Dream date with Luke Kirby from Gossip Girl


Photo: Zack DeZon / Contour by Getty Images

It’s a universally accepted truth that everyone who stars in a teen drama has to be sexy. the Gossip Girl reboot enthusiastically embraces this tenure with a slew of beautiful newcomers and familiar faces filling the cast. Taking advantage of the New York City filming location, the actors playing the parents include many established Tony and Emmy-winning artists ready to join the ranks of the dream dads before them – Peter Gallagher, Kyle Chandler and Matthew Settle. Since his brief beanie-wearing introduction in the first episode, 43-year-old actor Luke Kirby ticks all of those boxes.

Rather than direct copies of characters from the original 2007 series, Gossip Girl 2.0 serves familiar attributes with a twist. So instead of a declining rock star (see Rufus Humphrey), who traded sweaty clubs for family life in Brooklyn, Kirby’s single father, Davis Calloway, is a successful music mogul whose the daughter, Julien, is Constance Billard’s most popular daughter. And like parents before, outrageous antics aren’t limited to teens leaving a digital trail of destruction. Already, Davis has come face to face with the man his wife had left him for when Julien was a baby and was forced to reveal a secret girlfriend in a scene fit for a madman at the Public Theater.

Over the past decade, Kirby has made his mark in some of television’s most beloved shows, including The Hidden Gem. Rectify and juggernaut of the awards season The wonderful Mrs. Maisel, in a role that won him an Emmy in 2019. Before Peak TV called him, he starred alongside Rachel McAdams in the 2007 Canadian television comedy Slings and arrows, and he’s got a face you’ll no doubt recognize (or want to know). Similar to the man he plays in the HBO series Max, Kirby doesn’t use social media either, but his on-screen daughter Jordan Alexander has given him a taste of the audience’s enthusiastic response to the new. Neighborhood DILF. A little unsure of the terminology, he told me, She shows me great stuff. She sent me something recently, she said, “Stans loves you. The hot daddy of it all.” That’s a cute cardigan, he nods. He’s both flattered and stunned. by attention. “Better to be that kind of dad than the disgusting rude dad.” Kirby’s smile, which first caught my eye in Sarah Polley’s alluring romantic drama in 2011 Take this waltz, is just as charming in real life.

He calls from his Brooklyn apartment on a day off from Gossip Girl. He recently finished filming the fourth season of The wonderful Mrs. Maisel, and he’s struggling with the details of when it happened. “I don’t understand time anymore,” he said. Behind him are a stacked bookshelf, a television, and a tall plant filling with early afternoon light. Since production resumed last fall, Kirby has shot No man of god (in which he plays Ted Bundy after the arrest), Maisel, an untitled film directed by Katie Holmes, and Gossip Girl. A few times he pulled Maisel and Gossip Girl back-to-back, but he’s rather pragmatic when it comes to switching between steamy comic book icon Lenny Bruce in the ’60s and the ultra-rich contemporary setting. “Luckily they’re both in New York, so you can look into that.” Very different versions of New York, that’s for sure.

Originally from Guelph, a city in Ontario, Canada, Kirby revisited Degrassi: Junior High, the TV-teen sensation of his youth, at the start of confinement. I’ve only seen one episode, so Kirby takes great joy in recounting the plot of an episode he recently watched to give me a sense of the stressful antics that were a mainstay of his teenage viewing. Called “Taking Off,” it includes an acidic journey that goes horribly wrong and a warning hitchhiking plot. “Watch this show, it’s nightmare after nightmare after nightmare. It’s no wonder I have so many problems, ”he jokes. “It’s not my parents’ fault, it’s Degrassi: Junior High. “This trip down memory lane happened before he was cast in Gossip Girl, a role that came to him shortly before the start of filming of the series. Casting director Cassandra Kulukundis contacted him while he was in LA finishing up No man of god, and connected Kirby with Gossip Girl showrunner Joshua Safran, who painted a vivid image of the character. “Josh has a very complete story for him [Davis] and a vision of where he’s going. And when I found out he was a rich man, it piqued my interest because it meant I could wear nice clothes, ”he laughs.

From Chuck Bass to Max Wolfe, Gossip Girl Costume designer Eric Daman has elevated menswear to the screen since 2007. Scrolling through Kirby’s red carpet looks also reveals a strong sartorial flair, which includes sequined Saint Laurent boots (“These sparkly boots go a long way). path”). Not only does he enjoy working with his stylist Mary Inacio (“We have a similar fascination and contempt for all things aesthetic”), but he mentions growing up watching fashion TV with his sister and a shared love of runway shows with his wife. . “It’s a beautiful thing. Men should feel good, men should know that it’s okay to feel good in nice clothes, ”he says.

Photo: Zack DeZon / Contour by Getty Images

Kirby says being back on the red carpet at the Tribeca Film Festival (in Saint Laurent) was both strange and exciting. He also compares the experience to how filming Gossip Girl felt. “One of the things about this show, and everything about the clothes, was that we went there this year without having to show up. Live in New York and no one got to show up. Not that I was beside myself about it, but I missed it a bit. He mentions that before the lockdown, “I found these awesome vintage Yohji Yamamoto pants that I was ready to start wearing, but couldn’t wear them to walk the dog.” Gossip Girl turned out to be an ideal re-entry into fashion frivolity. “Working with Eric and wearing the clothes he has incredible access to was a great way to get back into the mix,” he says.

On the day we called, he wears a Satisfy Moth Eaten T-shirt. The curls he had to shave for No man of god thrive again (clipped bits are mostly covered with hats at first GG episodes). His only run of the day is to get to Manhattan to pick up a Bode jacket, a brand worn by his co-star Thomas Doherty in a recent episode. “I thought for once I was ahead of Eric,” he muses wryly.

The slow burning of Davis’ story in Gossip Girl appealed to him, and he kisses the “hot daddy” coat with a dash of self-mockery displayed throughout our conversation. Whether playing Lenny Bruce or an intruder in Take this waltz, Kirby’s palpable chemistry with his co-stars is powerful in any setting. A sequence on the fairground ride at Take this waltz is one of the most sexually charged scenes in the film, featuring zero contact beyond a scratched arm. “The things I had to do in this movie with Michelle [Williams] is such a dream, ”he recalls. “Their world, I guess in part because they’re so new to each other, feels a bit like a fable – a heightened reality. I absorbed it and it was a great summer. Williams, of course, had his big chance on Dawson Creek, and Kirby recently worked with Katie Holmes, another former Dawson Creek star, in his second untitled filmmaking effort, which ended in May. Kirby once starred alongside Holmes in the 2015 romance Touched by fire. “It was great to reconnect,” he says. “She’s a good friend and a darling.”

Holmes is one of the many directors he has worked with over the past decade; filmmakers like Polley and Amy Sherman-Palladino have tapped into its brooding charm. It wasn’t until he met director Amber Sealey that he changed his mind about playing Ted Bundy. No man of god). But Sealey’s skillful touch with the material convinced him otherwise. “It all came together thanks to Amber’s persistence,” he explains, and cites his guiding voice on the project as a determining factor (“this material is so disturbing, disruptive and precarious in terms of how which you manage ”), as well as the opportunity to work with Elijah Wood in such an intimate setting.

Go from Bundy to Gossip Girl Davis and then Lenny Bruce involve putting on very different hats (sometimes literally). The role of Emmy winner Kirby in Maisel turned into a will storyline, which got even higher in season three, thanks to a scorching night of flirting and dancing. The manifest desire is conveyed by many intense gazes, before Midge and Lenny return to his hotel room at dawn. But Midge doesn’t cross the threshold, much to the disappointment of the shippers. One hurdle is that Lenny Bruce tragically died of an accidental overdose in 1966, and while the show isn’t a literal historical interpretation, Bruce’s legacy is a factor. “We also feel a bit compelled to address the reality of his [Bruce’s] experience, ”says Kirby, who takes his time while talking about the delicate balance between the spark he shares with Rachel Brosnahan coupled with the actual figure he plays, and the consideration needed to“ face the right obstacles. at the right time . “

As our conversation draws to a close, I ask about his pandemic reading and viewing habits, which oddly matches mine. “I mean there is a battery books that haven’t been read, ”he says. Every Sunday night he watched an episode of Colombo. “His So Well. It’s great for guest actors [who] are almost always legendary, ”he enthuses, referring to the episode of John Cassavetes. “And the clothes are really Well. I got it into my head that at one point Alessandro [Michele] from Gucci had watched Colombo for the past five years. Except that he decided to make it a really nice subject. Everything was polyester back then – now you can wear the same look, but your body actually breathes. When i mention that Daddy’s Girls is near the top of my list, he is equally enthusiastic. “It holds up. In fact, it looks like they were way ahead. And Bea Arthur has amazing outfits. Wearing that disarming smile once again, he said, “Well, we are the arbiter of taste. I’m so glad we’re on the same page.

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