Everybody knows who Rex Lee is. From “Entourage” to “Suburgatory,” he’s played some pretty recognizable roles. But get ready to see Lee in a whole new light on ABC Family’s new comedy, “Young & Hungry.”
“He takes care of Josh and he really cares about him,” Lee tells Zap2it on set. “It’s a very intricate, layered relationship. In some ways, he feels paternalistic and in some ways, he wishes they were boyfriends, in some ways he wishes they were best friends. There are all kinds of things Elliot may or may not want with Josh. In a way, his world revolves around Josh.”
But don’t assume that means Elliot will follow orders from Josh. In fact, it’s almost the other way around, thanks to Elliot’s strong personality. “Elliot thinks he knows best and he’s right,” Lee says with a laugh. “He really cares about everything having an order in the world and he’s the one to provide it. In a weird perverse way, I enjoy the relationships Elliot has with the people he gets to be mean to, because that makes it the most fun.”
And that’s pretty much every relationship he has, except with Josh. “[Housekeeper] Yolanda [Kym Whitley] thinks she runs things, but she doesn’t, so putting her in her place is really satisfying,” Lee says. “And then Gabi [Emily Osment], at first I didn’t want her to get the job as Josh’s chef, but then she got the job, so I’m not exactly trying to undermine her and get her fired, but if I can point out when she makes mistakes, that’s good too.
“But his relationship with Gabi is already evolving. Sometimes I think it’s going to be antagonistic but then there’s an episode where you get to see Elliot’s softer side. He’s more empathetic than you realize.”
That subtle emotional depth to Elliot excites Lee, who is glad that the audience gets to see a new, different performance from him. “In a way, there are some similarities between Elliot and the character I played on ‘Suburgatory,’ but it feels entirely different from who I played on ‘Entourage,'” Lee says. “I’m excited to be doing something different. Lloyd was very ambitious in terms of trying to get somewhere in his life, and he glommed onto the Ari Gold character as, ‘You’re the master and I’m going to kneel at your feet to learn what I can from you.’ His ambition made him very self-assured and clear in where he was going.
“Elliot has that same self-assurance but it’s in a different way. He thinks of himself as more important and essential than Lloyd ever did. And obviously Elliot’s relationship with his boss Josh is much different than Lloyd’s relationship was with Ari.”
Lee can’t wait for viewers to finally get to tune in to “Young & Hungry” when it premieres on Wednesday (June 25). “It’s funny, it’s smart and it’s got some real heart,” Lee says. “It’s uplifting and it teaches you that you should try everything you can to make your way in the world.”
“Young & Hungry” premieres Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC Family.