FAULT – How To Get Away With Murder first appeared on our screens in 2014 and is to this day one of America’s most progressive and expertly written television dramas. Oscar award winning actress, Viola Davis stars as the powerful, female, African-American lawyer without a defined sexuality nor reason to explain one. As an African American female actress, she will no-doubt have faced similar prejudices to that of the character she plays; however the same can not be said for the whole cast. Enter, Jack Falahee. Despite years of training at prestigious acting schools, it was the role of a homosexual college student, Connor Walsh that would provide Jack with a clear and untilfiltered glimpse into the LGBTQ community. It’s a credit to Jack’s skills as an actor, that Connor’s character and his sometimes turbulent relationship with his HIV-positive boyfriend have created strong discussions within and outside of the LGBTQ community. With that in mind, I sat down with Jack to find out what the character that means so much to so many different people – means to him.
You’ve got an impressive resume – you’ve studied so many different acting methods, what is it about television and the screen that mean you’ve gone down that route?
When I was at NYU I was originally admitted to study musical theatre but when I started hanging out with kids who had grown up with ballet classes and vocal coaches, I quickly realised I was a bit out of my depths. If I felt that way in a class of forty students, then going to an open audition for a broadway show was going to be a nightmare; and it was and I was cut very quickly.
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VARIETY – Jack Falahee is best known for playing Connor Walsh, the smart and arrogant law student on ABC’s “How to Get Away With Murder.” Starting Jan. 17, he can be seen in a far different guise — as a Confederate spy on the PBS miniseries “Mercy Street.”
What drew you to “Mercy Street”?
It takes place during the Civil War, in Alexandria, Va., and the writers and creative team have done an incredible job of sewing together what it really was like. I play Frank Stringfellow, who was a real person. He wanted to fight for God and Virginia and his country. When we were down there, the Charleston church shooting happened, and it made me think that it’s an ongoing struggle that our country still hasn’t reckoned with.
Is working on a period piece more difficult than working on a show in the modern age?
For me, it is almost easier. You have to put on your uniform and you talk in a foreign accent and you’re on a horse and you’re shooting guns. It almost feels more real than when I get in my Prius and drive to Hollywood. Maybe because the horse does half the acting.
What’s it like working alongside Viola Davis?
She’s an idol of mine. When I was at NYU, I saw “Fences” on Broadway with her and Denzel (Washington). Flash-forward a year and a half, and I’m sitting at a table read for “How to Get Away With Murder.” You’re only as good as No. 1 on the call sheet, and she’s been a really fantastic leader.
Is it ever difficult to keep the twists and surprises a secret?
My mom is the one who really presses me for information. That’s the biggest burden I have — withholding secrets from my mother.