Ben Watson has been promoting his CW show ‘The L.A. Complex’ really hard, much harder than the CW actually has for the ratings deprived series that could easily have fared well if they’d waited until the summer to air it.
Many times actors just rely on the network or movie studio to promote their tv or movie, but as I reported yesterday, the CW network seems to be rather amiss on marketing ‘The L.A. Complex‘. After all the press they did on acquiring the hit Canadian show, I assumed they would be doing a big press push, but I was rather underwhelmed. We did a great interview with Ben Watson, who’s quite the rising young tv star on the show, and I wanted to rerun again since this young man has been promoting this show like crazy. Even against the odds of the CW renewing it or even finishing the run, he’s been out there hustling as hard as his character Tariq does on the show. Quite frankly, if it hadn’t been for his passion, the show would have come and gone without my noticing either, and we hear everything!
So, Miss Sashay noticed that Ben did a cute blog post on THR, and along with our interview, I wanted to post some of that to give you all a better look at this young actor who acts much older than his years. Having seen nearly the entire season of this show (which ironically enough has been picked up for double the first season run in Canada), I think it deserves a little more respect from the network. So here’s a little more about Ben Watson, who’s not as dodgy as the character he plays on tv. Below is the five things he wrote about himself that most people don’t know about that ran in THR.
1. Every month I have a new food I am obsessed with. I love food! Ever since I was a child, I would pull my chair up to the stove and pretend to cook. I watch the Food Network as often as I possibly can to find new recipes. I have cravings like a pregnant woman! For the past three-and-a-half weeks, I have had sushi for lunch and a pulled pork sandwich for dinner. I am going to have to limit my sushi and pulled pork intake now for the month of May!
2. I can’t swim, even though I was born on an island. I was born and raised in Jamaica until I was 10 years old, and I lived in Mandeville — which is close to the middle of the island — to get to the beach would be almost a 2-hour drive! So, I never learned to swim, and still can’t swim today. I am thinking about taking lessons at some point!
3. I met my best friend in the summer of 2005 in New York City — we speak all the time, but I have not seen him in person since. I attended a talent convention in New York City. At the end of the convention, I returned back to Toronto and my newfound friend, Chris, returned back to Phoenix. We chatted back and forth for about a year and literally became the best of friends. Unfortunately, we lost touch for a few years after that. But in 2009, Facebook brought us back together and now we talk all the time as if it were back when we first met in 2005. I love how there are some people you meet in life and just connect with them instantly. Chris is the one person who knows absolutely everything about me and never judges me. Pretty epic friendship!
4. The first thing I watch in the morning and the last thing I watch at night is The Weather Channel. I am fascinated by how Mother Nature operates. I am always curious about weather systems and what specific things spawn certain meteorological outcome. Not only do I know the weather in my own city, but I also know the weather for cities all over the world. I love to stay informed on what is happening in nature… I think I might retire and spend my days in Florida.
5. My favorite television show of all time is The Golden Girls. I still watch all the reruns. I really am an old man in a young body! At age six, I fell in love! I don’t know what is it, but something about those four women makes me feel safe and at home. Betty White aka Rose is the most memorable character. The show always brings me back to a time when I didn’t have a care in the world.
Ben Watson is one of the stars on the CW’s upcoming ‘The L.A. Complex‘, and he was gracious enough to talk to us about the show, himself and not being afraid to take on roles that other actors might feel could kill their career.
‘The L.A. Complex‘ was a hit on Canada’s MuchMusic; so much so that the CW picked it up and it’ll be hitting the air on April 24, 2012 so all of you can see what the big fuss Benjamin Charles Watson’s character Tariq was all about. The young actor is surprisingly grounded which is very refreshing as his career has easily taken off with the show and all eyes are on his character which he plays with wonderful depth. ’The L.A. Complex’ debuts on the CW April 24th, and it’s so worth checking out!
Watson moved from Jamaica to Toronto when he was ten years old and chose to go to college first before pursuing his dream of acting. In 2007, he landed the lead role in ‘The Limits‘ and then went on to appear in several tv shows like ‘Warehouse 13‘ before landing the role of Tariq in ‘The L.A. Complex’. For all of you that haven’t heard of ‘L.A. Complex’, it follows the lives of six performers who were given the most likely to succeed banner in high school. And we all know how well that moniker always works out so expect lots of drama (it is the CW, you know).
BEST MOVIES EVER: What made you choose college rather than just jumping into acting like many do?
BEN WATSON: I decided to go to college because I wanted to experience that aspect of life. I felt it was important to broaden my learning experiences because as actors, we never stop learning. There are certain points in life when you know you’re ready. I think that if I left high school and jumped right into acting, most of my life experiences would have ceased to exist.
BME: The LA Complex‚ follows the lives of six performers who were given the death knoll high school most likely to succeed‚ banner. Were you also put in that category during your school years?
BW: I was a very weird kid back in my school days. Throughout Junior high, I was the guy that everyone knew would become an actor.
BME: When you signed on to The LA Complex‚ did the producers give you the story arc for Tariq or were you just as surprised when the script came as the viewers will be?
BW: I was one of the last actors to be cast in the series, and at the table read I had the opportunity to fully see the story arc of Tariq. The table read was very emotional for me and I was compelled to tell his story. I was definitely surprised with a lot of the script, and viewers will be too.
BME: Do you think the season finale will cause as much stir here in the US that it did in Canada?
BW: I completely believe that the season finale will cause way more topic of conversation in the US. I literally had hundreds of people tweeting me about the season finale and majority were from the US. We are touching on a very taboo subject matter that hasn’t been dealt with in the states and people don’t want to talk about it; but I’m happy to stir up a little controversy.
BME: Tariq is that character who always knows how to find the backdoor to get out of any situation he’s not comfortable with (no pun intended). Were you able to use any of your young life experiences or those of friends to help flesh his character out? What do you like most about his character and least?
BW: I used a lot of my life experiences to bring Tariq to life. Tariq and I are similar in many ways, but also completely different in others. As actors we have to use our life experiences to help us create a character and other times we may have to borrow from someone else, or just create that aspect of the character on our own. With Tariq, I understood his drive, creativity, what he wanted in life and also what was missing. These were the very specific and particular things I pulled from my life to get into Tariq’s mind.
What I like about Tariq is that he doesn’t stick to the conventional road that everyone is expected to go. He creates his own yellow brick road.
I really don’t know if there is anything I like least about Tariq. I’m very objective about what choices when it comes to love, but being Ben I find the root cause of the problem and turn it into a positive.
BME: Where do you hope the writers wind up taking Tariq if the CW picks it up
for a second season?
BW: I really hope Tariq becomes inspirational to our audience. I’d also love Tariq to be a little more risky in his life.
BME: As an artist, you know how being stifled can hinder your art. Do you think that if more hip hop artists felt they could be free to be themselves, this would allow them to create even better music?
BW: ABSOLUTELY!!!!! Once you truly understand yourself, the world is your oyster. If you’re not true to who you are, then you are always hiding. Sure, you may have fame and fortune, but hiding/being afraid of an important aspect of your life will reflect back in your work.
BME: The LA Complex‚ seems more of a show that could fit on Showtime or HBO, so were you as surprised that it got picked up on the Gossip Girl‚ and America‚s Next Top Model‚ network, the CW?
BW: I feel that the CW is a perfect match for The LA Complex. I was utterly amazed when I heard the news. The CW has the perfect demographic and audience. I believe more people will be able to relate more to the show on the CW.
BME: What would be your words of advice for aspiring actors thinking it could kill their career to take on a role like Tariq?
BW: The best advice I can give anyone is to fall in love with the story and what is it that you want to tell.
This is a stepping stone, not a career killer.
BME: One of your quotes is, “One life to live, make the best of everyday by helping other people. There is a bigger picture.” What is your bigger picture?
BW: My bigger picture is to help people. I’m getting the opportunity to do what I love to do and I am blessed. For the past ten years I have worked with disabled adults and it’s rewarding in the sense that I’m helping someone develop life skills. I go back and I work regularly in order to stay grounded. My ultimate goal in life is to tell stories through my acting and directing, but I also want to make the world a better place. My intention is to help people who are struggling with their sexuality, kids being bullied, people with disabilities, people struggling with drug and alcohol abuse, mothers and kids from an abusive background…the list goes on and on. I love helping people and getting them to understand that the world is an INSANE place, but its worth every moment.