How’s this for a twist: when I contacted Hal Ozsan about an interview, I thought he’d be hazy on Dawson’s Creek memories and more than willing to share about his upcoming role on 90210. Turns out it was the opposite. Ozsan had plenty to say about playing the one and only Todd Carr but, despite my best efforts, remained incredibly vague on 90210. Well, 1 out of 2 ain’t bad!
TeenDramaWhore: Let’s start with Dawson’s Creek. Do you remember what attracted you to the role of Todd?
Hal Ozsan: The good stuff, the “juice” of acting, is getting to do and say things you’d never dream of doing and saying in normal, civilized company. But Todd, bless him, was shameless. Case in point… Todd, to Dawson [James Van Der Beek]: “You’re mom’s quite tasty, Leery. Mind if I have a go at her?” [Episode 6.10, Merry Mayhem] You think it, but you’d never say it. So, needless to say, that was one of the most enjoyable gigs I’ve ever had the pleasure of doing. Also, I think Todd was exec producer Tom Kapinos’ secret alter ego, his inner “Tyler Durden,” so he wrote the role with unbridled relish. Every Saturday I couldn’t wait to tear open the envelope with next week’s script in it just to see what asshole-y wonderousness was going to come out of Todd/Tom’s mouth. On the flipside, I think Tom got a kick out of what I was doing, so we’d just sort of feed each other’s shameless-inner-asshole, week after week. We created a monster. It was brilliant.
TDW: I think your accent is one of the reasons people found the character so charming, despite his flaws. Do you know if they were specifically looking for someone who had one?
Ozsan: That’s very nice of you to say. No. Quite the contrary. The day I went to the read for the role there were all sorts of different dudes in there, nearly every possible variation of age, color, ethnicity, sexuality etc. Actually, from what I’ve been told since then, Tom loved me for the role and was pretty much alone in that among the producers. Word has it he had to fight tooth and nail to cast me. I think the accent was more of a hindrance than a help. But it all worked out in the end…Todd was only supposed to be a one-off character in one episode at the top of season 5, but I ended up doing the role for 15 episodes over two seasons.
TDW: The character played on several Hollywood stereotypes. Did you draw your inspiration from anyone?
Ozsan: If I did, would I really admit to it?
TDW: Without getting too personal, did you have any problems with women associating you with Todd’s self-centered, horndog ways?
Ozsan: [Chuckles] Of course not. I think secretly, deep down, every girl loves a scoundrel, right? We’re infinitely more entertaining than some wet blanket that’s “in touch with his feelings.” C’mon, who would you rather shag, Han Solo or Luke Skywalker? Captain Jack Sparrow, or… whoever it is that Orlando Bloom plays in those movies? And besides, Todd was a mush underneath it all. What could be better than a scoundrel with a heart of gold, right?
TDW:Are you still in touch with the cast?
Ozsan: Usually, the life of an actor is not unlike that of a gypsy. You’re never in one place for too long before you have to pack up camp and move to god-knows-where at the drop of hat. So you sort of make your friendships on the fly as your shooting through town. But Dawson’s was one of those VERY rare exceptions to that rule for me. I made extraordinarily dear, life-long friends on that show. James is still one of my best mates to this day and we live right up the street from each other. Michelle [Williams, Jen] is and always will be profoundly dear to me, and I also still see the lovely Busy [Philipps, Audrey] and Kerr [Smith, Jack] from time to time too. Everyone on that set was “good people” as we say in my neck of the woods. No bad eggs.
TDW: What are you doing, if anything, to prepare for your role on 90210?
Ozsan: Hmmm…. I don’t know how to answer that question without giving anything away, so I’ll just be flippant and glib: learning my lines.
TDW: I know you can’t say much, but can you give us a little tease of when we’ll get to see you and what we can expect?
Ozsan: Again, hmmm…. Lot’s of very attractive people in very attractive clothing doing all sorts of scandalously delicious things. General enough for ya?
TDW: What other projects are you working on?
Ozsan: I have three films due out [this] year. Keep your eye out for Peach Plum Pear, a wonderful little independent film where I play one of the biggest douchebags in the history of my career; a thriller called Groupie; and a comedy called Head Over Spurs in Love where– in one particular scene– you’ll get to see me in nothing but a g-string and cowboy boots ( Warning: that’s even scarier than it sounds). 2009 was a really busy year for me so my immediate plans [were] to go back home to London, sleep off my exhaustion, eat a lot of really greasy pub food and hang out with my family. Then… back to L.A. to squeeze into a pair of skinny jeans in time for 90210.
TDW: You were in a pretty successful band for a few years. Any interest in going back to music in the future?
Ozsan: Music was my first love, and I was one of the very few teenagers with a Jim Morrison complex lucky enough to live out my teenage fantasies as a grown up: I got to be the opening band for several of my heroes, got the all-illusive record deal, toured America, heard my songs on the radio and played for two stadiums full of people. So I’m a happy camper. But, sad to say, the music industry is not the place I thought it was. I turned right around and left that party the moment I got through the door…I have no plans on going back in. I love film and TV and I am thrilled with every minute of what I’m doing now. But thanks for asking, that was sweet.
Since there’s no episode of One Tree Hill tomorrow night, come back for a very fun exclusive OTH interview!