Playing a streetwise Philly native on Shonda Rhimes’s new show, Charlie Weber is ready for his turn in the spotlight.
Charlie Weber summons a Philly state of mind on this fall’s How to Get Away With Murder.
It’s no secret that Executive Producer Shonda Rhimes has an eye for television talent. Under her careful tutelage, everyone from Patrick Dempsey (Grey’s Anatomy) to Kerry Washington (Scandal) has become a household name. And with her new legal drama, How to Get Away With Murder, Rhimes is about to crown a new royal: Charlie Weber. The handsome Midwesterner plays the scrappy Frank Delfino, an associate attorney who works under Viola Davis’s character, Annalise Keating, at their law firm in Philadelphia. “Frank is a Philly street guy made good, so to speak,” Weber says. “He lives in a gray area of right and wrong—lives his life his own way—and also has an affinity for the young girls in the class that they teach [at fictional Middleton University],” he adds with a grin.
The series, which shot its pilot and takes place in Philadelphia, was a project that Weber was passionate about from the start. “I loved the script. It was a character I really, really responded to. I poured myself into the audition,” he says. While the rest of the series is being filmed in LA, “I’m happy we got to shoot the pilot [in Philly],” the actor says. “We really tried to capture the energy of the city.” As for working with such a successful executive producer as Rhimes, Weber is still in a bit of awe: “Running one show seems impossible, and she has three,” he says. “It’s really impressive to watch.”
While it would be hard to ignore Rhimes’s reputation for minting A-listers, Weber prefers not to focus on the future. “If you’re doing television and you end up on a Shonda Rhimes show, that’s about as good as it gets,” he says. “You try not to step back and dwell on it. You’re on her show for a reason: because she’s seen something in you. You appreciate that and try to do the absolute best you can.”
So it’s not surprising that his dedication to the project didn’t stop once he was cast: At the time of this interview, Weber had just returned from a fact-finding trip to Philadelphia to learn to better embody Delfino. “He’s a guy who’s been kicking around Philly his whole life, so I’d like to spend as much time as possible doing just that—walking around, popping into a bar for a quick beer, going to a baseball game, just enjoying the people,” he says. “It’s not work in a lot of ways because it’s fun to do that. It’s a pleasure, but it also serves a purpose.”