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Scott Michael Foster Goes from Nemesis to Love Interest on ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’

Scott Michael Foster’s journey to leading man is an atypical one on The CW’s musical saga, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

I will admit that I never thought I would like Scott Michael Foster’s Nathaniel Plimpton III. The no-nonsense lawyer was introduced in season two but became a season regular for this most recent batch of episodes. Originally serving as a distraction for Rachel Bloom’s Rebecca Bunch as her relationship with Josh Chan spirals out of control, Foster’s Nathaniel really surprised me with his charm. He never expected to fall for Rebecca either.

What makes Foster such an unexpected love interest is that, at first glance, he seems like a rich jerk who only takes what he wants. I joked with him during our talk that I viewed him as a non-murder-y Patrick Bateman. As a series regular, however, Foster is granted permission to explore Nathaniel’s own issues with his always disappointed father and discovers that his mother struggled with her own mental health.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is first and foremost a musical comedy, and Foster was able to capitalize on his training as a stage actor–and have his own Magic Mike moment.

I’m a massive fan of the show so forgive me if I go full-on musical theater camp on you, ok?

No worries, man! I’m glad you’re watching.

(Photo: The CW)

I guess, the first question I would have for you after this season is, can you ever see yourself going to a zoo again? “I Go the Zoo” made me laugh in the weirdest way. I wasn’t expecting that song at all. 

I hope so! I actually did get a weird response from the Dallas/Fort Worth Zoo. My family is in Dallas and I am from there and they told me that if I ever wanted to come through with my family that they’d be more than happy to accommodate me to Panda Canyon and seeing the zebras. I have an open invitation to that zoo, so that was very nice of them.

Nice perk from performing that song? 

Definitely.

You recently finished touring with the cast of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Not a lot of TV shows actually go on tour.

It was a great experience. We finished up in LA. It was a real whirlwind of a tour where we did 8 cities in about 10 days. We were cranking them out and then going to a new city every day. The instant feedback from the audiences and the fans and the instant gratification was really cool.

I’m pissed that I wasn’t near any of those cities!

Aww, that’s a bummer!

You became a series regular in season 3. Did you expect to go from being Rebecca’s nemesis to a love interest?

When I first started, Aline Brosh McKenna mentioned that they thought about going down that road with Nathaniel’s character, making him a love interest. I didn’t know if we were going to go there or not, and we did. I think the possibilities where their relationship can go and where Nathaniel’s relationships can go are sort of limitless.

I know you studied theater in college. Is Crazy Ex-Girlfriend like the perfect job? Or maybe the perfect mash-up of everything you prepared for as an actor? 

I’ll tell you what when I was growing up in Dallas, there wasn’t a whole lot of film and television for an actor of my age. The easiest thing was to get into theater and get into musicals. For me, to come back to musicals almost 14 years later was incredible. I get to do the things I was passionate about when I was in high school in college. It’s almost a return to form. To be able to sing and dance and act on camera is a rarity. It doesn’t happen a whole lot, so I’m fortunate and grateful that I get to do it.

You get that really emotional arc when Nathaniel connects with his mother after she admits she had a suicide attempt. Can you tell me about getting into that head space? 

I was excited for that because it was new and different. We hinted in season 2 that he had a strained relationship with his parents, so I was looking forward to seeing how it played out. I think they handled it beautifully. I love how it was written, and the actors cast as my parents were wonderful. Instead of playing the hand, I got to get into scenes with some meat and some substance to it. It was awesome for me, because the more you know about the character, the more vivid he or she will be in your mind. It added some depth that was essential to Nathaniel.

What the show does so well is confront these topics–like suicide, mental illness, anxiety–in a very careful and important way, but the writing allows it to be mixed in with this zany, musical comedy. You care about these people. 

Right. It does a really good job of that. It’s good to be on a show with something to tell instead of just being entertainment. It’s good for that! It does its best to shine a light BPD and emotional disorders. I’ve always said that it makes you feel like you’re not just getting on stage and singing and dancing for giggles and laughs. It’s important—in this town especially.

Speaking of those crazy musical theater moments, you get some of the best songs of the entire season. “Fit Hot Guys” and “Horny Angry Tango” are hilarious musical numbers. 

I’ve definitely loved all the music that they’ve given me. Everyone has great stuff this season. With “Fit Hot Guys,” we all dieted and worked out really hard for that for a good couple months leading up to the shoot. I now know that if I have to lose weight or get in shape for a role in the future, I know I can do it! It’s good to know for me. The whole experience has been great. With “Horny Angry Tango,” the tango was so hard to learn. People spend years learning how to do that, and Rachel and I had a week to figure it out. Just the accomplishments the cast and crew make every week with Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is very impressive. I’m proud of the whole process. We literally couldn’t do it without everyone involved.

(Photo: The CW)

I mean, “Fit Hot Guys” definitely blew up my Twitter. It was like, “As if the show couldn’t get any better…they’ve added shirtless men…”

Yup! It was definite a shock to me. I never thought I’d be doing a Magic Mike number on television.

Never say never.

No. Never say never!

The majority of your scenes are with Rachel. Can you comment on the relationship working with her? You guys are obviously having such a great time on set.

She’s a powerhouse that I don’t think even she will recognize. You have to understand, she sings, she dances, she acts, she writes the scripts and most of the music. She doesn’t really stop. That’s her personality. She’s a sleep when I’m dead type of person, and I respect the hell out of that. When we work together, she’s very open to suggestion and willing to listen. I can’t say enough about her. She’s everything you want in a boss and in a writer, co-star, producer. Rachel does it all. Working her makes it easy, and it’s been a dream.

Season 4 will be the last. Anything you are excited about for the closing season?

I actually don’t anything they have planned. But I will say where we left off (with Rebecca going to jail and Nathaniel wanting her to plead insanity so they could be together and none of that happening), I think it’s less what happens with Nathaniel as far as his story goes, but it’s more about Rebecca. Everyone asks, who is she going to end up with: is it Josh or Nathaniel or Greg. We made it a good point that she can end up alone and be happy. That’s the healthiest thing. If you’re happy, it doesn’t matter if you end up “happily ever after.” As long as you’re happy with yourself. So I’m just as anxious as you guys are to see how they take that spin and however Nathaniel goes with that.

Season 3 of The CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is available now on Netflix.