It’s summertime in Bluebell, Alabama and yet I end up sitting with Wilson Bethel this month in... Austin, Texas!
That's where the second annual ATX Television Festival was held and Bethel was on hand to sit in on a few panels for Hart of Dixie, as well as an actors’ Q&A with co-star Scott Porter, Lucas Neff (Raising Hope) and Nick Wechsler (Revenge).
When we sat down to chat one morning, Bethel had plenty discuss about about his character of Wade Kinsella, his workout ethic in the offseason and his new Web series. Read on for excerpts from our Q&A...
TV Fanatic: What would your hope be if you were kind of pulling the strings on Hart of Dixie Season 3. Would Wade finally get with Zoe for good or would you like to explore some other things?
Wilson Bethel: Who knows what's going on. This is a genuinely interesting place to be in the kind of in-betweens because basically what you're just waiting to see is the roughest outline. And they'll give it to us when they're good and f***ing ready. [laughs] They'll give us a sense, a very vague sense of what the coming season holds, but until then I could come back and be a woman for all I know. Who knows!
TVF: A whole new challenge.
WB: Do a little Mrs. Doubtfire action. I envision in my head, ‘oh, this could be a cool direction or this could be a cool direction,’ just kind of the writer in me or whatever sees ‘oh, this is an opportunity.’ But I know better than to get too invested in any possibility until I actually see it on the page and then you're like okay, well, this is what we're doing. So I don’t know. I don’t know what Zoe's going to do. I don’t know what she's going to choose.
I mean, objectively, an interesting conundrum is that she has gone away to New York ostensibly with this potential new angle in the love, I don’t know, quadrangle, but Travis Van Winkle, who plays this other guy, is cast on another show. So objectively, and this is no spoiler, there's not a lot we can do there. And I think maybe he's freed up to do a couple episodes…
And it seems like the door's pretty firmly shut on George, so what does that mean? And then Jaimie King is pregnant. I mean, the writers are going to have to get really creative this season. And that's a good thing. Sometimes those kind of limitations and challenges end up opening new avenues for stories.
TVF: Anybody in the cast that you feel like you haven't gotten to work with enough, that you would love to have a good story with? One of the guys, one of the girls, anybody?
WB: At this point, I've worked a fair amount with most of the central cast. Not a lot with Brick, I guess. I haven't really worked with Tim [Matheson] much, who I love to work with. He's awesome. We have such a wonderful supporting cast and there are so many of those characters that are - at this point some of them appeared in 20, 25 episodes or more - really talented actors, wonderful characters, and I think the more that those characters are kind of integrated into things, I think the more fun it's going to be.
And you'll see with Kaitlyn Black's character, Annabeth, who this year is being made a series regular, it's awesome that the development of that character has become essential to the show and that Leila and the CW recognize that and made her part of the family like that.
TVF: Is it safe to assume in this downtime when you're not shooting that you can kind of let the diet go a little bit?
WB: That's just who I am. I don't work out to be on Hart of Dixie. I just enjoy being outside. I enjoy being active. So that's kind of how I roll. Makes it easier. As I'm stroking my chin, thinking about going back to get another breakfast taco. [NOTE: They were VERY good!] Well, I've already had breakfast once this morning, so this is round two.
TVF: I’m excited to see you on the new Whose Line Is It Anyway? Tell me about that.
WB: It's coming back on the CW so I guess I had an in in that regard so there's a little bit of nepotism. But also I think my having done Stupid Hype for them and a couple of other things now that are more kind of straight-ahead comedy, they felt like it would be a good kind of crossover.
And doing the other projects I have been doing with them for the last couple of years now, they've invested a lot of kind of faith in me…it's kind of an amazing situation at this point to have like a network, not just a show with Hart of Dixie, that believes in me, but I feel like I have a really good relationship with kind of the network as a whole, and it's something I feel really fortunate to have cultivated.
TVF: Was doing the improv, and just letting loose, and going with the flow, was that a challenge or was it kind of easy for you to get there?
WB: No, I mean, for me, it's super nerve-wracking before you get up there because you don’t know what you're going to do…it's scary. And especially with those guys. Actually, it makes it easier knowing that you're doing it with these guys who are like the pro, pro, pro cats and you're like ‘okay, well, I'm in good hands.’ There's a pretty solid safety net. The whole experience was just super awesome. All those guys, just super sweet. I don't know…taping in front of a live audience? I mean, come on. It was awesome.
TVF: Tell me more about the new web series you’re doing.
WB: I mean this is kind of coming off Stupid Hype, which the network is really thrilled about and they continue to put a lot of resources and genuine excitement into this new arm of the network, the digital arm, which is, I think, actually really exciting. No other network is really putting the kind of energy into it that the CW is and I think it's much to their credit. Like they get what the future of television looks like.
TVF: Now would you ever want to write a Hart of Dixie episode? Hang out in the writers’ room?
WB: I would love to, yeah. I don’t think it's very feasible. I've talked to them about it and the problem is just that there's no way to be in the writers' room and on set simultaneously. So that's kind of the big conundrum there. But the thing with writing is you don’t have to have a hair on your head, your face could be full of wrinkles, nobody can want to look at you, and you can still be a writer.
I expect to have a long career as a writer, as a producer, as a lot of other things that don’t involve being an actor. And that's exciting to me. I guess that's just to say I'm not in a huge rush. As much as I think it would be super fun to write an episode of Hart of Dixie, it just probably isn't going to be in the cards, unfortunately.
TVF: How have you gotten used to fame and people recognizing you a little bit more?
WB: Yeah. I mean, there are some elements of it that remain a little weird or surreal, but I don’t really spend a lot of time out in the public like mashing out in my Maserati or anything, so I'm not a very exciting story for a celebrity chaser. I don’t know. My life hasn't really changed.
Hart of Dixie will air on Mondays this fall on The CW. Whose Line Is It Anyway premieres July 16 on the CW. Info on the ATX Television festival can be found on its website.
Jim Halterman is the West Coast Editor of TV Fanatic and the owner of JimHalterman.com. Follow him on Twitter.