Aaron Tveit Opens Up About Transitioning from Broadway to “Graceland”

Source: Just Jared
Date: June 6, 2013

JustJared: You have a background in theatre, film, and you’ve even done a little TV here and there. What made you want to do “Graceland” and why TV now?

Aaron Tveit: I’m happy to be doing a drama, even though it’s a lighter drama. It’s kind of the stuff that I watch, frankly. I’m a big hour-long drama television watcher. When we really got into the teeth of it, I thought that this is a show that I would like to watch. So that was a big sign for me. It’s been great.

I never did pilot season because I was never available. I did “Gossip Girl” and I did guest spots in New York, which was great because I feel like really got to cut my teeth with those guest spots in New York. But after Catch Me If You Can, it was the first time I’ve been completely available. I didn’t have another show development on stage. I didn’t have a plan that television was going to be next. It might sound cheesy, but I said whatever I read that was great, that was what I was going to go for. At the time, I was auditioning for Les Mis and I also read the “Graceland” pilot. I liked the pilot because, different from Tripp Vanderbilt, I thought Mike was a really good guy who had good intentions. No matter what, he was going to go at everything in a positive way. I liked that off the bat. I thought it was different and I hadn’t done that yet. But then also that it was going to shoot on the beach. And I was just really drawn to the writing. I got this and found out I got Les Mis two days later, so that was crazy. I was really exciting.

JJ: Tell us more about your character, Mike.

AT: Mike is a great guy, a really smart guy, but I see some bad stuff. I thought it was going to be very interesting how I’m changed. Especially my relationship with Daniel [Sunjata]’s character. I feel like they are very similar, but they’re each on one side of right and wrong. I thought it was going to be neat to see how each of us would be affected by each other. It’s a great part.

JJ: You surf in the pilot. Had you ever done that prior to filming?

AT: I only surfed once before the pilot, but it was perfect because I was supposed to be terrible at surfing. They were like, “You think you can go out there and fall and make it look good?” I was like, “Got it. No acting at all.” It was great.

JJ: There are ads for this show, literally, all over New York City. That has to be pretty surreal.

AT: The other day, I was getting on the subway and I had my headphones on and I was standing in front of one of them and didn’t notice it. I was like, “Oh! OK, move down a little bit.” [laughs] And the double-decker buses wrapped in them is pretty insane.

JJ: What can you tell us about the rest of the season?

AT: As an undercover agent, I have these things that I know are right and there’s a way to do it. But for instance, I get in this long undercover operation. And to get the big picture, you need to be OK with all these little things going on. So that’s what gets tested. The morality of being an undercover agent comes up later on because I particularly witness a lot that I basically let happen to get to the big picture. So basically, what makes me different than the criminal that I’m investigating? So I think that’s a big question for me as the season goes on. I’ve always wanted to be an FBI agent. I really get a sense of what that is, and then I have to make a choice of whether or not I’m OK with that. Because you really need to let a lot of stuff go. There’s a lot of gray area.