Wilson Bethel: I Love That Fans Root For Wade
Hello, my name is Jarett and I'm a 'shipper.
This means that I invest an inappropriate amount of emotions into a particular couple on every show. And while some are obvious (Dan & Blair For The Win!) others have caught me off guard. Such was the case with Hart of Dixie, a show that originally would stage the cutest of romances between Rachel Bilson and Scott Porter.
But as the weeks wore on, I cared less and less about seeing Bilson's Zoe get with Porter's George as Wilson Bethel's Wade not only emerged as the finest man in all of Bluebell, but also one of the sexiest newcomers to TV in ages. I caught up with Wilson right after he participated in a Bad-Ass Boys of The CW panel at TCA to talk about that moniker, what lies ahead for Wade in Bluebell and how a musical episode fits into it.
Insider.com: You just wrapped up a Bad-Ass Boys of The CW panel -- do you think of Wade like that?
Wilson Bethel: It's funny because compared to a lot of the other guys on the panel and the work they do on their respective shows, I feel like Wade isn't that bad-ass. It's not like he's shooting people or sinking fangs into anybody or double crossing people. I think Wade is on the tame end of the scale. But I think people sometimes mistake guns and smoldering looks for being a bad-ass [laughs]. My criteria for being a bad ass is someone who knows who they are, someone who is comfortable and confident. And I think that's one thing that stands out about Wade – he is who he is. And he's not essentially a bad-ass character. He's a goofy, sweet guy who has a couple of archetypally bad-ass traits.
Insider: He might know what he wants, but I've been surprised by how timid he's been in going after Zoe.
Wilson: I'm not surprised. He's used to approaching women very easily in one way but with Zoe, he can't approach in that same way. Or at least he can't without a box of wine in her [laughs]. Now that he has to play an entirely different game, he's still figuring out how to shift his offense. It's not his comfort zone. Here's a guy who has the swagger, self-assuredness and suddenly he's not that. It's actually quite cute.
Insider: Like many people I came to the show eagerly anticipating the day Scott Porter and Rachel Bilson got together, but after half a season, I'm so Team Wade that new previews hinting at George and Zoe getting closer make me angry. Was that the goal?
Wilson: Absolutely. On the one hand, it's so much about the writing. But the writers are also responding to how the fans are interacting with the show, and what they're seeing on camera. It's exciting for me too because I'm rooting for Wade. And that's what you want to achieve as an actor -- you want people to root for you. And if people are rooting for you, then you're doing your job.
Insider: The show returns tonight with its first 2012 episode. What can you tease about the stuff to come?
Wilson: There's going to be a fair amount more of the back and forth. Don't expect an easy solution from where we left it and I love that the writers are teasing it out. I love that it's not about everyone hopping in the sack with everyone else. They're making these dramas unfold at a realistic pace. And as anybody who's ever been caught between strong affections for multiple people knows, it's not easy. So you'll see stuff that advances the George and Zoe plotline, stuff that advances the Wade and Zoe plotline and then stuff that kicks both of them down the ranks as well. There's a lot of tough decisions coming up for all the characters.
Insider: The show has also embraced big town events -- what other ones are coming up?
Wilson: We've got a lot more in store for you: there's a science fair, a Man of the Year pageant, a musical..
Insider: Will you sing again?
Wilson: We haven't shot the musical yet but you will have more of Wade singing in that. I promise you that. And it won't be off a rooftop this time.
Insider: And what about the Man of the Year pageant? Is there a swimsuit competition?
Wilson: Shockingly, there is no swimsuit portion. But needless to say you won't have to wait more than a few episodes in a row without that happening. I don't know what to say about that. At this point, I kind of just have to own up to the fact that I've spent a fair amount of time demi-nude and I will spending a lot more time as such. Look, I am such a fan of this show and am having such a great time doing it. If I felt like I was just eye-candy, I don't think I would like my job as much as I do. But there are so many wonderful aspects to the character in the larger scope of the show -- he's elemental to the life of Bluebell.
Hart of Dixie airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on The CW.