In its first season, How to Get Away with Murder has become known for its too-hot-for-network-TV sex. We can thank bad boy associate Frank Delfino (Charlie Weber) for some of this. Shooting steamy scenes is just “another day in the office” for the actor.
The down-to-earth Missouri native opened up about his (former) player tendencies — yes, he may have sent a nudie or two back in his day — and his similarities to Frank. Don’t you love him already? Read on for scoop on what we can expect at the end of a crazy first HTGAWM season. You’re about to be his biggest fan.
You just finished shooting season 1. Are you sad or excited for a break?
I’m kind of sad. I love going to work.
How do you feel about being named one of the Hottest Men of Fall TV 2014?
I’m flattered! [Laughs.] That’s really nice, I guess.
Frank plays by his own rules. Are you like that as well?
To a degree. We share a love of young women that has gotten us both into a lot of trouble in our lives but [it’s] something we can’t help. I’m a direct person, but not like Frank. He doesn’t have time for anything else. That comes from what people in Philadelphia are like. When I was researching and creating Frank, spending time with people there, there’s a forward-moving aggression . When you get to know them, that very direct thing is just the way people are. It’s an East Coast mentality, life is moving too fast for anything else.
What about his player ways?
No, no. I’m a nice guy. [Laughs.]
C’mon, Charlie. You’re a player.
Maybe there was a time. I’d like to think I’m a good guy as I’ve gotten older.
You refer to Frank as a “street guy,” but you’re from the Midwest. Was it hard for you to get that down?
There are no streets where I’m from, that’s why I spent so much time in Philly. I’ve spent time in New York and L.A., and you start to understand that mentality and know people who are from that walk of life and draw from your experiences. It wasn’t as difficult as I had anticipated. It came together quite nicely.
Let’s talk sex scenes. Would you agree with Katie that they’re awkward to shoot?
I think they’re fine. I’ve been in a few love scenes over the years. It’s a very non-sexual situation. I remember doing a love scene with Karla Souza in the back of a car, and there was a walkie talkie. [The crew is] trying to talk to us through [it], and we’re trying to listen, so it’s not as sexual as it appears to be.
Is it a relief to get it on in real life without cameras?
I think the difference is, if the cameras are rolling, there’s an awareness. You want to make sure the other person’s comfortable, so it’s not this free-for-all. It’s this structured thing you talk about, like, “Hey are you comfortable with this or that?” They set down these rules. Everyone on our show is pretty open but sometimes you can find yourself in a very nonsexual situation because the other person just doesn’t want to go too far with it. It can be delicate. I think for [Katie] being younger than me, it’s newer and the awkwardness is still there. For me, it’s sort of another day in the office. [Laughs.]
If you could play anyone else on the show, who would it be?
I love Frank so much that I couldn’t imagine stepping out of that. I was asked recently, if I had to be someone else in all of Shondaland who would it be, and I said Tom Verica because he’s such a fascinating guy and he directs. Sam’s a pretty bad guy, I think Frank’s bad enough. Maybe Annalise just to try to capture some of the magic in a bottle that is Viola Davis. I’m pretty happy being Frank.
Viola is perfect and beautiful.
She’s amazing. She is beautiful and talented and all the stuff you wanna be.
Jack was telling me she’s the coolest on set.
She is. She’s wonderful and warm and sweet and funny. She’s a great person.
We all know the “penis on a dead girl’s phone” line.
What’s your stance on sending nudies?
I’m not going to say that a very young Charlie Weber is without his indiscretions. But not anymore, I’m way past those days. Not only that, but I have done everything in my power to shut down the Cloud. It’s scary out there. Don’t do it. Don’t press send!
The cast as gotten tight, but have you gotten close with anyone else in Shondaland?
You’d be shocked how little we see [others in Shondaland]. They’re working, we’re working. At events, we bump into the Scandal cast a little more than Grey’s, but they’re over at a different lot.
What’s your favorite memory from off-set?
They’re endless. Every time we go to dinner, every time we go to a party. It’s just one laugh after another.
Anything silly or crazy?
I don’t think I could say that publicly…
Wow, you guys getting crazy, huh?
[Laughs.] No I’m joking, we just have a blast together. We really do.
What are you doing on your break?
I don’t like this. It’s too much change too quickly. I’m used to prepping material, and spending most of my day more or less as Frank. Even when I have a day off, I’m still studying, working, doing stuff as Frank. It’s odd to put him on a shelf for a bit. Even yesterday, I really didn’t have anything to do and I felt so worthless. What do I do with my time? It’s usually so controlled. I’m already looking forward to going back to work. I got a couple of trips coming up, so I think once I get out of town and come back I’ll be better.
What was your favorite modeling or acting gig before Murder?
You know, a long, long time ago I was on Buffy the Vampire Slayer for a season. That was my first big thing. It was already this iconic show. Joss Whedon was this genius that everyone knew about and I got to jump into the deep end. I’ll always appreciate that, how early it was in my career, how fun and creative it was. It was a great jumping off point.
What’s the ultimate role you haven’t played yet?
As an actor, you’re always changing. Regardless of however I answer that, it could change tomorrow. There are definitely genres of film that I do love. I love dirty, gritty, suspenseful, dark material. When I can find roles in that world, that’s what I’m really enjoying right now.
If you could follow a similar career path to another actor, whose would it be?
In a perfect world, Jason Patric. He finds himself in these little movies that are sort of dirty, messy, and incorporate a great story. But then you’re seeing actors like Ryan Gosling in Drive and Jake Gyllenhaal in Nightcrawler and those are incredible roles that I really, really envy.
So we’re going to see you in a huge, action blockbuster sometime soon?
[Laughs.] I hope so!
If it were up to you, how would things end for Frank this season?
I really like how things are gonna end for Frank. I think it’s really cool what’s happening on the show and the direction we’re taking. I can’t complain, it’s really crazy and fun.
I can tell you this, it’s really crazy the rest of the season and we’re going to give you some real answers and then present situations that will be new for us to deal with in season two. Closure, but then some reopening.