The 23-year-old actor plays Walt – one of Carrie [AnnaSophia Robb]‘s very best friends and Maggie [Katie Findlay]‘s secretly gay boyfriend. He eventually breaks up with her after coming to terms with his sexuality, but has yet to tell the rest of his clique the truth.
JJJ talked with Brendan to get the scoop on tonight’s episode, what’s next for Walt, and find out more about this super cute breakout star!
Click inside to find out what Brendan spilled to us about The Carrie Diaries…
Brendan Dooling – JustJaredJr.com Exclusive Interview
JJJ: So what’s coming up for Walt in tonight’s episode. We heard it’s a good one! What can we expect?
Brendan Dooling: As you know from watching the three episodes, Carrie is very much involved with Interview magazine. Her boss Larissa throws a party and Walt just happens to be invited, so he gets his first taste of New York City.
JJJ: Carrie is very good friends with both Walt and Maggie, and she knows a huge secret about both of them. Do you think she has loyalty to one over the other?
BD: I think one of the great things about the show is that it really captures the loyalty of a small clique of friends really well. And I never really thought Carrie to be the type that would choose sides. Even in the last episode, she asked Maggie, “Are we still allowed to talk to Walt?” Because I think she loves all her friends equally. She’s not going to pick sides. That’s my personal feeling.
JJJ: We totally agree! When Walt broke up with Maggie, his intentions were obviously good. Do you think he went about it the right way?
BD: I think it was just a culmination of a lot of things going on in his head. He was going over there originally to tell Maggie that he was ready to jump into their first sexual experience. But then when he’s standing there for four hours, he’s not sure where she is, and he’s just got a bunch of things running through his head, I think it was just a now or never sort of moment. So, I hate to think there really is a right or wrong. It was just something that needed to be done.
JJJ: He doesn’t know it yet, but we know Maggie has been cheating on Walt for a while. Do you think she really loves him? Was the cheating purely physical?
BD: The love between Walt and Maggie is true. I definitely think that. But as you said, they weren’t having sex. And Maggie’s the type of person who likes to express herself physically and Walt couldn’t give her that, so she sought it elsewhere. The cop was really interested in her in that way. She was craving it. So when it came to be that she could actually get what she wanted, she just went with her gut instinct. She wants what she wants.
JJJ: We heard you originally read for the part of Sebastian. But Walt definitely has a huge journey ahead of him, so that has to be pretty exciting for you as an actor. How did you react when you won the role of Walt?
BD: First of all, I was elated. It’s the biggest gig that I’ve ever landed, so I was definitely bouncing off the walls. As far as being cast as Walt specifically, I hadn’t realized initially what a big role I could be playing — not playing Walt — but playing a role globally. There are a lot of kids out there who are going through the same thing and I hadn’t thought of that when I first auditioned. But once I got the role and started researching before we started shooting the first season in October, I finally caught on to the fact that this is a big deal for a lot of people. I’m excited to actually get in there and speak for those who don’t have the voice and show them that different is okay.
JJJ: The show is technically a prequel to Sex and the City, but it’s still very much its own show. Were you a fan of the original?
BD: I know the main characters, I know the premise of the show, I get the gist. My mother was a big fan. So there were certainly times where I’d sit down on the couch and I’d watch episodes with her. But I wasn’t an avid follower and I think it would be a stretch to say that I’m a fan of the show. But I really do enjoy it. The reason I would sit down with my mom is because I would get a laugh out of it. Samantha always provided for a good time [laughs].
JJJ: You mentioned this is your first big role. When did you start acting?
BD: Well, I started when I was about 11 out on Long Island. The only regional theater out on the Island is called the Gateway Playhouse and attached to [that] is the Gateway Acting School, so I started taking classes there when I was about 11. The school director there took me under her wing. She had a lot of faith in me, so she planted the seed. And then I sort of just ran with it from there and started going to auditions from about the time I was 14. But I didn’t take it seriously until 2009 when I started living in the city and auditioning with my current manager. Three years later, it was just another audition for a pilot. And I went and read for Sebastian, got called back for Walt, and the rest is history.
JJJ: Are you happy you get to stay in New York City, seeing as most shows are shot in L.A.?
BD: Yeah, I think I’m really blessed in that way seeing as everyone else had to pick up and move out here to the East Coast. You’ve got Katie Findlay from Vancouver, Chloe Bridges and Austin [Butler] from L.A…. but yeah, I’m pretty excited that I actually get to stay at home.
JJJ: So what’s the atmosphere on set like? Any fun stories you can tell us?
BD: I just had the best day on set yesterday actually. My birthday was on the 27th, and we were shooting a scene for episode 1×10 and it’s a party scene. So AnnaSophia, Austin and Jake Robinson who plays Bennett — you’ll get to meet him in [tonight's] episode — we were all standing around with all the background [extras] who were all dressed up in their awesome 80s apparel with their crazy hair and really cool sunglasses. I stepped off real quick to use the men’s room and I came back, and there’s this gigantic tray of mini-cupcakes. And the whole set is circled around them and they say, “Surprise” and “Happy Birthday.” I was so stunned. I was speechless. I didn’t know what to do and they made me make a speech. I don’t think it went very well. I don’t remember [laughs]. But it was really funny to be in that atmosphere—on set we had that party atmosphere going—and what do you know? There’s actually a party for me. That was really awesome.
JJJ: Sounds fun! So you’re close to your fellow castmembers?
BD: Everybody’s getting more and more comfortable with each other even though new directors come in for each episode. The cast is just growing stronger and so we’re able to play a lot more and make jokes in rehearsal, and just make each other laugh. It’s just a really nice, light atmosphere.
JJJ: The fashion is such a big part of the show. Do you have a favorite item of Walt’s so far?
BD: A favorite item? Eh… I grew to hate it just because I had to put it on so much and there was a lot involved with it, but in [tonight's] episode, Walt is dressed up for Halloween as Prince Charles. So he has the full British military garb and cap, and that was pretty fun. But as far as the 80s fashion is concerned, I’m just taking notes from [costume designer] Eric Daman and sort of getting into these Perry Ellis sweaters a little bit. But I don’t think I have a favorite thus far. I’m not exactly fashion savvy, so those things usually don’t catch my eye.
JJJ: What do you like to do for fun outside of work?
BD: I live out in Brooklyn and there are a lot of basketball courts, so I love going out and seeing who’s playing, and starting a pick-up game of basketball. I do this thing with Meetup.com, I play ultimate frisbee with random people. We all meet up to play frisbee sometimes. And I play the guitar, so you’ll hear me strumming when I’m at home. But other than that, I take an acting class as well whenever I’m not working. I try to stay active, but I am a homebody. I do like to sit at home and watch a movie in the dark. I am that way. So I have to be pro-active and help myself [laughs].
The Carrie Diaries airs Mondays @ 8PM ET on The CW!
FYI: This exclusive photo of Brendan was taken by his co-star – Chloe Bridges!