FanBolt recently had the chance to talk one-on-one with Daniel Vincent Gordh, who plays the iconic William Darcy in Hank Green and Bernie Su’s wildly popular webseries, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. Here’s what he had to say about Lizzie Bennet Diaries, his new role on Hipsterhood, and what we can look forward to seeing from him in the future!
A lot of Darcy was established with you off-screen. How did that influence your character choices?
Yeah, that was one of the biggest challenges of working on this project, because usually when you’re playing a part, you have an arc. When you’re playing a character you have an arc that you consider as an actor, which is “okay, where do I start in this, and where do I end up?” and so you’ve got to kind of conceive of the whole journey. But for me, as an actor on this project, my work started in kind of the middle of Darcy’s journey, which was weird, because in the story of Pride and Prejudice […] when Darcy shares his love of Lizzie with her, that’s when they’re at the height of their conflict, but immediately after that, when she starts considering her thoughts on him, she starts to kind of realize her prejudice or maybe ways she was misled by other characters and realize she judged him too soon. When I look at the story, sometimes I wish I got to play that misunderstood Darcy a while longer because I knew that that kind of Darcy that the audience had known about, the one that was stuffy and closed off and unemotional and pretentious, that he wasn’t going to be around that much longer, because that’s the moment right before he starts to realize his pride, too. I think the way it informed me was that I knew I had to jump into the middle of the story and so I said “Okay, I need to show that Darcy that they’ve been explaining and that everyone has been talking about and make that Darcy fully real, and almost immediately start to let everyone know that they were wrong about him.” So my mask started having to come down very soon.
Ashley Clements has said that she’s worn pretty much everything she owns as Lizzie Bennet. How much of Darcy’s style was your influence?
Well, I came into the first audition wearing suspenders, and I guess I was the only one who did that, because from what I hear from Bernie [Su] and Ashley, I became “the suspenders guy.” So throughout the callbacks and the final callback, I stuck to my guns. I knew that there was some description of him being kind of a hipster and kind of pretentious and being obviously very, very wealthy, so that kind of informed me in thinking, “okay, so he has to have some sort of classic style, but also something that can be perceived as hipster” and for me, kind of the symbolic costume piece was the suspenders, tying together the old and the new. I pretty quickly ran out of clothes too, like Ashley. It’s not like Darcy and I wear completely different clothing, but he has a lot more of it in his wardrobe than I do. He has a lot more money than I do, unfortunately, so I ran out of clothes pretty quickly, also.
So the way the story’s been adapted as a video blog has been pretty awesome, but what where the greatest challenges to doing that adaptation?
I think one of the biggest challenges has been just the shooting days. Just kind of the nature of how we do the show is challenging, because it’s somewhere in between doing a TV show and doing a play and doing a movie. Because the project is so unique, the way we’re working on it is a way that I don’t think any of the actors have worked on a project before. We’ve got the script a week before, maybe a week and a half, but it’s always changing. We get several drafts before we’re able to schedule a rehearsal, and the script is 50 pages or more. So we’re dealing with really a lot of material, and we’re getting it only a week before we’re supposed to be shooting it. I think part of it is just dealing with that much material that we have to go through quickly. And also, of course, when we shoot a lot of the stuff we’re doing all takes place in a single take, so we’re doing these five minute or seven minute or ten minute episodes and each one has to almost be like a little play. So I think one of the biggest challenges is just the amount of material we have to do. On the Pemberley day, I think I had something like 25 pages to prepare, which is a lot of material to prepare in a week, especially when you have, y’know, a life. Other things that you have to be attending to that you don’t really have a choice about. Not that I’m complaining about it. I almost feel bad saying that’s my biggest challenge when Ashley has the entire 50 pages to do. But it’s much more material than you’re ever required to do, especially in a single day, than in any other format of making a show.
We know you’ve done other webseries, like Cracked Advice Board. Is it different from that, as well?
Oh, it’s completely different. I mean, every show is different. Every show has a different story, a different tone. The Cracked Advice Board, which was of my own devising, was, the world of that show is just absurdity. So in that show, we’re not dealing with the same rules of reality that we are in the Lizzie Bennet Diaries. Everything is much more wacky and off the wall and there’s no kind of lines of reality, versus Lizzie Bennet Diaries we’re kind of, we’re doing very specific pieces of information, as actors. It’s kind of why, when I first watched the Lizzie Bennet Diaries, when I would watch the individual episodes, I didn’t know what was going on. It wasn’t until I watched from the beginning that I could follow all that. Versus working on the Cracked Advice Board is kind of, it’s like a free-for-all. Information doesn’t hold the same value it does in the Lizzie Bennet Diaries.
We’ve heard that Lizzie Bennet Diaries is ending soon. What can you tell us about what’s coming up?
I wish I could tell you anything about what’s coming up. Here’s what I can tell you, is that I am in it. So, I think for fans, they can look forward to seeing the same things that I think have been drawing people to the show in the first place, or one of the main things, which is seeing us adapt moments and scenes and the story, really, of Pride and Prejudice. So I can tell you that, whatever’s left of the Pride and Prejudice story that we haven’t adapted yet, we’re going to be doing in the next two weeks. So the story, we’re completing the story and all that that brings with it. In terms of specifics, I wish I could tell you but I have the feeling Bernie Su would slit my throat. I don’t think he would slit my throat, but he’d definitely body slam me, for sure.
With the series ending, what’s next on your plate?
Well, right now I’m in the middle of recording an audiobook. I’ve been doing an audiobook for the director Chris Columbus. Chris Columbus and Ned Vizzini, who wrote It’s Kind of a Funny Story and Chris Columbus, who directed the first two Harry Potter movies and Stepmom and Gremlins and Goonies. Gremlins, by the way, is my favorite Christmas movie. Funny enough, all the things that Chris Columbus had done, when I realized that I was going to be doing this book, that was one of the things that excited me the most. But yeah, Chris Columbus and Ned Vizzini wrote this young adult series. It’s called The House of Secrets and it’s kind of a wild adventure of three kids who get transported to a magical world in that kind of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe sense of siblings getting stuck in a fantasy world, and so it’s been awesome. I’ve been working on that for the past week and I still have a little bit left. So I’m doing that audiobook, which is great. I’m looking forward to sharing that with everyone. I’ve been doing another webshow called Hipsterhood which I’m doing a guest [role] on, which is kind of exploring the lives of hipsters in Silver Lake in L.A., which is a hipster heaven. And I’m coming in and I’m going to be playing a character named Weston who is a Westsider who’s coming in and shaking up their hipster world. And then I have another couple projects in the works that I don’t think I can talk about quite yet. But I can tell you one thing, which is that I’ll get to play a badass.
Is there a particular genre you’d like to aim for? If you had your druthers, what would you be doing next?
Oh, if I had my druthers, what would I be doing next? I’ve said this before, but I would love to be in Downton Abbey. People have asked if I’d like to play Pride and Prejudice in its original time period and I would love to. I think doing a period drama like that would be awesome. But I also like, I want to do so much. People ask me if I would rather do comedy or drama and to me they’re all kind of part of the same thing. They all satisfy an artistic need of mine. Working on a show like that, working on another show would be great, because I love the community aspect of working on a show. You get to build this kind of team of people who you trust and like working with, or maybe you don’t like working with sometimes, but you’re all there for the same purpose, to serve the same story. There’s that kind of camaraderie. I think I would love to be working on another show like that.
The Lizzie Bennet Diaries updates at 9am PST/noon EST and can be found at www.lizziebennet.com. New episodes of Hipsterhood are posted on www.hipsterhoodseries.com.