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Scott Porter Talks ‘Hart of Dixie’, His Comedic Side, and Set Shenanigans

By on November 8, 2012
Scott Porter. Image © Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Scott Porter. Image © Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

If you were a fan of the Emmy-award winning Friday Night Lights series, you’ll recognize Scott Porter as Jason Street, the quarterback who suffered a spinal cord injury in the show’s pilot. That series gained the actor some well-deserved fame, and since then Scott has guest-starred on The Good Wife as well as Caprica. His film appearances include roles in Dear John, Ten Year, and the upcoming The To Do List. With musical theatre work in his background on top of all of this, Scott has proven himself to be a multifaceted talent. He took some time this week to talk with Screen Spy about character growth, his interest in theatre, and hint at his mischievous side.

Currently, he plays small-town lawyer George Tucker on The CW’s warm comedy-drama Hart of Dixie. Well into its second season, Hart of Dixie is still full of that quirky humor that fans fell for in season one. While it is primarily a lighthearted show, it does touch on some more complicated issues that an audience can relate to. For example, the gentlemanly and charming George recently experienced a huge life upheaval when his fifteen-year-relationship ended. Scott addressed how this change is forcing some introspection into what George wants at this stage of his life.

“Once you start to find yourself a little more, you start to figure out where your boundaries lie, and I think George is doing a really good job of finding those this year. Knowing when something’s not going to work and just pulling the plug on it, as opposed to continuing to try and tinker and fix things. George is going to be much better off because of it.”

At the end of the last episode, George meets Presley (Kelen Coleman), a potential new love interest. The next episode, “I Walk the Line”, hints at some collaboration between George and Presley as the town goes into election mode. Scott shared what we might be able to expect from that.

“I think there are certain things you don’t discuss,” he laughed, “with friends and with potential relationship candidates, and politics are one of those things. You’ll see shenanigans ensue when George tries to talk politics with Presley, who is really somebody that’s predisposed to not want to get involved with politics at all.” He later added, “You’ll see how kind of broaching the subject of politics can put a very big strain on a very young relationship.”  

Scott also shared that ‘Election Day’ is one of George’s favorite holidays (even more beloved than Planksgiving!), and that we will hear a patriotic rant from him as to why that is. We’ll also see George working with Wade (Wilson Bethel) to get their friend and current mayor, Lavon (Cress Williams), re-elected. Wade and George are in something of a love triangle with Zoe, though with George’s interest in Presley, that triangle might soon become a square. Due to past infidelity and drama with George’s ex-fiancée, there is also considerable tension between George and Lavon. Scott addressed the currently rather tenuous relationships that George has with those two characters.

“At the end of the day, even though George and Lavon have had a falling out in the past, Lavon’s still his friend and he’s still there for him, and he’s still there to support him. And shenanigans ensue, as they always do when Wade and George get together.”

Scott Porter (George Tucker) with co-star Rachel Bilson (Zoe Hart). Image: Danny Feld © The CW

Scott recently filmed The To Do List, a comedy set to come out in August 2013. Not an actor to be typecast, he addressed showing off his comedic side, “I started off in musical theatre, and I actually started in this really fantastic musical comedy called Altar Boyz. That was my first big kind of break.” He continued, “I come from a world of kind of lighter fare and comedy, and being in three straight highly dramatic shows playing very serious roles, I needed something much lighter and Hart of Dixie has definitely done that for me.”

The To Do List has a huge ensemble cast, with stars such as Aubrey Plaza, Connie Britton, Rachel Bilson, and Andy Samberg (to name a few!). Scott describes his character, Rusty Waters, as a 1990s grunge rock lifeguard. “It’s a great cast and it’s really about Aubrey’s character kind of coming to her sexual realization over the summer before college,” he laughs, “(…) The To Do List has things on it like make out, get a hickey, etc etc. It gets raunchier and raunchier as the film goes on.”

When asked if he would have an interest in returning to the theatre at some point, Scott said he would love to.

“There’s so many great shows that are coming out that are really pushing Broadway forward as opposed to kind of living in the past, and I think it’s really important for theatre to do that. You know, because you can only capture new audiences’ attention if you are willing to be daring and to take chances. And I think there are a lot of fantastic creators out there that are really doing that, so I would love to go back at some point and do theatre again. Television and film are both extremely different mediums and there’s nothing like the thrill of being on stage, and the electricity of having a live audience. There’s just nothing like it.

Having heard that Scott enjoys being the prankster on set, I had to ask if he had any good stories about that. This question produced an immediate laugh. “Yeah, it’s a little story about Wilson Bethel watching a Justin Bieber documentary on a plane, while sitting next to me, peering up. It made him an easy target. His entire trailer was decked out with Justin Bieber posters last year. I had a 12-month calendar of Justin Bieber posters and every month I would change them out for him, putting them in strange places in his trailer.” It sounds like Scott’s comedic timing also applies to real life, and that the Hart of Dixie set is a lively environment. “It is fun little stuff like that that we do. Sometimes it gets a little raunchy, sometimes a little R-rated. But it started out small, and I think stuff like that that’s a running gag – I think that’s almost the best of the bunch – things that you can continue the joke going.”

Catch Scott in Hart of Dixie Tuesdays on The CW.