The new 90210 series is nearly upon us with a whole new band of attractive people to entertain us. Chief among them is Dustin Milligan, who hails from the Great White North. And when I say “North,” I really mean it—Dustin grew up in the small town of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, way, way up in northern Canada.
Dustin has come a long way since his high school production of Grease and Saturday Night Fever, and this fall, he’ll be starring as Ethan Ward, the jock of West Beverly High School in 90210. Fans of Supernatural will also recognize him as Alan J. Corbett, the intern of Ed and Harry in the episode “Ghostfacers.” I was able to catch up with Dustin by phone and ask him all about his new series and about what it was like to guest star on Supernatural.
Below, you will find an audiofile as well as a complete transcript of the interview.
This is Debbie at BuddyTV, and today I’m talking to Dustin Milligan, who will star in the new 90210. The new 90210 is a spin-off and not a remake, so can you just give a quick background about what the new show is about?
Yeah. The new show, as you said, is not a remake, so there’s not going to be any new versions of the original characters or storylines. Some of the original characters are coming back, as well as a whole new cast of troublemakers. The story essentially focuses on the Wilson family. Rob Estes’ character graduated from West Beverly High back in the day and then moved to Kansas and then settled down and had a family and everything. And then, because his ailing, alcoholic mother, who is played by Jessica Walter, needs their help, needs someone to take care of her. So the whole family ups and moves back to Beverly Hills, and they all go to the high school where Harry Wilson, Rob Estes’ character, is the new principal.
You play Ethan Ward, who’s the jock. So what’s his story?
Ethan Ward, as you say, is the jock. I’m calling him the king of jocks, but that’s just because I’m into myself. He’s the star lacrosse player at the high school. He’s one-half of the golden couple at the high school, which is himself and Naomi Clark, played by AnnaLynne McCord. He’s kind of got this good thing going on, and then when the Wilson’s come into town, specifically, Annie Wilson, she kind of shakes things up and there’s some sparks there, thus creating a bit of a triangle.
Nice! So, I’ve read that the characters are all going to have different, complicated layers to them. Can you give us some hints about what sort of complicated stuff we’ll find out about Ethan?
Yeah, absolutely. Ethan is a big, stinky onion. And as you peel back those stinky layers, you see that he, although at first glance he’s almost like a Ken doll—he would be prom king, he’s the star athlete dating the hottest, bitchiest girl in school—but as we get deeper and deeper into his storyline, you realize that he’s got a lot going on other than his sports, and that, in fact, the sports is just what he’s doing now. And the reasons behind that have a lot to do with his family, his parents, and just sort of how he was raised and the things that he has experienced with them over the last few years, how things have changed. And this is an interesting thing, is that the Wilsons have come to visit their grandma, and so Annie Wilson and I actually knew each other from a couple of years back. There’s a bit of a history there as well. You see him having changed from when Annie had first met him to when she returns to the school. And then, you see as we get further into these episodes him changing even more and starting to think about who he really wants to be and how, maybe, life by default, just cruising through things is not necessarily the best choice for him. I think he starts being more active in his decisions. Yeah, like I said, he sort of starts to question the idea of everything being as perfect as it seems.
The show is being hyped as being much edgier than the original, so are you going to get to be involved in any really racy storylines?
Well, Ethan is a transsexual. [laughs] I think all of us will get our full share of edge and salacious activities. You know, it’s still going to have some wholesome, good family values in it, but I think we just live in an edgier time. I think kids are just doing more, sooner in general now. So just to reflect that, to be as realistic as possible, I think we’re going to have to definitely push the envelope a little bit, much as the original show did. And yeah, Ethan will certainly be a part of that.
Awesome, I’m looking forward to it.
Yeah, I’m really amped.
How is your high school experience different than the kids at West Beverly? I’m sure you must get this question a lot, but you grew up in a much different place, huh?
Much, much different. Well, I went to high school in an ice castle, and I had to dog-sled to school, and took all my classes while wearing a parka. No, I don’t know. High school for me was a lot of fun just because I sort of was able to bounce around to a lot of different groups and experience a lot of different things. I wasn’t ever nailed down just to one clique or anything like that. It’s kind of tough, being a fiercely northern Canadian boy and then coming down and having to play the all-American football star, although the sport is lacrosse. It’s definitely really, really different. I will say, though, that one thing Ethan and I have in common is that my girlfriends in high school were really, really hot and so are Ethan’s, apparently. A shoutout to all my ex-girlfriends: You guys are beautiful.
Cool. Good for you. What do you like most about being on the show now?
I think the coolest part about it—obviously, there’s a lot of hype and it’s pretty neat to be driving down any street in Hollywood and see a huge billboard of yourself—but I think, beyond that, the coolest part is just how well everyone is getting along, the cast and crew, and how much genuine fun we’re having every day when we come into work. You know, sometimes we’ll have a lot of crazy long hours and we’re working to six in the morning, but ultimately, we’re enjoying each other’s company and enjoying experiencing this crazy ride, this journey, together. I think that’s kind of rare to have a cast that gets along as well as we have so far, and I hope that that continues for every season that we have from now on.
My final question is about Supernatural because we over here at BuddyTV have a rabid Supernatural fanbase. You got to play the gay dead intern in “Ghostfacers.”
Poor gay dead intern Corbett. I know. I know.
How was it filming that? That was in Vancouver, so you didn’t have to travel too far to get to that.
I had heard a lot of really, really good things about, not only Jared [Padalecki] and Jensen [Ackles], but the entire crew at Supernatural. People said it was a lot of fun to work on. But being there in Vancouver for about five years, I had only auditioned a couple of times for it, but I had never booked a job. When this one came up, I freaked out, just because of the way we were shooting it. There was no crew. Like, they were outside our set on the stage, but we had 360 degree closed sets. So we were constantly alone on each set so it really helped to get into character a lot better. And then, the improvisation that we were allowed to do and the freedom that we had while shooting was an experience that I’ll never forget. I actually just was hanging out with Travis [Wester] and A.J. [Buckley] who played Ed and Harry yesterday.
Yeah, you know, that’s something too that, if possible in the future, I’d love to continue that storyline with Corbett and with the rest of those guys because, honestly, it was such a blast. Such a blast.
Right, and he’s a ghost now, so he can be brought back.
That’s just it. Now he can show up whenever convenient for plot and story. Exactly.
-Interview conducted by Debbie Chang
(Image courtesy of CW)