Devon Gummersall, currently appearing in the Lifetime original series State of Mind, has had a long career for an actor who hasn’t even turned 30. Fans may remember him as nerdy Brian Krakow on My So-Called Life or as bad boy Sean De Luca on Roswell. Now appearing in more adult roles, Gummersall spoke to BuddyTV about his newest show, his guest role on the sixth season of 24 and his love of HBO.
Below you will find a written transcript of the interview as well as the full mp3 audio/
Hi, this is John from Buddy TV, and today we’re talking with actor Devon Gummersall from the new Lifetime original series State of Mind. Hello Devon!
Hey, how’re you doing?
I’m doing okay, how are you?
Outstanding. Why don’t you start by telling our readers a little bit about your new show?
Well, it’s a show that is created by novelist and therapist Amy Bloom, and I think this is the first show about therapists that’s actually written by a therapist. So it has a level of authenticity in it, I think, a new kind of insight into what it’s like to be a therapist, and yeah, what it’s about. It’s kind of a lighthearted, sort of comedic, but also has dark moments drama.
And what was it that first attracted you to this show?
Well you know, the writing was just really great. And you know, as an actor it’s been said before, but it definitely can’t be overstated how important the writing is, and how rare it is to find writing on this level – it’s just that good. I just loved the script and then I also really loved the character of Barry White. I love the idea that I’m this lawyer who’s kind of stuck for better or for worse in this small office building with a bunch of therapists, and I thought that was an interesting premise. And it’s definitely proved to be fun and to be an interesting sort of setting for a lot of different stories.
You mentioned your character named Barry White, how do you think your character will stack up against the actual Barry White
I think it’s pretty tough. I think I’d be, my character would be no match for the great Barry White. But you know, it’s funny to play a character who has a name that has a little bit of burden, in the sense that you get made fun of all the time.
Now I actually watched the premiere, and I would say it was very, it was an interesting show. It was definitely a different kind of show than I was even expecting going into it. And the thing I’m amazed at is when I saw you on the screen, I thought, ‘This cannot possibly be the same actor from My So-Called Life all those years back.’
Yeah, well, you know it’s been a long time. And definitely, you know, I’ve changed a lot mentally and physically and in all ways. It’s exciting to be playing an adult role and a role that is, you know, just about a person who is making his way in the world and sort of starting out as a lawyer.
You know, it really takes a long time to make the transition from playing teenage roles, then to college roles. Then after college is sort of a strange period where, you know, it’s kind of an in-between stage. Where you’re not quite a young professional age yet, but you’re also just kind of out of college, and just sort of in that in-between zone. So it kind of takes a while, you know. It’s a tough transition to make as an actor, but you know I’m happy with the way things have gone, and I’m really excited to sort of start a new chapter in my career with this role. You know, just being really truly the first time I’ve played a young professional. Someone who goes to the office in a suit and tie, and that whole thing is new to me as an actor. I’m really finding it to be an interesting new chapter, and like I said, it’s difficult to get to that stage, because there’s just a lot of different little stages there as you grow up on camera and all that. But like I said, I’m pretty happy with how it’s gone so far.
Yeah, I would definitely have to agree. You’ve done a very good job, a lot of new actors would probably get lost in that shuffle and don’t make that transition very well. But throughout your career you’ve been on a lot of very popular shows, a lot of roles that evolved, and one of them I’d like to talk about is, it’s a popular show. You were actually on the show 24, and I was wondering what was the experience getting roughed up by Jack Bauer like?
Yeah, it was a great experience. You know, 24 is one of my favorite shows, and so getting to be on it was very exciting. Yeah, it’s definitely an intense project and it’s an intense set, and working with Kiefer [Sutherland] is great. He’s very much in-character and he’s definitely an intimidating guy, just like Jack is. So it’s easy, you know.
Yeah, and I was just wondering, ’cause if people don’t remember your episode, it was just one of the most, kind of, one of the more controversial last season. Where your character was helping the terrorists and your brother was developmentally disabled. I’m just wondering, when you first read the script, did you think that this was a different kind of episode of 24?
Yeah, I did. I thought that it was a little bit outside of their norms, and I like this sort of darkness with this character. Where he was, you know, my character was helping the terrorists, but in a way he kind of was just a normal guy who was in over his head, and was, you know, trying to find a way to sort of support his brother, and just, you know, things had gotten out of hand. And you know, obviously he was a bad guy in that, but he also had another spot to him where you kind of, you sort of felt sorry for him to some degree. So I thought that was kind of an interesting character, because it had a lot of different layers going on, but yeah, it was… I thought it was interesting.
And actually, it’s funny with 24. You know, things change so quickly that when you first read it, by the time you get to the set a lot of times things have kind of flipped around and changed a lot, and that’s always kind of interesting too. I mean in my case, the character in this episode, my character in the initial script was the one who went outside and sort of helped Jack get to Gredenko, you know, the Russian terrorists. And then in the end version it ended up being my brother went out there, so kind of a different spin on it.
But I liked the way they took it to that level, made it kind of even more interesting that it was the brother who got put in harm’s way instead of my character, who’s actually the one who was responsible. Kind of made it a very difficult situation, but yeah, it was great experience working on it. And Kiefer is, you know, he’s a great actor. He’s very intense and very passionate about the project, which I think is impressive. He’s been doing it for a long time, but he’s still 100% committed and prepared and just passionate about it
Other than 24, I guess, are there any other current TV shows that you would love to get a role on?
Man, I’m thinking my new favorite television show is Flight of the Conchords. I just love that show, I think it’s just so brilliant and funny. I love the musical numbers and stuff and the, like, cheesy bits, sort of music videos. I would love to be on that show. I’m also a big fan of Big Love, I think that’s a great show. But I don’t know exactly where I would fit into that, but you know, that’s definitely one of my favorites. And then Curb Your Enthusiasm, it’s also pretty special.
So you’re an HBO fan, I take it?
Definitely an HBO fan, yeah. As far as network stuff I like, 24 is one of my favorites and I was really happy to be on that. But yeah, I think my number one favorite right now would be Flight of the Conchords.
And then my final question is just, do you have any upcoming film or other TV projects after State of Mind?
Yeah, there’s two things I’m working on. One is an independent movie called Broken Windows that I’m really excited about, and I think it should be done probably in the next couple of months, and they’ll be submitting it to festivals, and hopefully we’ll be in one of the good ones, you know, we’re just hoping for one of the big ones. But I’m excited about that. It’s an ensemble piece, and it’s just a really good character-driven drama that’s from a first-time filmmaker named Tony Hickman. That was a great experience, I’m excited about that.
I’m also working as a writer on a show called Quarterlife which is going to be coming out sometime in the fall, and they haven’t really announced the details yet, but its gonna be coming out sometime in the fall, and it’s from Ed Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz, whom I have worked with a lot throughout my career. They’re from My So-Called Life and Thirtysomething and Once and Again. So I’m actually working on that not as an actor but as a writer, so that’s been really exciting as well. And there’ll be more details to follow about that, but as of yet we haven’t really announced it.
Is it a primetime major network, or…?
Well at this point, it’s actually going to be premiering on the Internet. But I’m not sure where exactly, what the details are, so I’m kind of writing it blind. They filmed the pilot and that’s all done, but there hasn’t been any sort of official deal yet. They’re still kind of negotiating and haven’t released any details, but they’re already working on more episodes.
That’s definitely a good team to get involved with, their work…
They’re the best in the business. I think as far as, you know, writing for television, I think they’re right up there, and it’s really been… not even just for television but for any medium, ’cause they’re really, an honor and a pleasure to work with them. I’m excited about, sort of, it’s a great place to start as a writer, to have those guys as mentors. I’m excited about it.
Okay, well, thank you very much for talking to us, Devon!
Alright, well, thanks for having me and good luck with everything on the website. Like I said, it’s a great place for people to go, and I think it’s cool. It’s one of the only places I’ve seen where you can go and have access to all your favorite shows, you know, you don’t have to just go to one network website. It’s nice, and a great thing.
Thank you very much!
Alright man, take care!
-Interview conducted by John Kubicek, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image courtesy of Lifetime)