Growing up outside Detroit, Michigan, Dan Amboyer discovered his love of acting through early experiences on the stage. Good literature professors and a connection to Shakespeare paved the road for a career that has landed him on the TV Land hit, Younger, now entering its third season. Amboyer began his time on the series as Thad, but is now returning in a different role, as Thad’s twin brother, Chad. Talk Nerdy With Us had a chance to chat with Dan about Thad’s Season 2 shocker — and what it’s been like to continue on the show in its aftermath. Read on to hear all about Dan’s Thad/Chad experience as well as what else he’s got coming up. And don’t miss the season 3 premiere of Younger, Wednesday, September 28th at 10/9c.
I have to tell you that I was actually at ATX Festival in Austin [in June], and I’m kicking myself now because I hadn’t watched Younger yet, so I didn’t make it to the [Younger cast] panel. I didn’t know how awesome the show is and that I was going to be devastated three months later once I’d watched and realized I missed the chance to see the panel!
Oh. Yeah [laughs]
So that’s a bummer. But, I did see you at the Fandom Rising panel.
Oh, you did? That was a fun.
It was. It was a great panel. And you talked a little bit about how fans would respond to your character doing kind of jerk things and how they would approach you on Twitter.
But at the time I hadn’t watched the show. So I didn’t realize that your character had done a bunch of those things. [laughs]
Many! Right. So, my first question for you is what’s it been like playing a character who’s kind of a jerk and how have you found the way to portray that?
Yeah. It’s interesting. Honestly, one of my roommates was a Wall Street banker at the time that I auditioned for Younger. So I’d been around a lot of Wall Street dudes, “brahs” if you will, during that period. So I just kind of in my mind cobbled together this monster version of what Thad might be like. I guess I was a bit influenced by some of that.
But, for me, it’s funny, because most of the time when I meet people who know me from the show, the first thing they’ll say to me is ‘You’re so different from your character,’ and they’re surprised. So it’s always been a bit of a fun challenge and a bit of an opposite for me. I’ve enjoyed getting to do that. Playing a character like that who has no filter is fun. It’s really fun because it’s not me in real life. I could never let those things fall out of my mouth, not that I would want those things to fall out of my mouth, but it’s fun to have the opportunity to be the naughty guy. [laughs]
Absolutely. So, how did you find out they were going to be killing your character off? Did they give you a heads up or did you just read about it in the script?
I give credit to our leader, Mr. Darren Star, because he did it in a really great way. He sent me an email, and I woke up in the middle of the night, and I read this email, and it was like ‘Hey, are you around tomorrow? Can we get together and grab dinner, there’s something I really want to talk to you about.’ And I’d never gotten an email like that before from him.
It sounds like a breakup letter!
[laughs] Yeah. I was like ‘Oh shit, something’s going down.’ But the terrible thing was that I was leaving town for like five days that next day, so I wasn’t going to be there at all, so I had to wait five days to find out what it was all about. That was painful. When I got back we got together, and he asked me where I thought things were headed, and I was like ‘Are you going to have me get hit by a bus?’
As a cast, we’ve been wondering since the beginning of Season 2 where things were heading, and my theory was always that I was going to get hit by a bus. [laughs] He said ‘no, you’re not going to get hit by a bus, but a crane is going to fall on you.’
It’s so topical, too. It’s basically every New Yorker’s biggest fear, because it happens.
Oh, I know! Once he told me about it, I think a week later there was an accident a couple of blocks away from my apartment in Manhattan, and I remember thinking ‘this really happens.’ I forwarded him the news story and said you should feel good about this story because it might seem like a far-fetched plot point, but somebody actually died shortly after he told me about it.
But, if there’s a way to go as a character, I’m glad it had an impact. At the same time that he told me about the death he said ‘But, there’s good news.’ It was actually really sweet; he said ‘we don’t want to lose you, so we’re going to bring you back in the series finale as your twin.’
So, that was my next question. There was no uncertainty about your future on the show. Once you knew, you knew all of it?
Yeah, I knew that I’d be there for the finale, so that softened the blow. You know, you get attached to a character still. Even though Thad came off so poorly and was, you know…had a lot of qualities that could use fine-tuning, perhaps, I still, myself, was rooting for the character and for the relationship [with Kelsey], and for things hopefully turning around, so it was still hard to say goodbye.
And it seemed just from the limited amount we saw Chad in the finale that he’s very different from Thad, despite their identical appearances.
You’ve now filmed season 3, what’s it like interacting with the same characters on the same show, but as somebody else?
It’s strange. It’s very very strange. I think even when we were doing the season finale last year…we shot the season finale before we shot the episode where I died, so it was a little bit mixed up in everyone’s mind. But I was in Chad mode, I was in that character and looked so different, I remember the kissing scene with Hillary [Duff, who plays Thad’s girlfriend, Kelsey]. I remember the first time we were going for it and she pulled back was like ‘This feels so strange,’ because it felt like a completely new person. I mean we kissed so many times on the show, but it just felt off and different. It was unique. It has a very different feel this season. There’s a different history there with the characters.
How much of that history do you feel like you know?
We’ll learn a bit more about the history for sure, which is fun. Particularly the second episode you get some good stuff.
I’m actually an identical twin, so I was wondering if you talked to anyone or did any other research concerning getting a feel for what the experience would be like, not just the grief, but just how that relationship might manifest itself in general.
You know, I did. I had a friend that I had dinner with, and he’s an identical twin. What’s crazy is his name is Chad, and his brother’s name is Brad. [laughs] Yeah so I was like ‘that’s funny, I’m playing Thad and his twin brother, Chad.’
That is hilarious.
Yeah, so that was crazy. We didn’t really get into the grief part of it, but I have a brother myself who’s close to my age, and I know that there’s a certain bond from sharing a womb that’s pretty special. Other than that, I used just the grief of losing someone incredibly close to you and how that would affect you. I’ve learned a lot more about twins since then, though, and I think it’s fascinating.
Can you tell me anything about Chad’s arc on the show? Will we get to see him interacting with characters other than Kelsey?
I think the focus is mostly going to be with Kelsey. Most of the stuff, you’ll find out, is pretty surprising. I don’t want to give anything away there, but yeah it’s mostly with Kelsey. The storyline does have pretty strong reverberations with Liza’s story and throughout.
I haven’t been this excited for a show to come back in a really long time.
Oh, that’s so cool.
It’s true. Before I let you go, though, I’m in New York, and I’m excited that you’re going to be in an off-Broadway show. Can you tell me a little bit about that?
Yeah. I’m really excited about that. It’s a new play by A.R. Gurney; I don’t know if you’re familiar with him at all. It’s funny because I did one of his plays in middle school when I was in a school play, and I played a 40-something-year-old WASP-y preppy guy in this play, completely ridiculous as a 13-year-old.
This is the premiere of his new play off-Broadway, and it’s about…I’m an English literature professor in the 1970s, and it’s a discovery of sexuality and a little bit of fluidity and that kind of thing. It’s a cool subject matter, and it’s something that’s being talked about a lot right now. I’m just really excited about it because it’s a playwright I’ve long respected, since my little childhood actor days.
Which clearly had an impact.
Yeah, and it’s funny because I went to the audition and I had no idea the man was going to be there. I was not prepared for him actually to be there. It was really cool, and I’m excited to get to work on it.
And when does it open?
We start performances October 10th, and then it opens a couple of weeks later, and runs through November.
Younger airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on TV Land.