He plays a twenty-something teacher and lacrosse coach at West Beverly High on the new 90210, but Ryan Eggold doesn’t really seem like the authority figure type. No surprise that his character, Ryan Matthews, comes off more like a college kid too. I recently sat down with Eggold to discuss the role, the on-screen romance rumors, why Jennie Garth is standoffish, the scandal surrounding Shannen Doherty and, of course, Dylan McKay’s sideburns. See for yourself…
So, you’re a bit older than the other kids on the show. Growing up, did you ever get into the original 90210?
I was six when it began
and I was also a young guy. I don’t know how many young guys watched
it. I think older guys might have watched it because there were hot chicks on it but, you know, I think it was more for the gals. It was still unavoidable though, because it was such a massive show. I remember kids in my school defining themselves by whether or not they were more Brenda or more Kelly.
When you landed the role, did you check out any of the old episodes, maybe to just get a taste of the tone?
I did watch an episode, just to refresh my
memory: What is this all about? What is the essence of the show? What
do people love about this show? What can we bring to the new show that
people will love? You know? And I had to measure Luke Perry‘s sideburns
so I could grow them exactly the same length.
I think that’s the key
to success right there.
They make you a better actor.
They really do. It has something to do with the brain and the hairs being close to each other and…
It’s all science.
How do you feel about playing
a teacher? You’re not all that far removed from being
in high school yourself…
Sure, yeah. It’s
cool playing a young teacher because you can still be hip and he’s still
somewhat of a kid in the sense that he’s very childish at
times. He’s very kind of rambunctious
and he likes to provoke people a little bit. He’s kind of a jerk
sometimes. He’s not just the good, clean cut, nice teacher. And it’s fun to play someone who’s
gray, you know? Not black and white.
Yes, I read the pilot script and there’s definitely an edge to him.
Yeah. He’s kind of sardonic
and kind of like, eh you can do it yourself, which I
Do you think he’s going to get in trouble
for that immaturity?
I’m sure. I’m sure. Even in the pilot he gets slight warnings to take it easy. But when push comes to shove later in the season, and there’s a bigger issue on the table, he won’t hesitate to speak his mind, and
I’m sure that will get him in trouble.
Reading the pilot, I felt like there may have been a little bit of sexual tension between your character and
AnnaLynne McCord’s character…
Oh yes, that. I thought you were
going to say Jennie [Garth’s character]. AnnaLynne’s character and
I have a very interesting relationship that I hope they’re going to
continue to develop because it’s not what you expect. There is some
sexual tension, but I will tell you that we are not sleeping together.
It’s not that. It’s the total opposite of what
Yeah. It makes me laugh.
I want to play the scenes with her, it’s good.
Well, you mentioned Jennie Garth, and I have heard that your characters may have some sort of romance brewing. Do you know if she will stick around and continue to recur?
She’ll be around, yeah.
What’s it like working with her? Does she offer any sort of advice, seeing as she has this whole history with the show?
She really doesn’t bring
the original show with her to the set. She’s very sweet. I thought
she was kind of a "B" when I first met her because she was really
standoffish and I was like, Who is this person?! But then I realized
that she’s just super shy. And, as I get
to know her, she opens up more and she’s really
warm and just friendly and low key. She’s very easy to get
along with and do scenes with. I remember once, I made her break character
in a take — she was off camera at the time so it didn’t matter — but
that was my crowning achievement, getting her to laugh mid-take. That
was a good moment.
Do you get to
work with Shannen [Doherty] at all?
I hope I get to work with
Shannen. Jennie and I get to work together in the school
scenes, and Shannen will be at the school now too, so I can see it. I would love to work with Shannen Doherty.
Especially because there’s so much whatever surrounding her. Infamy, I suppose.
I love that. I think that’s so cool. [Laughs] I can totally see that happening
to me. People will be saying all sorts of weird
things about me in ten years, like I’m a transvestite
and I rape animals or something. But we’ll see…