East New York's Lavel Schley Talks About All Things Andre Bentley!

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East New York fans fell hard for André Bentley, the rookie officer who rides with Marvin Sandeford.

When Bentley was shot at the end of East New York Season 1 Episode 9, fans prayed he would make it through.

Thankfully, he did, and TV Fanatic had the opportunity to catch up with Lavel Schley to get his take on that pivotal moment and the aftermath of the shooting. Read on to learn what Schley thinks of all things related to Andre Bentley.

Lavel Schley Interview Photo 1 - East New York

I'm really excited to get to talk to you. I cover East New York for TV Fanatic, and I got a lot of people who absolutely love your character and love the show. So this is a great opportunity. So I want to start by asking you what first attracted you to the role of Andre Bentley.

Whenever I got the breakdown and the script, I was interested in the fact that this young dude was caught in between two worlds. And I thought it was really relatable.

Lavel Schley Interview Photo 2 - East New York

Yeah, definitely. I think a lot of fans love his relationship with Sanderford, and we get a lot of people talking about it every week. So that's really awesome. And I think it's a little different than other cop shows. It seems like it's based more on him being young and learning what it's like to be a cop and all that.

Yeah, I think so too. His relationship with Sandeford was something that I remember one of my friends and I were going over whenever I was first doing it.

It brought up this whole conversation with generational differences between Andre as a young Black man and Sandeford as an older black man. And how things have changed a bit, and seeing that gap in the way that they both look at the world is so interesting.

Yeah, definitely. I love those scenes. Like right before your character was shot. I forget what the cultural reference was that Sandeford makes that Andre's like, what are you talking about?

Ready for Work - East New York

Yeah, he makes a whole bunch of those.

Yeah, I love that back-and-forth. I think it's great. What's been your favorite scene to film so far?

I don't know if I have a favorite scene, to be honest with you. There's this thing I tend to do when we work. I tend to do the scenes and then let them go and forget about them.

There was one thing that we did... well, I can't really tell you because we filmed it recently.

But I think I have quite a bit of fun with everything we're working on.

Bentley Discusses a Case - East New York Season 1 Episode 7

How far in advance do you guys film from when it airs?

I think we're usually about four or five weeks ahead.

Oh, that's awesome. Has there been a scene that's been most challenging for you to film?

The scene where Bentley got shot. We could all feel like, okay, this is, is gonna be intense. But we were kind of taking a deep breath together before we ended up doing it. But you know, that was pretty tough.

And there are a few episodes afterward, where some of the things Bentley goes through, dealing with healing from the gunshot wound and dealing with the psychological effects of that.

Some of those things are pretty intensive. You just feel a lot of things—fear after the fact.

Listening to Killian - East New York Season 1 Episode 7

Yeah, I can imagine that. That's what I think is really cool about East New York. A lot of these shows have people get shot and then onto the next plot. So really cool that they're taking the time to show the effect on him and everything.

We saw the beginning of that. I think the last one aired was when he was at home recovering and had to shut Quinlan out because his parents were taking over.

It definitely could have been.

We were talking about how it's not just gonna be like he gets shot, he's healed, and then he's good. There's a lot of stuff that was changing, that's been changing recently, regarding that, because it definitely could have been that thing where he does get shot, and then we're all good. And we're just moving on to the next.

Andre Listens to Sandeford - East New York

What was your reaction when you found out that he would get shot?

So it's funny. I wasn't sure how long we were gonna be doing the show. And after, you know, the show is doing fairly well, it seems like, and more episodes are getting picked up, I decided to go look at a different apartment and on my way to go check out the new place in New York, I was reading on the train.

And I get to the part where Bentley gets shot. And I'm literally about to go view this apartment. And I was like, No!

Mike Robin, ironically, ended up calling me about something else. He's the showrunner. And he was letting me know what's going on with the pickups and everything. And then at the end of the call. I was like, "Just a question: Am I dying?" And he's like, No. So I was like, okay, cool.

So I was pretty shocked because I didn't know I was getting shot when I read it.

Lavel Schley Interview Photo 1 - East New York

It can be scary as an actor, especially because you're picking up your life and looking into apartments, and you're like, wait a sec. Am I even gonna be on the show anymore?

For real!

I think it also came across well for the viewers because it was the cliffhanger before you were off for a while. And a lot of people on the Facebook group for East New York were like, "They better not be killing him off. He's my favorite!" And we were discussing it forever. So it came out well.

Oh, I'm glad.

Bentley and Quinlan Have Lunch - East New York Season 1 Episode 8

Yeah, so one of the things we discuss a lot online is Bentley's relationship with his mother. A lot of people have a lot of different opinions. I was wondering what your take is on the relationship between Andre and Simone.

Yeah. I think his parents, in general, have had the opportunity to create this amazing environment for their son to grow up in. And the fact that he wants to, in their eyes, I think, go backward is scary to them because he could, I'm sure, have a great education and a really high-paying job.

And, you know, you can check off all the boxes of what it is to be, quote-unquote, 'successful.' But I think for him, he doesn't look at fulfillment in that way.

And I think that the relationship with his mom... I think people can see it's pretty contentious because he wants more. But yeah, I think it's the same thing if he decided to be a painter. It could be the same reaction where they're like, "You have this path set up for you. Why would you go and do that?" You know?

Bentley Helps Quinlan Out - East New York Season 1 Episode 5

Yeah. They're like two different worlds. And I think especially after he was shot, his mom was like, "I knew this was a bad idea."

Yeah, exactly. Like, I mean, that's like the ultimate.

I think that was something I took with me quite a bit when we were working on this stuff with Simone and his father after that.

His parents, at some level, feel like, "I told you so. " And there's this weird relationship. His parents are like, "Alright, we're just gonna get you taken care of, and you're gonna go back to this normal life." And Bentley is like, no. He's like, "This can't be the end of this job. This isn't it for me."

Right. Exactly. And then, you know, there's also the whole thing that he's in a new relationship and trying to navigate that, and this happens.

Yeah. I think that's where it all comes to a head in the most obvious way because it's literally when she comes into that living room -- I think it's in episode 11 -- that it all just shows itself right there—these two completely different worlds.

There's this black family and this white woman that's a police officer he's with.

And it's just like a bunch of just so much... almost animosity in the area about the whole thing.

Yeah, definitely. And then Quinlan had to react to it. She was like, "He's shutting me out." And she goes to her car and cries. But it doesn't really seem like that exactly. It just seemed like, for his part, Bentley was like, "This is not a good time. I don't want to deal with this right now."

Working With the US Marshal - East New York Season 1 Episode 5

Yeah, I think it was, maybe, too much to be dealing with after going through that traumatic situation that he went through.

Yeah, definitely. You know, East New York shows some fairly heavy topics. But what's the atmosphere like on set?

A lot of the time, it's quite playful and light-hearted.

And even when we're doing stuff that's tough to be working with, like, you know, the shooting scene is a really obvious one. Even when we were doing it, there was s a sense of, "Oh, this is gonna be intense, "especially after we did it a couple of times.

But the atmosphere is kind of always pretty consistent. I think everybody is kind of happy to be there. And everybody understands how much of a privilege it is to be able to make movies and TV shows for a living. So it's pretty light-hearted, for the most part.

Hands-On Training - East New York Season 1 Episode 2

I think you have to be playful behind the scenes on shows like that because you're dealing with these topics. If you're down and depressed, it's not gonna be any fun and not easy to work on. And so you have to have time to play on the set too.

Yeah, definitely. And there are moments when someone needs a minute to get grounded in what they're doing if it's something intense or serious. Then they're given that space, and everyone's respectful of that.

But nobody's walking around upset about what we're working on.

Right. That brings up the question: How do you prepare for your scenes?

The Cops Are Skeptical - East New York Season 1 Episode 1

It just depends on what I'm doing.

There are days when the scenes are loaded with all kinds of symbolism and meanings that are a bit in between the lines. On those days, I'm really just going over what I'm working on, getting present, so when we go in, whoever I'm working with, I can bounce off of them a little bit.

But there are days when I'm coming in and saying one funny thing, and then I'm out.

Those days I'm just chillin'. I come in, and I have my book with me, and I'm reading, and then when we're ready, I pop in and pop out.

Switching gears for a minute, I don't know if you're aware, but you've become somewhat of a heartthrob for some fans. Many of them are like, "Wow, that guy's really good-looking!" And they like watching you. How do you feel about that?

A Supermarket Shooting - East New York Season 1 Episode 7

Oh, that's really sweet. It's endearing. I think that's just an honor.

Do you have any other projects coming up that you can share about?

I don't know if I can. It's a bit early to be sharing, but yeah.

The final question I have for you is, what message would you like to give to all of your fans?

Ooh, a message I can give to my fans. I don't know if I've ever been asked something like that before. I don't know. 'Love your neighbor.'

Over to you, East New York fanatics! Share your thoughts about Lavel Schley's comments, Andre Bentley, and what you're looking forward to when East New York returns!

Don't forget you can watch East New York online while waiting for the next episode to air.

East New York airs on Sundays on CBS at 9 EST / PST. It returns with all new episodes on February 19.

Jack Ori is a senior staff writer for TV Fanatic. His debut young adult novel, Reinventing Hannah, is available on Amazon. Follow him on Twitter.

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East New York Quotes

Rookie: Who's that guy?
Supervisor: He shows up wherever there's cameras.

Salon Worker: Big day for you, huh? You the boss now.
Hayward: I'm A boss. There are lots of bosses. I have a boss.