Jack Falahee opens up about starring alongside Viola Davis in ABC's hit show How to Get Away With Murder, set at fictional Philadelphia law school Middleton University.
What does it feel like to star alongside an Oscar-nominated actress in a show produced by the queen of prime-time television drama? Ask Jack Falahee. In Shonda Rhimes' How to Get Away With Murder, Falahee plays Connor Walsh, a go-getter law student who scores an internship at a renowned criminal law practice headed by his own professor, played by Viola Davis. Here, we chat with the actor about his role, his first audition, and the funniest person on set (plus, he tells us how he would get away with murder).
How did you land your role on How to Get Away With Murder? JACK FALAHEE: I auditioned for [it] during pilot season in 2014. A friend of mine, also an actor who was staying with me at the time, first got the script and suggested that I try and land an audition for the role of Connor. The audition was very laid back. I had only recently moved to LA from New York and was readjusting to driving. A few weeks prior to my audition, a driver ran a red light and hit my car head on. My car was almost totaled and thus began my hatred for driving in LA.
JF: Somehow this came up in the audition room and Peter [Nowalk, the show's creator], Betsy [Beers, an executive producer], and I swapped driving horror stories. We were all laughing and joking around and I thought to myself, I wonder when I'm going to do the scene. We eventually got around to it. I was a ball of anxiety for days after that.
Tell us about your character, Connor Walsh.
JF: In law school jargon, Connor is a "gunner." He vies for the attention of Annalise [played by Viola Davis], his peers, and superiors. Connor cares greatly what others think of him, I think. He's quite smart and a bit cunning. I find myself similar to Connor in that we both are passionate about our careers. We are both driven and competitive.
You have the chance to work with one of the industry's greatest, Viola Davis. How does that feel?
JF: When I was in theater school in New York, I saw Viola perform on stage in Fences opposite Denzel Washington. Just a few weeks ago, Mr. Washington came by the Murder set to pay a visit to Viola and I sort of sat in my cast chair in disbelief, remembering how it felt to sit in the Cort Theater and watch them both perform on stage. I've always been such a fan of Viola and it seems almost fantastical that I'm working alongside her now. She's quite maternal on set. She always has a watchful eye on us and likes to joke around with the lot of us. She's always the first to crack a joke after a serious scene, which I think is helpful.
Speaking of cracking a joke... Any funny stories from the set?
JF: I hope they put together a gag reel because there are dozens of scenes where the Keating 5 just break down laughing in the midst of something entirely dramatic. It's very difficult to keep a straight face when acting opposite Matt McGorry, in particular. His performance as Asher is simply hilarious.
The golden question: Will we ever figure out who committed the murder? Are things finally going to start clicking?
JF: Yes, you will. You will know in episode 9 [airing this Thursday] who kills Sam. In that episode, our two timelines converge. The rest of the season will deal with the fallout surrounding Sam's murder and the continuation of the Lila Stangard case.
Lastly, how would you get away with murder?
JF: I'd jump on the closest boat, become a sailor, and change my name to Jasper.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY LESLIE HASSLER PHOTOGRAPHY (FALAHEE); NICOLE RIVELLI/DISNEY ABC TELEVISION GROUP (FOREST); MITCH HAASETH/DISNEY ABC TELEVISION GROUP (OFFICE)