James Wolk: I Am Shirtless A Lot
In the fall of 2010, we were introduced to a shining new star: James Wolk. The Lone Star hottie quickly leapt to the top of everyone's crush list despite the show's unfortunately truncated run (it was canceled after two episodes). Thankfully, Hollywood wouldn't let go of him as quickly.
Not only did he play Kristen Bell's brother in You Again, but he recently completed a guest arc on Shameless. Thankfully the end of that run coincided with the start of his two-episode stint on TV's funniest show, Happy Endings. In tonight's episode we meet his character, Max's ex-boyfriend, who still might harbor some feelings for America's favorite small-screen gay.
I caught up with James to talk all about his Happy guest spot, but the conversation quickly devolved into a slightly unprofessional back-and-forth about the frequency with which he is shirtless onscreen. I'm not proud of this, but I also can't say it was an unplanned interview trajectory.
Insider: So tell me, how did this opportunity come about?
James Wolk: The Happy Endings folks approached me and I really, really have liked the show so it was a mutual affection thing, which is always great.
Insider: And when they explained the character, that you would be playing gay, were you down?
James: Absolutely. What's great about the show and the way that Adam [Pally] plays Max is that there's no stereotypes. Max is gay but that doesn't define him. Adam plays him as person, not a gay person, which is how it should be. It's so fun to come and play in a work environment where people are being portrayed in an accurate, realistic light. It's awesome that I get to play Max's boyfriend Grant in a setting where the writers are really giving that relationship truth and honesty – plus, this set is so funny.
Insider: Have you been itching to get into comedy?
James: I've been wanting to do comedy for a while. I started on the stage in high school and college, where there was a ton of comedy. So for me, it's been refreshing and wonderful to dive back into the comedy -- and something I would very much like to do more.
Insider: That set is improv crazy. Were you able to keep up?
James: It's wild over there. It's like a dance. There's a very specific rhythm. Luckily I had just come off doing a play and that energy kind of equates to the Happy Endings set. But the improv is so addictive. Everyone has their own cup of tea – but for me, to go to work and be challenged as an actor while laughing is the best. Every time they yelled cut, I would just die laughing. It's a lot of fun on that set.
Insider: Are you the kind of guy who Googles himself?
James: Not at all. It freaks me out to be honest. Who knows what will come up.
Insider: Well, I ask because Google will guess what you're looking for based on most popular searches. And when you type "James Wolk," it autofills "shirtless."
Insider: Yea. Which isn't that surprising since a big part of Lone Star's promotion involved you shirtless, you were half-naked on Shameless and you get undressed in next week's Happy Endings. Have you been surprised by how often your roles require you to take your shirt off?
James: Oh wow ... you're right – I am shirtless a lot [laughs]. It's odd. I never really thought about it. I have a hairy chest, so that's weird, but whatever tickles someone's fancy. Search away! I have to say, I have family and friends who Google me, so I have heard that I'm shirtless online a lot, but I don't really know how to respond to that. I guess there's worse things, right? [laughs] I mean, if I thought the shirtless thing was taking over, like, "Oh, there's that actor who takes his shirt off," it could be bad. I don't want it to be my calling card -- no one wants to be that guy. You want to be known for your acting, but if the shirt comes off in the process, so be it.
Insider: After this you've got For A Good Time Call, which I've heard great things about through Sundance.
James: That movie is such a great labor love for the writer. Lauren Miller & Katie Naylon wrote this really far out, great, female-driven comedy and I feel so lucky to be a part of it. It was similar to the Happy Endings experience because it was a great cast and we just had a lot of fun making it.
Insider: And, just for the record, are you shirtless in that?
James: [laughs] I bite my tongue! You'll just have to come see it to find out. See, I'm learning!
Happy Endings airs Wednesdays at 9:30 p.m. on ABC.