Exclusive: Dare’s Zach Gilford Is the Anti-Brody Jenner


Photo: Nate “Igor” Smith, drivenbyboredom.com

Over the weekend, Flavorwire correspondent Bess Devenow enjoyed a brief respite from the pomp and circumstance of Sundance by catching up with an old friend from summer camp… who just happens to portray the most endearing quarterback on the small screen. In fact, Zach Gilford of Friday Night Lights — in Park City promoting a big-screen high school drama, Dare — might just defy all of the most common stereotypes of a Hollywood heartthrob.

Stereotype 1: Easily distracted by bold-faced bombshells

Conflicting Evidence: When one of today’s most well-known beauties sat down mere inches from us, Gilford didn’t even bat an eye.

Stereotype 2: Confuses Sundance with a designer label convention

Conflicting Evidence: A comfortable orange jacket, a simple blue hoodie, khakis and practical boots.

Stereotype 3: Travels with an entourage bigger than the Brangelina clan

Conflicting Evidence: It was just him and his publicist. Apparently he gave his umbrella holder, shoe shiner and personal spray tanning guru the week off.

If that isn’t enough proof that Gilford might even be more normal and likable than his FNL alter ego, then tune into the full interview after the jump.

Flavorwire: Having gone to the same summer camp as teens, we know the living conditions were far from pristine. How do you think Johnny your “big man on campus” character in Dare would have fared there?

Zach Gilford: Wow that’s an interesting question. I think he’d have been alright. It’s just the life he has, but not what he needs. I think he kind of plays into the “bad boy rich kid role” because it is the grouping the kids at the school have put him into… To be honest, I think camp is a place where he would thrive, because it is a place where you don’t know anybody and can be anyone you like.

FW: You’re going on a run. What’s on your iPod?

ZG: I have like 100 gigs of music. I’m a big music person. My taste runs from hip hop to the Killers to classic rock to Ray LaMontagne. But lately, I’ve taken to listening to books on tape when I run. It’s a good way to zone out and multitask. I’m an avid reader so I have a hard time not reading if I’m not doing anything. My downtime is running, so I thought how can I utilize this to my advantage?

FW: The official spirits sponsor of Sundance is Le Tourment Vert absinthe, which spawned a creative class decades ago. As a member of the new modern creative class, which actors have had the most impact on your career?

ZG: It’s hard because growing up I always had actors I loved like Paul Newman and Edward Norton — he’s super cool. I’m not the kind of person to follow any one person, but I have plenty of people I admire in performances; it could be a TV actor or just someone I saw playing a great part in a movie and then wonder what else they are up to. And then it makes you curious as to what they are like in real life. Are they nice or are they a jerk?

FW: What is your personal vice?

ZG: I gotta have a second, you’re asking me to call myself out (chuckles). I know it’s lame but I’m a big procrastinator. I am totally the kind of person who waits till the last minute and I just get it done. And I get annoyed because when I do actually put the time into getting things done ahead of time, it turns out really well. I’m a clean person and I let things pile up until I finally go “oh this has got to stop” and I go and literally take the toaster off the counter and start scrubbing.

FW: You are back in your hometown of Evanston for the first time in months. What three spots must you hightail it to immediately?

ZG: I always go to Carmen’s Pizza — it’s deep dish Chicago-style. And then you got to go to Sarkis, this kind of hole in the wall breakfast spot. And then my family always goes to have steak at Pete Miller’s. That’s our family spot.

FW: We all have random talents. What strange talent do you have that you are convinced that nobody else has?

ZG: I do a lot of outdoor education. It’s not like no one else has it but I’m really good at the outdoors. I am really good at teaching it and making it more accessible. Stuff like maps and compasses are pretty foreign to a lot of people.

FW: Put on your psychic hat for a minute. Where do you think Matt Saracen will be in ten years?

ZG: I think he’s gonna be an architect. This year there has been talk of art school and I see him as an architect somewhere with culture. The thing is, “god bless your soul grandma” [in his “Matt” voice] but when you’re no longer around, I think he’s gonna leave Dillon.

Photo: Nate “Igor” Smith, drivenbyboredom.com