A Conversation with “Gossip Girl’s” Aaron Tveit

Source: Morning, Wood!
Date: 2009 March 31
By: Woody Tondorf

We here at Morning, Wood! were lucky enough to catch up with Aaron Tveit, the actor playing Nate’s cousin, Tripp Vanderbilt, and a heckuva nice guy. We all owe Aaron a great debt for showing us all that Chace Crawford can, when given the opportunity, give Nate relevance and life. Act accordingly.

All your desperate questions answered after the jump.

M,W!: So you’ve been on a show where a helicopter lands. I feel like that now qualifies you for a role on “24.” Discuss.
I thought the helicopter was a work of genius in the script. I think it really came off well in the episode, but the only problem was, it was so cold the day we shot and it blew so much snow at us when it landed… every single take. I tried to get them to let me jump out of it but they would go for it for some reason… something about “insurance” or whatever that means.

M,W!: You get to lay out Nate Archibald. Did you have just a little bit of a desire to yell out, “Crabcakes and football! That’s what Maryland does!”
I have been telling all my friends since I read the script “it’s the exact scene from Wedding Crashers. And I repeated yelling the “crabcakes and football” at everyone between takes… I’m very method. 

M,W!: Jessica Szohr: absurdly good looking, good looking, or sublime?
 Absurdly good looking and her level of coolness exceeds the level of hotness.

M,W!: We saw some good acting from Chace Crawford! Clearly you’re the Chosen One! How were your scenes? Did you offer him advice?
 Chace was so great to work with, and a regular dude, we hit it off right away. And he is a very dedicated actor! I was really impressed with his preparation on set, and the questions he asked the director and how serious he took his job! Our scenes were so easy and I love how they came off. 
M,W!: So the Vanderbilt’s are a political powerhouse. Which is your family dynasty of choice: Kennedys or Rockefellers?
 Gotta go with the Kennedys, yeah there was some tragedy, but I have two words: Marilyn Monroe.
M,W!: You’ve been in Next to Normal, Wicked, and Hairspray. How is it going from stage to TV set?
It’s completely different being on set. The days start very early and go very long. And the actual time spent “acting” or being on camera is so small. So the difference is you need to be able to wait around all day then nail the scene when its time, and that could be hours after you have rehearsed or gotten ready. But it’s similar in the regard that you need to be able to think on your feet and try different things with no notice. It’s been so great to be able to live in both worlds a bit. Theatre and on-camera that is.
M,W!: Did you watch “Gossip Girl” before your appearance? What have you enjoyed? Disliked? Who’s your favorite character?
 I have to admit, before I got cast I had only seen the pilot and maybe one or two more episodes. But I did catch myself up this season before working on the show. I think it’s a great show that fills a specific need in television. As “The OC” did, which I was a fan! I have to say Chuck is my favorite character on the show. He is such a badass, and I love seeing as much of him as possible!
M,W!: Did you get to drive the Maserati? Isn’t a Maz in NYC kinda like a gold jetpack in a birdcage?
 Hahaha! [ed. note: he really did think that was funny. Shut up.] I didn’t get to drive it, they were pretty strict about that. They even took the keys out. They must have seen that look in my eye. But I did get to sit in it. And it was nice to relax in when it was so cold out (said helicopter scene above). So it was a bit of an overly nice warming tent for me.
M,W!: It seems that no matter what Nate does, he’s always being led around by others. Tripp looked a little peeved when Grand dad called Nate up to talk about the internship. Think we’ll be seeing a power struggle in the future?
 Nate is an impressionable young man. And I was a little peeved about things that were happening. But you are gonna have to stay tuned to find out exactly what, and why!
M,W!: Why do you think “Gossip Girl” is so popular right now?
 I think like any great television, or entertainment medium, we need to be transported somewhere. And this show does a great job looking into the lives of these fictional characters, who are, mostly, beyond what we see on a daily basis.
M,W!: Leighton Meester and Blake Lively. Cage Match. No weapons. Two enter, one leaves. I feel like Blake’s got Leighton on reach and  power, but Leighton’s got fight and grit. Who’s getting out of there  alive?
 I have to go out on a limb and say Leighton. She is a firey beast. And I mean that in the most sexy, endearing way possible. I think she walks out of that house unscathed. And the house probably blows up as she walks away in slow motion… like a rap video.
M,W!: Would you rather: be groomed for high-powered politics or trained since birth to be a super athlete a la Tiger Woods?
 Definitely groomed for sports. Hands down. No contest. I played sports my whole life growing up. And it took me a long time to come to grips with the fact that I was NOT going to be a major league baseball player. So to think of actually being a professional athlete?! That’s the ticket.

M,W!: Where can we catch Aaron Tveit next?
 I am starting previews tonight for Next to Normal on Broadway! An awesome new rock musical opening this spring! I have been working on a film called Howl, opposite James Franco, about Allen Ginsberg’s Poem, Howl. And this summer I head to Seattle to play Frank Abagnale in the world premiere of Catch Me If You Can, a musical based on the movie of the same name!