Though most of the press for “Don’t Trust The B—- in Apartment 23” has focused on James Van Der Beek’s return to TV playing a fictionalized version of himself, viewers of the show will quickly find that the Beek from the Creek is a supporting player to two fierce female leads.
The show is anchored by Dreama Walker as June, a small-town girl who moves to New York City with a very detailed five-year plan and has to abandon it when job prospects fall through and her fiance turns out to be a cheating jerk. For fans who know Walker best from her dark, conniving role on CBS’s “The Good Wife,” June is a breath of fresh air.
Executive producers Nahnatchka Khan and David Hemingson say that she was an easy role to cast once Dreama was in the picture. “Dreama was the second person to come in and read,” Khan says, “and she just nailed it
from the get go. She was hilarious, and beautiful, and charming, and I
was like ‘That’s June, clearly.'”
It does help that Dreama isn’t afraid to go a little darker, because now that she’s roommates with Chloe, some of her deviousness is bound to rub off.
On paper, Chloe — the aforementioned “B—–,” is awful. She steals, she lies, she cheats. She pops pills and hates her wheelchair-bound mother for never ice skating with her. In an upcoming episode, she makes Kevin Sorbo believe he’s the keynote speaker at a charity event for MS in order to secure a celebrity date for a wedding she’s not invited to. Basically, she is the worst.
And yet, within the first episode of the show, we found ourselves charmed by her evil ways. The E.Ps. credit most of Chloe’s likability to actress Krysten Ritter.
“Chloe was more tricky. She had to have this sort of magneticism,” Khan says. “Look, I’m a writer first and foremost, and as a writer, you live by the page. I’m a huge fan of the page. But once you get past that point, there’s a quality that you can’t capture no matter how good a writer you are. You just need the actress to bring it. I don’t know who else could have done it but Krysten.”
“There was nobody. She wasn’t even on a short list — she was the short list. There’s no one else who could do it, unless we had a time machine and went back and get Linda Fiorentino from that fantastic movie she did with Peter Berg,” adds Hemingson, referring to 1994’s “The Last Seduction,” about a woman who steals her husband’s drug money and hides out in a small town.
Much like June is by Chloe, Khan found herself oddly beguiled by Ritter the first time they met to discuss the pilot. “We met Krysten for coffee at Priscilla’s in the Valley, and she walked in and I thought, ‘This person exists in the world,'” Khan recalls. “She just breezed in and was super cool, super awesome, and you just wanted her to sit at your table. I remember thinking ‘I just want her to sit at my table!’ and like, she was there to meet us, of course she was going to sit at our table. We had a meeting with her. That was the point. She has that quality, though, where you just want to be next to her.”