'The Bold Type' Interview: Dan Jeannotte Says 'It's Her Story, Not His'
'The Bold Type' Interview: Dan Jeannotte Says 'It's Her Story, Not His'
Randa Kriss
Randa Kriss
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
Determined, independent and powerful women. That is what Freeform's new series The Bold Type is all about. But what's it like being the "eye candy," one of the men of The Bold Type? That's what I sought to learn in talking to Dan Jeannotte, who plays Ryan, "the Pinstripe guy," and Jane's love interest on the show. What did Jeannotte have to say about Jane and Ryan's relationship? Well, we'll be seeing more of Ryan and Jane will have to figure out exactly what she wants from "the Pinstripe guy." And most importantly, as he reminded me: "I know, and you know: it's her story, not his."

BuddyTV: What attracted you to the role of Ryan? How is this role different than others that you've played?

Dan Jeannotte: What I liked about the script was that it presented Ryan as a potential love interest for Jane, but without too much focus on the outcome. That's one of the refreshing things about The Bold Type: romance and sex are framed as worthwhile things to strive for, but they're definitely not the only things in life, nor the most important things. To Jane -- at least at first -- Ryan is just a guy. He's an interesting guy, an attractive one maybe, but he's not important enough to rearrange her life around. She's got bigger things going on than just dating! I love that; I find it a refreshing and important angle that you don't see enough on television.

The character himself is great fun to play because he's a confident, direct guy. He's usually pretty straightforward about what he wants and he ends up saying some things that really throw Jane for a loop. When I first read the Jane/Ryan scenes, I really liked how he was getting under her skin and enjoying it. Their banter in those first few elevator scenes really drew me in. It was that type of classic repartee, teasing and antagonism that are covering up serious sparks between these two.

The role of Ryan (or Pinstripe Guy, as he appears in the scripts) is pretty different than roles I've played lately, and that's got a lot to do with the tone of the show. I've been in period dramas (as James Stuart, Earl of Moray, half-brother to Mary Queen of Scots, in Reign), family shows (Hallmark's The Good Witch, playing small-town cop Brandon Russell) and motion-capture video games (as Arno Dorian, the player character in Assassin's Creed: Unity)... all projects that have a specific and unique vibe to them. The Bold Type has its own snappy, contemporary style. For one thing, it's nice to play a modern-day dude who speaks without an accent! It's also really exciting to be part of a show that deals with very current issues, while at the same time remaining funny. I've got a background in improv and sketch comedy... I've actually been working with my troupe, Uncalled For, for over 15 years. So it's nice to be back in the business of making people laugh, while at the same time being grounded by these well-drawn, realistic characters.

Already in the episodes of the show that we've seen, the characters have dealt with some really tough and relevant issues. What do you think the show is trying to tell its audience?

There are a lot of issues being discussed in the show, and there are different points being made within those discussions... But if there's an overarching theme to the show, I think it's something like this: young people are being thrust into a messy, confusing, difficult world but they are absolutely capable of handling it and succeeding within it! This show wants you to know that it's okay to be scared and make mistakes, but with determination, some positivity and the support of good people around you, you can kick ass at life.

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And that's a related message that the show is trying to get across: young people -- and young women in particular -- are strong, capable and deserving of respect. It's crazy that "respect for young women" is a message that even needs to be articulated, but it does, and this show is trying to do that.

What is it like working with the cast of The Bold Type? Who is the funniest cast member on set?

You never know what it'll be like, jumping into a new job with a bunch of strangers, let alone a bunch of strange actors! But thank goodness the cast of The Bold Type are some genuinely good people. There's a really nice atmosphere on set and I felt very welcomed by the rest of the cast. What struck me, in particular, was the actual real-life friendship between the three main women. Katie, Aisha and Meghann are actually friends! They hang out together off-set, text each other all the time and love each other for real. How awesome is that? I think it really comes across in the show itself; their characters' friendship is the heart of the show, and you can feel the genuine connection between them.

As for who the funniest cast member is, well... I spent all my working days with Katie, so I guess she wins by default? I'm kidding, she actually is very funny. And then the other two show up and they're super funny too. Aisha is wacky, very left-field humor, which I totally appreciate. Meghann is really sharp and sarcastic, which I love. Such funny women! Someone should put the three of them in a show together!

What's been your favorite scene to film so far?

From the episodes that have already aired, it would probably be the first "date" that Ryan and Jane have at his apartment. It's a playful and flirty scene. I felt when we shot it that Katie and I were kind of hitting our stride and finding our groove together, which is a great feeling as an actor.

But my absolute favorite scenes to shoot were from a later episode, towards the end of the season. Without giving too much away, let's just say that those scenes involve Jane, Sutton, Alex, Ryan, some drinking, some dancing and some truth-telling. I can remember being on set at 3 in the morning, well into "the giggling hour," trying to film the last shot of the night and everyone having a very hard time keeping a straight face. Those ridiculous moments really stay with you!

The show follows Jane, Sutton, and Kat trying to live out their dreams. Do you have any advice for young people trying to do the same?

Don't be afraid to fail. You won't get anywhere interesting by playing it safe. You have to be ready and willing to mess up, to make a fool of yourself... in your relationships, in your work, wherever. And if you fail, so you fail. You get back up, you admit your mistakes, you learn from them and you press on; only you're stronger and less scared of failing than you were before.

Also, save up some money! Just a little. This may seem like it contradicts "don't play it safe" but it's actually about giving yourself the space and freedom you need to take risks. You don't want to feel forced to stay in a terrible job or a toxic roommate situation just because you've got no money to move on.

Can you give us any hints on what the rest of the season will be like? Will we be seeing a lot more of Ryan this season?

I can tell you this: the women of The Bold Type are going to go through a lot more before the end of the season. Hilarious moments, ass-kicking moments and heartbreaking moments. Yes, we'll see more of Ryan, and I think it'll be interesting for viewers to watch Jane figure out what she wants from "Pinstripe Guy." But I know, and you know: it's her story, not his. The Bold Type is all about celebrating these awesome, flawed, relatable women. I'm just the eye candy. 

The Bold Type airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on Freeform. Want more news? Like our Bold Type Facebook page.

(Image by David Leyes, courtesy of Dan Jeannotte)