He’s the rebellious firefighter you can’t help but love on the hit television series 9-1-1 and now, actor Oliver Stark is eager to show you another side of ‘Buck' in season two.
Candid sat down with this rising star to discuss his standout role and how his character is handling both the new and old relationships in his path. Plus, you may not expect the reality show that Oliver just can’t get enough of.
How and when did you first discover a passion for acting?
Acting was always something I had been involved in throughout school, but I don’t think it was ever a career choice until later, until really I had left school. I think I was 18 or 19 when I started thinking that maybe this could be my job, as well as a hobby.
I hadn’t worked professionally or anything at that point. Just local stuff. I decided I didn’t want to go to university, but I still didn’t really know what I wanted to do, so I just started working various jobs.
Then I appeared in a famous short film and that kind of sparked it in me a little bit. It grew from there, so there was no one big moment, I don’t think. It was just a gradual progression into it.
How did the opportunity to audition for 9-1-1 come about?
So, I’ve been living in Los Angeles for two years, working as an actor and trying to get jobs. One day, I was actually sitting at home and I was watching The Hollywood Reporter Roundtable: Showrunner Edition of which Ryan Murphy was on there talking.
While I was watching that, I had this email pop up: ‘9-1-1 New Ryan Murphy Show'. So it felt like some moment of synchronicity, because I was literally watching him on my laptop screen as the email came through.
You play Evan ‘Buck' Buckley on 9-1-1. How would you describe ‘Buck' and in your opinion, what’s the most misunderstood part about him so far?
I kind of think of ‘Buck' as the young puppy. He’s just a little over-zealous, a little bit too eager, but it’s all rooted in love and wanting to help people and wanting to make the best out of situations.
Unfortunately, his gung-ho attitude sometimes doesn’t necessarily help the situation. I think the most misunderstood thing about him is that he’s not careless, he’s just willing to do whatever he thinks is best to help the situation, but I truly believe that he’s always well-intentioned.
You do so many intense stunts on this show, Oliver. Where do you draw the line, where you let the stunt doubles step in?
We try and do as much as we can. It’s the part of the job that I really enjoy, getting to do things that I never thought I would. There was only one moment in the show last year where the show had to come in and say we can’t let you do this. Sometimes it’s things that I can’t convincingly do, but I would say we do about 85% of our own stunts. Sometimes the show steps in and saves our lives.
As your character’s storyline broadens and deepens, where do you hope Buck’s mindset and behaviour will go in season two?
I hope it continues on the same path that he started to journey down in the first season, which was toward maturity and understanding the importance of the job and how he’s viewed and the professionalism that’s required.
I think it’s interesting to see how quickly that growth started in him. I just want to see him more and more valuable to the team. There is a family dynamic coming in the second season with the introduction of his sister, so for me, it will be interesting to see how that affects his life.
Actress Connie Britton played your love interest on the first season, but she will not be returning to the show in the same capacity this season. So, how is Buck going to move forward now and how will his sister’s arrival (played by actress Jennifer Love Hewitt) change that dynamic?
Her [Connie’s] character is still very much going to be a part of the story. Buck is still clinging onto that relationship and he still holds a lot of love for her and is still in that relationship.
He starts the second season living in her apartment, so even though she is not at the start of the season physically there, the essence of her character is very much still part of the story.
And yeah, the introduction of Buck’s sister, there’s certain honesty that siblings have with each other, so she starts to just try to look out for Buck and make sure he’s okay and not holding onto things that he shouldn’t be holding onto, in regards to the ‘Abby' character (played by Connie Britton).
Let’s talk about Oliver for a moment. I hear you’re a big fan of Arsenal football club. Does your American production schedule get in the way of you devoting yourself to your beloved team?
Well the time difference works out quite nicely there. The games tend to be Saturday 4.00am, which I watch from bed. Saturday 7.00am, which I watch from bed. It did get in the way [laughs], our first day of shooting this year was the same day as the World Cup Final, so I didn’t get to watch the World Cup Final, but I was happy to be back at work. And England didn’t quite make it, so it wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been.
Even though your character on 9-1-1 is often either in uniform or just in casual clothes, I’ve seen you on red carpets, Oliver, and you’re very fashionable. So, what are your favourite types of styles to wear?
Oh, thank you. That’s such a thing for me to hear. I don’t often I hear that. I’ve been trying recently to not be so ‘safe' and I tell myself that I was dressing ‘classic' but I think I was just being a bit ‘safe'. So, I’m trying to introduce some colour and some patterns into what I wear and just have a little bit more fun with clothing, I suppose.
With shows like Chicago Fire, Grey’s Anatomy and more that also push the envelope of big action and heart-stopping drama, how does 9-1-1 stand out to you?
I think the wide variety of emergency calls that we deal with that range from the really serious, dramatic ones to the almost bordering on silly, or bizarre is a better word for that. I think 9-1-1 covers a broader spectrum of different emergency calls that responders can go on.
What guilty pleasure can you reveal to us, whether that’s a food or an activity? What’s the best way to grab Oliver Stark’s attention?
I guess on the lines of guilty pleasure is that while I am shooting the show, I find it very hard to watch narrative television, so I end up watching a lot of really trashy reality television, which is my kind of escape. I think it’s something to do with the fact that when we’re in the 9-1-1 world, I find it hard to come home and put myself into the world of another show and watch it. So, I watch a lot of reality TV during the months of shooting.
Is there any show or shows that kind of stick out to you?
Oh man [laughs]. I watch a lot of Shark Tank. I’m not afraid to say I watch Say Yes to the Dress. It’s happy and I like to see people happy.
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