By common consensus, Jack Falahee has the world at his feet. One of the young stars of the stylish OSN First HD drama How to Get Away With Murder – yet another drama from the Shonda Rhimes television hit factory that includes Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and The Catch – the 27 year-old American has struck such a chord with his depiction of ruthless but alluring law student Connor Walsh, there is even fan fiction delving deeper into his story.
And yet, when I meet him in London just before the start of season three, which begins tonight on OSN First HD, he seems nervous, unsure even. A world away, indeed, from his character.
“Connor is aggressively confident, arrogantly so at times, and I’m not at all,” says Falahee, fiddling with the chain around his neck. “So I really enjoy being able to slip into the skin of someone who is so sure of himself, every day. It’s helped me a lot in my personal life. So yeah, I’ve learnt a lot from playing Connor.”
It’s not the kind of admission we’re used to hearing from young Hollywood stars – but perhaps that’s what makes Falahee so interesting. He’s clearly thought deeply about his character – a legal intern who, over two seasons, has buried a body, driven someone accused of insider trading to suicide, slept with a person of interest in a case and much more.
Falahee reveals he has regular Skype sessions with creator and executive producer Peter Norwalk during which they discuss developments on the show, what’s going through his character’s mind and, unusually, the direction in which Falahee would like to see Connor go in future seasons.
“He does listen to what we have to say, and the thing I like the most about How to Get Away With Murder is that Pete created these characters that are morally neither black nor white,” he says. “They’re all compromised. That’s an accurate reflection of us as humans, and that’s why it’s so relatable. That’s what drew me to Connor.”
As the series has progressed, Falahee has expertly navigated the shift in his character from a selfish narcissist desperate to be top of the class to someone who, in his relationship with IT professional Oliver, became something of a protector. Connor has certainly been on an enthralling journey, which is probably why the fan fiction exists.
“Yeah,” he says, with a grimace. “I haven’t read it – I’d be a little nervous to. It’s bizarre – I guess I’m lucky that Shonda has experience of incredibly successful shows that make stars of unknowns. The best advice she gave me is not to read any comments online, because the best one will never be good enough and the worst one is going to be terrible. I guess I’m figuring fame out.”
Falahee is working out a lot right now – including how to navigate a nascent acting career that can have as many stressful pitfalls as rewarding peaks. Only seeing scripts a day before filming an episode is a challenge, as is playing opposite the brilliant Viola Davis, who won an Emmy for her portrayal of Annalise Keating, law professor and criminal defence lawyer.
“You raise your game when you’re around people like her,” he says. “I say this as a white man of privilege, but acting is such a gamble. You’re constantly worrying about the inconsistency of work, the fear of rejection – there’s no real road map to getting on a show such as How to Get Away with Murder, you know.”
So would he fancy a legal career like his character’s?
“Well, no one’s actually studying on the show, are they?” he says. “I’d like to be a vet, or something in politics. Perhaps a sailor. I was in Monaco recently and saw all these yachts. I like the idea of being a hired deckhand.”
See what I mean about being unsure?
• Season three of How to Get Away with Murder starts tonight at 10pm on OSN First HD. Visit www.osn.com
Source: art & life