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Exclusive Interview with Scott Porter at the ATX Festival

Scott Porter is probably most well known for his role as Jason Street on ‘Friday Night Lights’. He’s also worked on movies such as Dear John, The Good Guy, and Bandslam. Now, however, you’ll recognize him as George Tucker on ‘Hart of Dixie’. We were fortunate enough to catch up with him at this year’s ATX Festival. Check out our interview with him below.

How is filming ‘Hart of Dixie’ different than filming ‘Friday Night Lights’?

“It’s very different. ‘Hart of Dixie’ is more traditional. ‘Friday Night Lights’ had no rehearsals and no marks. We would just shoot with three handheld cameras running at all times. You never quite knew what the shot was, you just kind of  went ahead and just did your thing. Take one, take two, take three, and then we moved on to the next one. Everybody knew what they were doing coming in, and once we hit our groove, we would wrap days in eight hours. That’s what that free form of  shooting bought us, those shorter days basically. We ended up shooting an episode in five and a half days. We shot full hours of a network drama in five and a half days. ‘Hart of Dixie’ is shot in seven days. We are on the Warner Brothers lot in Los Angeles, which is nicer for me because it’s the first time shooting where I live. There’s kind of this safe feeling of filming on a lot. ‘Friday Night Lights’ was on location, so there was a lot of variables we had no control over. In making Bluebell we thought that the Warner Brothers lot allowed us the ability to just create our town, and it’s just as believable as a place as Dillon, even though we are not on location. We shot the pilot of ‘Hart of Dixie’ in Wilmington, NC. We had the front of the doctors office, and we would shoot there, and as soon as we had the cut we would drive 45 minutes across town and go “inside” the doctors office. Now shooting on the Warner Brothers lot, with a more traditional fashion with marks and rehearsals and lighting takes a full seven days. We work pretty long hours on that show.”

You’ve played the jerk, You’ve played the sweetheart, do you have a favorite type of role to play?

“I just like complete roles. I tried to bring some rhyme or reasons behind Blake’s shenanigans on ‘The Good Wife’. I tried to make him not likeable, but have people love to hate him. There’s characters you hate, and then there’s characters that you love to hate. I was trying to fill him out, and without saying it trying to get you an idea of what he was like at home and what this bad guy was about. Jason Street was a full and complete character. He was a young man who had all the faculties of  a young man who was going to blossom into a pro athlete and after he was broken, all of his bad sides started coming out; his immaturity, and his lashing out. Jason Street was still ultimately a good guy, there were just some times you wanted to slap the kid. George, it’s a struggle making him exciting, because everyone else on the show is a pro football star, or a bad-boy with the heart of gold. You get to see a lot of back story for Wade and you saw a lot of back story for Lemon. You know exactly who Zoe Hart is when you first see her. George is the one that we haven’t seen the full back story for. What happened with him and his dad?  Why do they have such a contentious relationship? Why did he leave to go to New York? We know all these things that happened, but as of right now, we don’t know why they happened. I think he’s got some skeletons in his closet, and I think will see more of an edge with him in the second season. I think we have a lot of room to grow with George. That’s the one thing we’ve done. We haven’t backed ourselves into a corner. We actually opened up a bunch of doors, and George is actually going to change.”

Is it interesting working with Cress Williams since you both did ‘Friday Night Lights’?

“It’s a much different capacity, but yes. He’s part of the reason why I signed on to do ‘Hart of Dixie’. I was the last man in. I was the last lead member cast as far as actors go on that show. Nancy Travis and Tim Matheson were signed on, so I was literally the last piece of the puzzle. When I initially looked at the script, I thought about it, but then when I looked at the cast I was sold. Rachel Bilson made it interesting. Jaime King singed on and I knew her from various films. I’ve always thought Wilson Bethel was interesting. Generation Kill was very great. I’ve worked with Wilson on Captain America, and I knew what caliber of an actor he was. Then Cress, who I’ve worked with.  I was like Cress signed on? This is a CW show? The cast doesn’t sound like a cast that would be on, no offense to the network, but would be on a CW show. It’s an older more seasoned cast, and I was really impressed on how it all came together. Working with Cress this season has been great. I’ve worked with him on ‘Friday Night Lights’ and he was just a completely different character. He was just one of those guys that made your skin crawl. Now he’s just the town mayor that everybody loves. It’s been a lot of fun. We’re all close as a cast, but the guys especially are just very tight. We hang out a ton.”

Are you team Wade or George?

“I mean I have to be team George. I try and stay away from Team Wade or Team George, but on twitter, you can’t help but get involved. People will actually tweet me, and be like “No offense but I hate George, I hope he gets hit by a bus”. Look, I know Wilson looks great without a shirt on, but there’s no reason to hate a character. I think George is a pretty likeable guy. I think after everything he’s gone through for everyone else in the town, he should be allowed to make a mistake or two. George is learning new things about himself now that his 15 year relationship is over. He was with Lemon for over half of his life. His mistakes are real. They are making his situation dirty and messy, but that’s life. That doesn’t make George a bad guy. Wade’s had plenty of screw ups. Wade’s been with a few girls over the course of the show. He lives out back and Zoe see’s girls just walking in and out of that place. George and Wade both have their flaws. I do love Wilson’s portrayal of Wade, and I do think Wade is a great character. I think it was unexpected some of the turns that the writers took with him, but he shouldered all the weight of everything they threw at him as far as back-story with his dad. That was fantastic, so do I really have to pick? I’m team tricycle, team third wheel.”

Do you have a favorite ‘Friday Night Lights’ episode?

“I do have a favorite episode. I believe it’s episode 20 of the first season. It’s the one where the four guys, the four original players are back out on the Dillon Panther field. It’s the night that Jason realizes that he should be a coach. When he teaches Matt Saracen how to throw the deep out. It’s Riggins, Smash, Saracen, and Street. Jason tries to go and buy beer, and the guy won’t let him, and then Riggins walks in and puts down a fake military ID and the guy is like “Oh sure thing Captain Riggins”. It’s the little things that I love about that show, but that episode is my favorite episode, just because it’s when Street began to really live again. I was so isolated as an actor in the first season of the show. It was my first show. ‘m down there in Austin and all my closest friends are on the show, but all of them are working together on the football stuff and the big scenes, and all my scenes are basically me alone or with one other character. A lot of times, my scenes were shot in a hospital. I was really isolated and I was a rookie actor who was taking Jason’s hurt home with me. That episode was a huge relief for me. It was great just to be around other actors that I really cared about in real life as well as on the show.”

Besides the back story for George, what do you want to see happen in season two of ‘Hart of Dixie’?

“I’d really like to see him stand alone for a little bit. It’s probably not going to happen, but I’d love to see him not try to be in a relationship with somebody right away. I’d like to see him deal personally with his feelings after the fall. I want to see his real feelings and emotions of a 15 year relationship ending. The real emotion of betrayal from somebody he thought was a best friend. You see Levon and him try to help each other out in the finale, but I’d like to see still a little bit of tension there.”

What kind of music do you listen to?

“I listen to all kinds of music. My iPod is filled with Mumford & Sons, and also I have a ton of hip hop. I’m listening to Alex Clare a lot right now, I love his album. I dig the new Gavin Degraw album. Drake, Watch the Throne is on a pretty consistent loop. I listen to a little bit of everything. My dad and mom were a drummer and a singer in a rock band, that’s how they met. I’ve got a lot of Police on my iPod as well. I listen to a pretty wide range.”

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