2012's Pitch Perfect made megastars out of its mega-talented cast, but anyone who had the privilege of witnessing Skylar Astin's sensational performance as Georg in the original company of Spring Awakening knew it wasn't a matter of if he would break through, but when.
Now he's capitalizing on his Perfect momentum with a lead role in Bill Lawrence's winning new sitcom, Ground Floor, premiering November 14 on TBS. In the comedy Astin plays Brody, a driven money manager who falls for a girl (Briga Heelan's Jennifer) who works all the way at the bottom; both of the corporate ladder and the building they share. ETonline caught up with Astin to find out what attracted him to Ground Floor, what Perfect DNA his new show shares and what he plans to do in order to stick around Hollywood for a long time!
ETonline: What attracted you to Ground Floor?
Skylar Astin: I had auditioned for a bunch of pilots; some I never booked, others never went to series. This year, after the success of Pitch Perfect, I wanted to be a bit selective. I auditioned for another one of Bill's pilots but he had this in mind for me. They offered me the role, I read the script and it wasn't too long before I said yes. I liked the fact that it made me laugh out loud, the story was simple but I liked the characters and I responded to the style. Thankfully the cast didn't only meet but exceeded my expectations -- from the first table read it's been a beautiful process where I'm liking it more and more every single day.
ETonline: What were you looking for in a series?
Astin: I was open to anything. That doesn't mean I would do anything, it just means I was open to anything. I've met for dramas, single camera comedy, multi-camera comedy. I take each script as an individual project. This one spoke to me and Bill was willing to take a chance on me. I don't say yes to every offer, but it's always so flattering to get an offer and realize these people want you and trust you without ever having seen you audition. It's like an amazing bonus ... that makes you pray the script is good [laughs]. Thankfully, this show just gets better and better with every episode.
ETonline: What does it feel like to reach a place in your career where you're offered an amazing role like this?
Astin: It's extremely flattering. But I have such a far way to go and by no means does this mean I am off the audition market, but it's always flattering to have that happen. I think Pitch Perfect was so great because it hit in such a beautiful way. People really responded to the cast and it's allowed me do what I've always wanted to do for a living. I'm so grateful that I get these opportunities. I've never settled, I've never relished too much in the moment, I just want to use this to work more. I really want this to be a long-term career for me. I want longevity. I don't want to be a flash in the pan. I want to continue to do good work and projects that inspire me, and if I can have fun while doing it, that's the dream. I get that, and then some, with [Ground Floor].
ETonline: Do you think the perfect storm that was Pitch Perfect is why it's taking a moment to get the sequel off the ground; it's gotta be better than the incredible original?
Astin: I think it's a delicate subject. I would love to read a script because I can't imagine a world in which I wouldn't be on board. I want to see what they come up with; hopefully Jesse is a part of it. That was such a wonderful moment for all of us so I can't imagine any of us wouldn't want to do it again -- particularly because we all get along so well.
ETonline: With Ground Floor, what was it about Brody that made you want to play him?
Astin: I love Brody because this kind of character -- a young, high-level money manager -- is normally played like a complete jerk. He's mean to the main character, he gets the hot girl but then she eventually wises up and goes for the good guy at the end. But Brody is not that at all. He's not one-dimensional, he's funny, he's got a sense of humor, he's flawed and he's sensitive. It's been fun to play with that.
ETonline: And, like you, he can sing! How often does Brody perform on the show like he does in the pilot?
Astin: About four times, I think. But every time it's done, it's done just the way they did it in the pilot. It's not hokey or corny, it's story driven. It's earned and as long as we do it that way, you know, not hitting people over the head with the fact I can sing, I'm down to do it as many times as they ask. It's not a crutch, it's a weapon.
ETonline: What are you excited for the audience to see with Ground Floor?
Astin: Look, I'm not going to say that this is a show that's never happened before, but I think this is a fresh, wonderful, simple story with a ton of humor and a lot of heart -- and that goes a long way. That's what my favorite sitcoms -- like Friends, Seinfeld and Cheers -- have had and I love being a part of something that people are going to be able to fold their laundry and watch or tune in and intensely watch. I want people to unwind and laugh and enjoy the freshness and the humor and the characters. It's as simple as that.
Ground Floor premieres November 14 at 10 p.m., with 2 back-to-back episodes, on TBS.