Twenty-two-year old actor Freddie Smith moved to Hollywood three and a half years ago in search of his big break as an actor. That break finally came late last year when he was cast as Marco, Teddy’s new love interest on The CW drama 90210.
As fans of the show already know, poor Teddy (Trevor Donovan) has previously had his heart broken by Ian (Kyle Riabko) and will have it broken again later this month by Tripp (Alan Ritchson) before Marco finally gets his crack at winning Teddy’s love and making him a happy gay man at last.
Which means Marco might just be the guy who sticks around for a while, giving viewers a chance to get to know his character a little bit better than Teddy’s previous love interests.
AfterElton.com recently caught up with Smith to talk about Marco, how Trevor Donovan made him feel welcome on his first day and much more!
AfterElton: Doing research for our interview, I quickly discovered there isn’t much out there about you. So how about you give us the scoop on who you are and where you’re from, man of mystery!
Freddie Smith: I grew up in a small town in Ohio, which is east of Cleveland. I graduated high school in 2006. I’m 22, but I’ll be 23 in March. I’m single, not married. I’m living in the Toluca Lake area in Los Angeles and I’ve been here for about three and a half years now.
AE: And you came out here specifically to act?
FS: Yes. I actually didn’t know I wanted to act until I was like 17. I took a theater arts class and had so much fun with it, and I was like, “Why don’t I pursue this as a career and give it a shot?” So I just packed up and moved out.
AE: So I take it 90210 is your big break?
FS: Absolutely. I’ve been out here for five years now and I was a costar on Medium in like 2007 and also a film called One Wish. It wasn’t until 2010, I did some national commercials, but 90210 is my biggest role.
AE: Now I assume that since you don’t have a lot of credits you must have auditioned for the part. How did that go?
FS: My manager just called me up and explained the role to me and I was like, ‘Yeah that sounds good.’ Actually I only auditioned one time. You usually do callbacks and meet the producer, but they cast me right off tape. I went in one time and they were like “this is the guy.” Then like a week later, I was working on the first episode.
AE: That’s a real compliment that they saw you and were like we have to grab this guy.
FS: Exactly. It was awesome. It was exciting to get that phone call.
AE: So tell me about Marco. We’ve seen just the little tiny bit of him in the episode where Teddy whacked him with a tennis ball.
FS: He’s from a hard working family and he’s a hard worker himself. He’s putting himself through school and he plays soccer. He’s just a really nice guy. He has good morals and he comes from a good family and he’s always trying to do the right thing. An overall well-rounded person. I think he’s got his stuff together for a senior in high school. He’s mature and he’s working jobs and doing all that.
AE: And he’s out to his family?
FS: Yeah. He’s out and he’s very comfortable with who he is. He’s happy with who he is and he’s very proud of that and his family knows and all that.
AE: What have you heard about next season? Are you sure you’re going to be back or is it sort of up in the air right now?
FS: Everything has yet to be determined. We’re just finishing up this season, so hopefully we’ll be finding out soon some details about next season.
AE: 90210 has done a great job with Teddy and people have really enjoyed his coming out and storylines, and even Ian was quite popular. As an actor, how do you approach being the new love interest?
FS: It’s kind of realistic because Teddy just came out and he’s trying to figure everything out. He still has trust issues with people and he’s still trying to figure everything out. And I think just by dating different people he’s going to find who he wants to fall in love with.
I wouldn’t say it was any pressure or anything. It’s just all about the chemistry, and I feel Marco and Teddy have great chemistry, and their relationship is strong. So we’ll see how Teddy and Marco end up.
AE: Even though you only have had that one brief scene together so far, you actually did seem to have some chemistry. People responded really positively to the pairing.
FS: Yeah. We were on the set the first day and we met and got to talk for a few hours, and I think just as people we really connected. I think that really helped when it comes to the character. And I think that’s a big thing that we’re comfortable together and we both enjoy each other’s company.
AE: Did Trevor have any advice for you about the part or did you discuss their relationship?
FS: He just made sure I was comfortable because it was my first day on set. He was like, “Do you need anything? Are you comfortable?” And I was like “Yeah, dude everything is good.” He was just looking out for me. We shot the scene in a couple of hours, and I thought it went really well.
AE: I interviewed him a couple of weeks ago and he joked about the spring break episode is coming up and he was laughing that he had to tilt his head up for the first time to kiss Alan Ritchson because Alan’s taller. How was it for you getting to kiss Trevor because he’s a pretty tall guy himself?
FS: It’s interesting because we both talked about that because it is different. You know, I’ve always been with people who are shorter or the same size. But with him being taller there were a few things I had to adjust and get use to. But you know you just take it in stride. We’re still learning and figuring it out and it’s all part of the character.
For Marco, he has to figure what to do in certain situations because it’s different than how I would do it. We had to figure out how to tilt our heads. [laughs] But we figured it out.
Trevor Donovan as Teddy
AE: What sort of research did you do for the role?
FS: I shouldn’t use the word research because the character is really close to myself. It’s more about figuring out the physical aspects of it. Marco and myself, our personalities are so close, which is why I connect to him so well.
AE: The issue of gay teens was very much in the zeitgeist this year and last. What are your thoughts on being part of that?
FS: I just want to hopefully shed light on what’s going on. What’s going on in society right now and if I can do a role that will help people and have an impact positively and not just on this show. There are other shows that have characters, gay characters and even if one person gets something out of that, then we’re doing our jobs. People should be able to just be able to be who they are.
AE: What do you hope happens next season with Marco and Teddy?
FS: Just building a relationship and making it stronger because what’s next is they are going off to college. That’s the next step in life and they need to find out who they are more and more and hopefully they will grow together. Hopefully they will just take college by the horns and just go for it.
AE: I understand you were part of the NOH8 campaign. How exactly did that come about?
FS: My publicist called me and told me about the NOH8 campaign and I said absolutely and I did a photo shoot. I’m still really excited to see how it all turned out and it’s a great campaign and the guy doing it was super nice and I was happy to be a part of it.
Be sure to follow Freddie on his twitter account for more about him and 90210.