Interview: Lindsey Shaw and Ethan Peck from ’10 Things I Hate About You’

We had the pleasure of speaking with Lindsey Shaw and Ethan Peck from the ABC Family Show 10 Things I Hate About You about making the show stand apart from the movie, what’s coming up in the new season, and what they would change about the show if they were in charge!

I wanted to ask you, Lindsey, what about your role continues to challenge you?

Lindsey Shaw: I think the need for evolution of this character really challenges me as it challenges all of us in this new season. I think we work on a show that, well, really any show can get stagnant if it stays one note, and so I think what we achieved in the second season was evolving everybody and keeping everybody interesting and relatable so that people want to watch them, which was a challenge. I really attempted to make Kat softer and to allow more in, and so that was challenging, but really fun. My friend Ethan Peck made that a lot easier, so it was fun.

Ethan, a lot of social networking sites have different areas dedicated to the show and to individual characters. Why do you think social networking has become so important to the promotion of the show?

Ethan Peck: Social networking has become really important for many types of media at this point in time, but I think it’s special for this show because Web sites like Twitter and Facebook are becoming open to people of all ages, and our show really is geared to a younger demographic, in my opinion, and these are the kids that are making Twitter successful and making Facebook huge and who blew up MySpace, so it’s no question that they’re good for shows like us geared toward the younger audience.

It seems like the characters of Kat and Patrick are tied up in this relationship tease. You see that on a lot of different shows where the couple that really needs to be together or that is going to be together eventually, they just never quite get there. I was wondering why you guys think writers are so hesitant to make that move, and would you like to see your characters actually have a real relationship where it’s not questionable whether or not they’re really together?

Lindsey Shaw: I think for the first part of that question it’s because, obviously, you need to maintain a tension between your characters. That’s sort of how it is in real life, achieving that perfect balance means you’ve reached this really Zen place of being together, and that’s rarely the case. There’s always that struggle back and forth, and it’s just a little more exaggerated and dramatic in the show I think. In terms of an actual relationship, I think it would be really interesting, but I also think that they’re too much. I just don’t know if that banter could ever cease. Either way, I think that they’re a big presence in each other’s lives and they always will be.

Ethan Peck: I agree.

How do you guys think this show fits in with ABC Family’s theme of family television and family networking? How do you see the show fitting into at least that perception of the network?

Ethan Peck: Well, I think that the show is told from the perspective of these two girls who have their own unique type of family. Their mother has passed away, but we see this show from the perspective of a tight, loving family with a strict parent. And you see the way other characters contrast to the daughters that come from this good family, characters like Patrick, whom I play, who may not have the loving family that Kat does. You see that, and it teaches a lesson both to parents and to kids that a good, supporting family is a loving one. I think it sets a good example for everybody out there. I actually don’t really have TV yet still, and I haven’t seen too much of the other shows, but I do know that they’re all about friends and family supporting one another to achieve bigger dreams and bigger goals and aspirations.

In the upcoming episode, Kat and Patrick get caught skipping school and are suspended. I was just wondering how each of your characters deals with the suspension?

Ethan Peck: I’ll go first because I’ll be short. Patrick just doesn’t really care, so it’s like a day off for him.

Lindsey Shaw: Yes, Kat actually, believe it or not, gets a little frazzled, and she realizes she’s going to miss a really big test, and this forces her to do some dramatic things which she needs Patrick’s help for. She reacts in her normal crazy, over-reactive way.

Lindsey, how do you see the relationship between Kat and Bianca evolving over the season?

Lindsey Shaw: Actually, this season feels so much more sisterly between Kat and Bianca. I don’t know why. There’s either a deepening of our understanding of each other’s characters or just us being closer having known each other for this much longer. Yes, they really just take on this deeper sisterly vibe, and it gets more away from the banter and more into the fact that these are two sisters who can see what’s going on with the other and try to lend advice no matter how removed they feel. I really like that. I really enjoyed that. Meaghan [Martin] and I really get a chance to take that to another level, so it was great.

Ethan, apparently you have fans that think you should’ve been Edward in Twilight. What do you have to say about that?

Ethan Peck: I don’t have too much to say about that. I have actually never seen it, and so I can’t tell you whether or not I would’ve done a better job than who did it, and it sounds like he did a pretty good job, Robert Pattinson, so I have no problem having missed out on that.

Ruby and the Rockets got canceled, and that came out the same time 10 Things came out. Were you guys ever nervous that you weren’t going to get renewed?

Ethan Peck: Yes.

Lindsey Shaw: Yes, absolutely. The last scene that we shot of the first ten episodes, Meaghan and I had the last scene together, and I just kind of looked over at her when it was done, and I started crying and sort of lost it only because if that’s the end of that experience for you, that’s really emotional. Yes, it only became a hiatus like months into it.

Were either of you intimidated to make the show considering what a classic the original movie has become?

Lindsey Shaw: No, I was not intimidated really only because it’s a whole new thing. It’s a similar springboard with characters that you know, but different people bringing them to life, so essentially, it’s really its own thing. I think we have accomplished making this show something on its own beyond the movie now. No, we were never really trying to replicate anything. We’ve talked about this a lot, right, Ethan?

Ethan Peck: Yes, I wasn’t nervous at all to begin the show because it had been a movie, but I was very nervous because I knew that Gil Young was coming back who directed the film, and Larry Miller was going to be there, so there was sort of a reimagining happening of some sort in some ways, but in no way were any of us trying to replicate what had been done. If anything, I was nervous just because I knew that I wanted it to be good, and could I make it good and what could I contribute.

Do you guys have a favorite scene that you enjoyed filming?

Lindsey Shaw: From this season it would be the dinner table scene in Episode Three. Patrick comes, or it was Episode Two. Yes, Episode Two he comes over for dinner at the Stratford house, and it’s very hilarious. I kind of got a chance to just observe them.

Ethan Peck: That was a good scene. That was a fun scene. That felt like the beginning of—of like a new part of our relationship on the show.

Lindsey Shaw: Absolutely, totally.

You two have such a great chemistry on screen. Is that something you found right off the bat, or was it something that just progressed over the first ten episodes?

Lindsey Shaw: I definitely think that was a progression. I don’t know if any of you can tell, but Ethan is a man of few words, and when I first met him, he was true to his persona. He was just silent and observant with his backpack and his hi-tops, and so it was interesting getting to know him. I think the first time we actually had a chance to sit down and talk was episode seven of the first season when we were doing that rooftop scene. Remember when we were outside until midnight?

Ethan Peck: Yes.

Lindsey Shaw: That’s really the first time our characters actually talked on the show, so I guess that was okay, but it’s really kind of mirrored the communication up until that point.

For you, Ethan, Patrick is probably the most mysterious character on the show and we don’t know a lot about him. In these next ten episodes, are we going to get more of a look inside him and what his back story is?

Ethan Peck: A little bit. You’ll start to see some clues as to what his life is like, but it’s really being kept in the dark.

Do you guys ever get tired of that constant comparison to Julia Stiles and Heath Ledger and to the original film, or is that just kind of part of the landscape in doing a re-imaging of a popular movie like that?

Lindsey Shaw: Yes, absolutely. People’s only version of what you’re putting out is the original really, and you tell them that you’re going to be redoing it. Naturally, they’re going to think to attach it to what they’re familiar with, with that concept. It’s that original piece of work, and I think that once you work to make it something on its own, something that no longer needs to be compared, it can stand on its own. I think that that’s when that stops, and I think that’s just kind of what you work towards. I think as a couple of you have said that we’ve done that. We’ve made it its own thing, and so it feels like we earned that. We earned the right to say that.

Ethan Peck: Yes, and I don’t think it gets tiring to hear the question over and over because, as Lindsey said, it’s from a beloved movie, this show, and people are going to be suspicious and curious and want to know why they’re remaking something that was so successful because we’re not remaking it. It’s the same franchise, the same name, and that question is going to be asked and asked, and our answer will be the show. You’ll see this upcoming ten where we’ve taken it.

Could both talk a little bit about how you got into acting. Ethan, I was wondering if your family background opened doors for you, or is it just kind of something that’s there?

Ethan Peck: It hasn’t opened doors for me that I know of. I started acting because my mom offered to take me on an audition when I was younger, and I loved doing lots of new things and new fun activities, and I was about nine years old, so I said yes, and it was fun, and I really enjoyed it. I’ve just continued to do it ever since.

Lindsey, can you talk about your background, how you got into this because I know it’s kind of a really interesting story.

Lindsey Shaw: Yes, kind of. I guess it’s how you tell it. Seriously, from a really young age, I’ve really liked being the center of attention and entertaining people, and somehow I got involved with local interests and what not in Nebraska where I’m from and went to a couple spots before ending up in L.A. and sort of really trying it out here. I got lucky and was able to stay out here, and it’s been really good with fortunate luck ever since.

How did the six-month break affect you guys? Was it easy just to get back into the show?

Lindsey Shaw: Was it really a six-month break? July, August, September, October, November, December, I guess like five months, but yes and no. I guess I feel so much like this character that I don’t feel like she really ever leaves me, and that’s just a testament to what was written for me last season. It just feels so easy to kind of slide back into it.

Ethan Peck: I felt really comfortable and safe jumping right back into Patrick in the second ten [episodes] because the hiatus was difficult for me. It’s a long time to figure out what to do with yourself and to begin to understand what being an actor is and sitting around and waiting, but everybody on the show is so wonderful and generous and collaborative. It’s really easy to jump back in and start things off where we left them if not a little ahead of where we left them.

Ethan, what is one thing about the new season that you’re most excited about?

Ethan Peck: I don’t know, lots of things. There’s a fight scene. That’s pretty exciting that I won’t tell you too much about.

Lindsey Shaw: Yes, Ethan roughs a guy up.

Ethan Peck: But we’ll let that scene surprise you when it comes along.

Lindsey, a lot of people know you as Moze from Ned’s Declassified. Would you say you’re more like Moze or more like Kat?

Lindsey Shaw: Well, I think Kat is just like a really grown-up version of Moze. Really, it’s like the next, I really feel like it’s Ned’s Declassified in high school, obviously, not as exaggerated, but I feel like when I was that age I could really relate to who I was playing then, and as I’ve grown up this is just a natural progression of that. I’m two different people when I’m playing them. I guess at this point in my life this feels the most right and who I am.

I was wondering what’s to say for whatever reason you guys were put totally in charge of the show and where it’s going to go. What element or thing would you add either to the show or to your characters that’s not there?

Lindsey Shaw: I think we have different answers here, which is awesome. I guess in this ten this is kind of addressed, but I guess I would just have my character interact with more people. Bianca has kind of this whole world around her, and Kat is working to build that, but she doesn’t really have many friends or people, so it would be cool to have different outlets or different hobbies that she had other than just crusading all the time.

Ethan Peck: Yes, that’s good, Lindsey. Maybe I would have Patrick go on a motorcycle road trip or something and bring some fun.

Lindsey Shaw: I’d totally be jazzed if you piggyback on that motorcycle road trip.

Ethan Peck: Yes, maybe Cameron could get one, and it would be great.

Lindsey Shaw: Really to have the whole show turn into a biker gang of sorts. That just has different routes of publicity written all over it.

Ethan Peck: Yes, Lindsey, that’s good. I like that.

Lindsey Shaw: That’d be great. We could all get bikes.

Ethan, is there chance ever that we’re going to see some of your musical talents? I was thinking it would be really awesome to see Patrick playing the cello kind of in secret.

Ethan Peck: Yes, I think that they threw that idea around a little bit, but I don’t think they want people to like Patrick that much.

In the first ten episodes each of your characters kind of only interacted with a few of the other characters. From what I’ve seen in the new episodes, there’s a lot more interaction with the other main characters. What was that like getting to work with everybody else?

Lindsey Shaw: It is so wonderful. I feel like Meaghan and I work two different shifts on the show. I always come in for the morning, and Meaghan is always there late at night, and so really it’s this whole other storyline show, everything that you never get to see that you just have no idea about, and when you finally get to pull some of those in your direction and interact with them, it’s just fresh and new and it brings something new out of you. It brings something new out of them. It just feels really fresh, so I really enjoyed. I especially enjoyed working with Nicholas Braun. I got to work with him quite a bit this season, so that was so awesome.

Ethan Peck: Yes, I didn’t really get to work with too many other characters, but there were scenes that there were more characters in that I was included in, and it’s so exciting because I love everybody so much in this show and get along with all of them so well, and we’re all itching to have more scenes with each other, as Lindsey said, like with Nicholas, with Chris, or with Meaghan, and I’m hoping to see a lot more of that in hopes that we have more seasons to do.

You all seem pretty close. Can you give maybe a random fact about a few of your co-stars or each other?

Lindsey Shaw: Ethan listens to classical music in his trailer all day, every day.

Ethan Peck: No, I don’t.

Lindsey Shaw: Yes, you do.

Ethan Peck: Chris Zylka speaks Russian.

Lindsey Shaw: Meaghan bakes banana bread for people, for the crew, for her cast. She is a wonderful baker, and Nick is a great freestyle rapper.

Ethan Peck: Yes, he is.

Lindsey Shaw: Nick is amazing at throwing down a little verse.

If you had to sum up these ten episodes and tell people why they should watch, what would you say to them?

Lindsey Shaw: I think you should watch because you’re going to be more entertained by this than anything else that’s on Mondays… at 8:00pm… on ABC Family.

Ethan Peck: Nice.

Kat’s a real, like we mentioned, is a crusader, so what are you passionate about besides acting of course?

Lindsey Shaw: In the past year I’ve gotten really passionate about health and nutrition, actually. I recently became a pescatarian, which is somebody who only eats fish, and I’m kind of a crusader of my own in my own life, but I kind of watched Food Inc. and tried to push that on everybody that I knew. That’s become a big interest of mine, and recycling has always been something that I, I don’t know, I can’t stop it. My mom literally put it into me as a small child. She recycled everything, so I kind of have the neuroses, and I couldn’t stop even if I wanted to.

Ethan Peck: Yes, she has recycling parties.

Lindsey Shaw: No, I don’t make everybody else do it, but it’s always around my apartment.

And if we were to listen to your iPods or MP3s, what would we hear, either one of you?

Ethan Peck: You would hear a lot of different music. I listen to lots of stuff. I do like classical.

Lindsey Shaw: I said you have amazing taste in music.

Ethan Peck: Thanks, Lindsey. I love Ravel, I guess to begin with the classical. I like a lot of weirder ambielectronic music like Tim Hecker and probably a lot of stuff that maybe you wouldn’t have heard of. What about you, Lindsey?

Lindsey Shaw: Are you saying, “Lindsey, you’re more mainstream. You would like something relatable to the kids.” I’m much more basic. I’m a folksy person at heart really. I really like Ray Lamontagne and Band of Horses, a little Death Cab, all of the above. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs are amazing.

If you could guest star on any TV show besides your own, what would it be?

Lindsey Shaw: I would guest star on Nurse Jackie. I absolutely love that show, and Edie Falco is incredible, so absolutely. Ethan, what about you?

Ethan Peck: Well, if I watched TV, maybe 30 Rock.

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