Freeform’s hit drama The Fosters has been breaking ground since its series premiere back in 2013. The show follows a loving family, made up of two moms Stef (Teri Polo) and Lena (Sherri Saum) and a close-knit group of biological, adoptive and foster children. The series made history when friends Connor and Jude (Hayden Byerly) shared one of the youngest gay kisses in TV history. Gavin MacIntosh, who plays Connor, is a character that has since departed (for now) to live with his more understanding mother in order to get away from his disapproving father. But despite leaving his boyfriend Jude behind to live a more accepting life with those who do support his sexuality, Connor has left a lasting impression on many fans of the hit Freeform series.
MacIntosh chatted with me about his memorable role on The Fosters, as well as the experience becoming a role model to questioning youth around the world. He also spoke to me about his inspiration as an actor and his stint on upcoming episodes of Fox Networks Bones.
Let’s start with the easy stuff, at what point in your life did you realize you wanted to act?
When I was, I think ten or eleven, around there I just started getting into theater. My mom would try to break me out of my shyness, I was a shy little kid. So it was really after I landed a role in Music Man for a theater group that I realized I wanted to be an actor.
Obviously, you’re well-known for your role on Freeform’s The Fosters, how have you been impacted personally by being part of such a groundbreaking kiss (and storyline) on television?
It’s impacted me incredibly throughout the years and the impact that my character has had on millions of viewers has been unimaginable. It’s been quite the experience.
The storyline was super important to a lot of people, do you think that if Connor had Lena and Stef for parents his experience accepting himself and opening up to Jude would have been easier?
It may have been since they are a completely different demographic than Connor’s father, they are two lesbian moms. I’m guessing they would have been a little more accepting of his sexuality. But, I guess all that really means is the way that the writers take the show.
Connor’s dad started to come around towards the end, was that kind of heartbreaking to read that and know he was coming around but it was kind of too late?
Yeah, yeah. I mean, that was sort of a downplay of the show.
You’re really a role model to many, at this point, have you heard from any young boys about how your character’s story has affected them? Maybe boys with less accepting parents?
I get many, many, many tweets and emails and letters in the mail from fans, young kids that are younger than me. Either my age or middle-aged people even older people who have been affected by my role of Connor. It’s changed the way people think about two kids, that they can be gay, or that they’re having a relationship with each other. It’s changed the way people thought about that and that’s a really big thing.
You certainly get so many messages on Twitter regarding your character and the work you do, is it ever overwhelming or do you generally enjoy the interaction with the fans?
No, I wouldn’t say that it gets overwhelming. It kind of comes with the whole deal, you have to interact with your fans. I love interacting with them. I get up every day, I check my Instagram and see what’s going on one there, I’m just always trying to talk to them. It’s been great.
Do you have a preference over Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter?
I’d say I’m on Instagram more, the photography aspect, I’m checking out photography pages and all that. But I do use Twitter a lot– I would say more on a professional side of things.
Have you found that it’s opened any doors for you? Have you been able to interact with any people who you might not have been able to before?
Oh yeah, lots of people. I’ve met lots of friends and lots of people who have helped me out these last few years with certain things. Twitter and social media have opened up lots of doors for me.
Let’s not beat around the bush, should The Fosters fans be moving on from Connor and Jude or is there hope for the future of Jonnor?
(laughs). That really is up to the writers, unfortunately, I’m not in the writing room when that stuff happens. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see, and I can’t really tell you too much because I don’t really know, to be honest.
Right? You’re in the dark with the rest of us. We hope your character pops back in and that storyline gets started up again. You do have some other projects coming up. You have some episodes of Bones coming out soon, you play Booth’s son which is super exciting, can you tell us about that role and what we can expect from the story?
Yeah. I can’t wait to get back in character for Bones. I’m getting back in character for Parker Booth, and getting back on set and meeting all the new cast members and everything. It’s always a great experience to me, traveling to a new set and meeting new people. It’s always nice. Fans can definitely expect to see Parker Booth coming up in the season.
Had you been a fan of David Boreanaz before you did this role?
He looked familiar, I had seen him in a few things, and it was a pleasure meeting him in person.
What do you think the biggest difference you found working on a show like Bones and then The Fosters?
It is a little bit of a different tone, I would say Bones is, not to cast The Fosters in a negative light in any way but Bones on set everything is very calculated and runs very smoothly. Not that The Fosters didn’t, but everyone is very kind on set and I felt very welcomed. I can’t wait to get back on the set of Bones.
If you had to live for the next three months in either a comedy or a thriller movie– which would you choose?
(laughs). Definitely a thriller movie. That’s pretty easy, I definitely like things that are in that category. The thriller, the drama, yeah, crazy type of stuff that you really need to get in character for. I also would really have to say that comedy is fun because I never have tried a comedy. I’ve never really been in anything like that so it would be interesting to try it out.
So that’s definitely something you’re hoping to tackle as the years go on?
It may come up, but I think for right now we’ll focus on the thriller side.
What are some other shows that you are really enjoying right now? Anything on your binge-watch list?
Right now, American Crime, I’m watching that a little bit, it’s a really good show. And I’m actually re-watching Breaking Bad.
I just started Breaking Bad a couple of months ago, and I’m on the end of season 4, so I’m still not quite there but I’m really enjoying it.
So, no spoilers. It took me a long time to get on board… but I’m here! And I’m excited to see what happens.
Yeah. I would be too!
Alright, so you’re a pretty busy guy, but what can we find you doing in your spare time? When you’re not filming are you studying? Playing video games? Hanging with friends?
Most of my free time is occupied by skateboarding and going to the park playing soccer with friends. Or if I’m on a team, I’ll be playing most of the days of the week.
When that happens do you find it’s a hectic schedule to juggle everything?
At times, it does feel a little bit overwhelming but that comes with it. Like I said before, I kind of got used to it.
Can you see yourself acting for the next 20 years, what’s your end goal?
Yeah, I could definitely see myself acting for the next 20 years. I’ve put so much into it so far, and I have such a love for the art that I couldn’t see myself not being an actor in some form.
Is there anyone that you kind of look up to, or draw inspiration from?
Yeah, Tom Hardy is definitely one of my role models. As an actor, I think his choices and roles have been very smart and I just like his acting style. And also Leonardo DiCaprio, Dane DeHaan, to name a few.
Those are all great choices. Do you have any nerdy guilty pleasures? Like comic books or superhero shows?
(laughs) I would say superhero shows, I used to read comic books when I was little.
Do you have a favorite superhero?.
I would have to say either The Flash or Spider-Man.
Oooh, good choices. If you could play Kid Flash or something like that, would you totally hop on that?
You obviously have American Fable coming up… can you tell us about that movie and Martin, the character you play?
Yes! Super excited for that. That’s going to be coming out at the SXSW film festival coming up. I’m excited to watch the full movie as a whole. I’ve only seen bits and pieces of it. But my character Martin is, he’s not like the average kid you could say. He’s very different. Not the nicest guy, but he’s smart and the dynamic between him and Peyton Kennedy who plays his sister Gitty is an interesting thing. They’re both very very smart kids and they both want different things and their heads clash and it’s very interesting element between them.
Do you enjoy playing more of the nice guy, or do you like when you have a little bit of an edge to your character?
(laughs) Oh definitely the edge, I’d take the bad guy any day.
(laughs) Do you have any all-time favorite villains that you’ve seen that you wish you could play the role of?
Oh yeah, I would say in The Shining, the guy in there. He was pretty crazy.
Yes, he was. To kind of wrap things up, do you have anything you’d like to say to the fans who are along for this fun ride with you?
I’ve had quite a few fans who have been there since day one. They’re extremely loyal and I’m very grateful to still be in contact with them and they’re still helping me out. I’m very grateful for all you guys sticking by me, you will see me on some upcoming projects in the next couple of years and thank you guys for everything that you do.
That’s great. And a fun random question to kind of end the interview, if you were a donut, based on your personality what flavor would you be?
A donut!? Oh my goodness, I like all of them.
(laughs) I’d probably have to go with the old fashioned. I like old fashioned.
I can get behind that. Thank you so much for chatting with me! We’re looking forward to seeing everything coming out.
It was great. Thanks for talking with me!