Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Q&A with Rex Lee - spills about ABC Family's new comedy "Young & Hungry"

TONIGHT at 8/7c you'll be able to get a look at ABC Family's NEW comedy Young & Hungry! To give you a idea of what you'll be in store for we were able to have a little sit down with actor Rex Lee.

On the new ABC Family comedy Rex Lee plays the high-strung character Elliot who is Josh’s publicist and right-hand-man. He oversees the hiring of Josh’s personal chef. Elliot would much prefer a famous chef for the job and is unimpressed by Gabi and her resume. He makes no secret of his disdain for Gabi.

Rex Lee is best known for playing the character of Lloyd, the engaging and extremely funny assistant to Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven), on HBO’s Entourage. When Lee landed the role, it was a four-episode arc. His portrayal of Lloyd was so well received that the role was expanded, and he was added as a series regular for eight seasons. Rex’s performance won him the 2007 and 2008 Asian Excellence Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in Television and the “KoreAm” Achievement in Entertainment Award in 2007. Most recently, Rex was a regular on the first two seasons of ABC’s comedy series Suburgatory, in which he portrayed Mr. Wolfe, the clueless guidance counselor. Here's an excerpt of our conversation.

Q: How was your character, Elliot Park, originally described to you?

Rex: David Holden [Executive Producer and Series Writer] was on the phone with me and he explained a little bit of the back story for the character, which had to do with other members of his family, who we have not met in the series at all. He explained how my character grew up with all these brothers and what happened to them and how that influenced his style of moving into the realm of Josh Kaminski [played by Jonathan Sadowski]. My character, Elliot, likes to be in control. I’m not going to say he’s controlling; I’m not going to say he’s a control freak, but he likes to rule the roost.

Q: Was there anything that you added to him that wasn't originally scripted for you?

Rex: I think any time that you’re called upon to perform a role, you bring things about yourself to the role that aren’t necessarily there in the writing. So I can’t say that I deliberately made this character like myself.

Sometimes when I go out in the world and people recognize me from work I’ve done, they’re always a little bit surprised that I look and sound like the characters I’ve played. I sort of have to say, “But I’m me and I look like me, and I don’t usually alter my voice to play characters, although maybe in the future I will.” But up until now, I’ve pretty much just used my voice, so I always look and sound like the characters I play. The characters end up being similar to me in a way that I might not have intended in the beginning.

Q: Could you describe the relationship between your character Elliot and Gabi [played by Emily Osment]?

Rex: Their relationship is definitely evolving. The thing about Elliot is he is not a monster, he has a heart. Therefore, the fact that his perspective of Gabi is that she doesn’t always have it together, I think that he often has compassion for her. I certainly think that Elliot is a person who thinks that as long as you can take his guff, he’s going to give you his guff. Any time that she’s feeling good, he’s probably going to be razzing her a little bit.

Q: Will we see your character dating on Young & Hungry like we did with your character on Suburgatory?

Rex: Yes! I will admit that my character has not had a love interest in any of the episodes we’ve filmed so far, but I’m certainly hopeful that in the future Elliot will have a love interest. I’m really hopeful about that for sure.

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Q: What’s it like working with Emily Osment?

Rex: It’s great! I might have been living under a rock because I had never seen an episode of Hannah Montana even though I've heard of the show, so I didn't really know who Emily was. When they told me she was the lead of the show, I had to look her up and find pictures and figure out what work she’d done [laughs]. It turned out that I had seen part of a film she’d done called Dadnapped. She played the daughter of the mystery writer, so I had seen part of that.

As we got to working, I thought this young woman is someone I can learn a lot from. She’s just such a pro at such a young age, and I have to say that she really surprises me all the time. Sometimes I’ll be watching a scene that’s populated by other actors and I’ll think that actor really missed a joke there, and I’ll say to myself “how would I have delivered that line?” Every time I’m watching Emily at her work, she’s always doing and saying things in a way that’s completely surprising to me and is really delightful as a surprise. I never really worry about her, even though I’m constantly thinking “it’s really not how I would have delivered that line at all.” I’ll also think that she delivered it in a better way than I ever would. I just think she’s amazing and I have so much to learn!

Q: Are there any character traits that you share with Elliot?

Rex: I don’t like to admit this at all, because I think it’s a character flaw of mine, but I think to the extent that Elliot goes out into the world and has judgments about other people, I can relate to that. I’m not proud of it, but I can relate to that. I think that Elliot certainly has a desire for the world around him to be orderly and clean, everything right in its place, and I am like that. The hilarious thing as I’m looking around my place right now and if I just have order in things, I would be lost; I’m a slob that wishes everything around me was neat!

Watch the series premiere of Young & Hungry, Wednesday, June 25 at 9/8c, followed by the summer premiere of Mystery Girls, only on ABC Family!

In "Young & Hungry," two worlds collide when Josh (Jonathan Sadowski Sadowski), a wealthy young tech entrepreneur, meets Gabi (Emily Osment), a feisty young food blogger, looking to be his personal chef. Gabi is desperate for the job and must prove herself, mostly to Josh's aide ( Rex Lee), who prefers a famous chef for the job. When Josh enlists Gabi to prepare a romantic meal for him and his girlfriend, the dinner goes awry and Gabi finds herself in a very awkward position. With the help of her best friend Sofia (Aimee Carrero) and Josh's housekeeper (Kym Whitley), Gabi turns a difficult situation into an opportunity for employment and maybe even love.

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