lot of G.I. Joe. Water balloons. Water balloon launchers. I don't know if you remember the ad for the water balloon launcher?
EG: No, I wish.
WE: Well, it was a thing among young boys at the time. Somebody figured out that surgical tubing-like the good stuff, mind you. If you got two loops of that and basically got your mom to sew to make a pocket like a sling shot. You could hook it on either end of something or you got your friends to hold it and you could shoot a water balloon like really far. So it was heavy artillery at the time.
EG: I missed that whole water balloon wave. Maybe they didn't let girls play. Speaking of which...dating anyone?
WE: I'm single. Single and ready to mingle.
EG: Is there a 'deal-breaker' for you in a relationship?
WE: My dog's not going anywhere. So if they don't like my dog, that's kind of a deal-breaker. She's a Chow-Lab mix. She's a rescue mutt. My mom was actually volunteering at a shelter and brought her home to foster her because they were literally going to put her down that day and brought her home to me to foster for a little while. She was in my bed a couple days later. And that was about all there was to it. She's sleeping on the air mattress right now.
EG: Do you eat breakfast?
WE: I usually have cereal, with rice milk and banana. I like Cheerios.
EG:I read that you used to be gymnast.
WE: Well, I took gymnastics for a little while. I mean, I can do round-off back handspring and that kind of stuff. I was never competitive with it. I just did it for fun...I had a great coach who I'm still really good friends with...I don't think I would have stuck with it if it weren't for him.
EG: Do You still work out using gymnastics?
WE: I'm trying to find a gymnastics gymnasium around here actually. See if I can't get on a pommel horse and swing a little bit or something. But I haven't been able to find anything up in Canada. Yeah, gymnastics is great. It's a trip. It's all about your own body weight and moving your own body around so it really translates well as an actor to a lot of different things....if I have to take a fall I can do it without really getting hurt.
EG: If you have a night to yourself, what would be your idea of a good time?
WE: Well, I'm stuck up in Canada [shooting Reunion] right now so I haven't had a whole lot of time to myself lately. I'm working crazy hours up here actually. What would I be doing on a night off? It's always something different. Motorcycling's one of my hobbies. Go see movies. I like to hang out with my friends, really. I like to go out to eat. Power tools. I like my power tools. During daylight hours.
EG:What do you eat when you go out?
WE: I love Mexican. I love Indian food. I love sushi. I'm what you'd call a good eater.
EG:Good thing you're so good at gymnastics then. Do you dress up for Halloween?
WE: I like to...I have a full head-to-toe storm trooper outfit. And sometimes I'll put that on. And if I go to a place where there's people, it's pretty funny. It actually looks pretty good. People will come up to me with their kids and say 'can my kid take a picture with you.' It's really embarrassing. I don't take the helmet off but I still do it. So if you seem a storm trooper on Halloween, it may be me. Don't ask me to take the helmet off. But I don't have it with me up here so I may have to figure something else out.
EG:If you weren't acting, what would you be doing?
WE: That's a tough one. Acting's been my focus for a long, long time now. I've been doing it since I was 10 but it was serious focus since I was about 16 years old. I don't know. Maybe something with motorcycles.
EG:Can you cook anything really well?
WE: Um... I cook those Amy's enchilada dinners. I put them in the oven--you can write this down if you want to-for 45 minutes. You gotta preheat the oven at, like, 400 degrees. They come out great.
EG:So preheating, you say, is your secret.
WE: The trick is-and this is the big thing-is you've got to preheat the oven. Most people don't read that when the read the instructions on the back but you know, I'm the kind of person that takes time.