90210's Trevor Donovan on His Return to the Teen Soap and His Friendship With the Dalai Lama
Trevor Donovan is so damn pretty it's really unfair he's also smart and hilarious. The California-born (of course!) actor portrays Teddy, the gay heartthrob on the CW's 90210. Just hours before his character returns for the show's season finale (the 32-year-old actor has only appeared sporadically during the fourth season), Donovan answers a few questions for The Advocate about manly man Teddy, Donovan's budding friendship with the Kennedys, and whether we might see him in the next installment of the Hunger Games series.
The Advocate: Can you tell us about your return to 90210? What brings Teddy back to Beverly Hills? Will we see him in the next season?
Donovan: Teddy finds out he has a scorching case of killer herpes and goes back to warn everyone he slept with. It's going to be quite a dramatic season finale. Kidding, but yes, it appears there will be a season 5. Will you see Teddy? Only three people know: Mark Pedowitz, the president of CW, the writers, and the third, uh, who's the third one, I can't, sorry, oops, wonder how many readers will get that reference. For real, this article goes to print before the show airs, so I can't and won't spoil it for anyone, but if you don't watch, the Kardashians win and get more years on TV! But seriously, you can't miss it, you will feel something watching it, like tingles, goose bumps, and be like WTF?! Substance returns!
Teddy is one of TV's most unstereotypical gay characters. Did anyone, on the show or off, ask you to "gay it up"?
Never. They saw it worked the way I played him and didn't mess with it. Portraying him the way we did turned out much better. Could you imagine Teddy like "Just Jack?"
Some say that the lack of LGBT representation on TV plays a part in the bullying epidemic we're seeing across the country. Would you tend to agree?
I would say that's one of the reasons. Bad parenting mixed with being a jerky teenager and lack of positive role models are a few other reasons. I think creating an unstereotypical gay character like Teddy was beneficial. Teddy was a jock, boy next door, popular, an overall good dude, loved by guys and girls. But oh, he happen to be gay.
He wasn't a chronic protester or complainer, but he spoke up when he needed to and didn't let people discriminate or take advantage of him. At least that's how I would have played him if he was given more than two minutes of screen time! But I am very grateful for the time I was given and for the opportunity to play him. From social media like Twitter and Facebook, along with meeting people, I learned Teddy had an impact, a positive one.
I mean, wow! I'm just a mountain boy from Mammoth and now I'm eating salad with the Dalai Lama and drinking vodka with Mikhail Gorbachev. I have my manager, along with Kerry and Ethel Kennedy, to thank for that. Kerry had us perform "Speak Truth to Power," a project of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights. It's a multifaceted global initiative that uses the experiences of courageous defenders from around the world to educate students and others about human rights, and urge them to take action. Issues range from slavery and environmental activism to religious self-determination and political participation. We are doing another one in June at the Kennedy compound in Hyannis Port, Mass. I'm very excited to visit and stay at the house where JFK and RFK grew up, and maybe play some touch football as well.
Perez Hilton has started an unofficial campaign to get you cast as Finnick in the next Hunger Games movie. Thoughts?
I'm humbled and honored, but most of all excited, because Mario [Lavandeira, a.k.a. Perez] is a good guy. All actors have a dream role; playing Finnick Odair is mine. I know the odds are stacked against me. I'll be going up against big stars like Zac Efron and Armie Hammer, but you know what, I want it more and am very passionate about it, it's not just another job to me, it's much more than that. I'm not saying that it is for them. I was a fan before anyone knew the Hunger Games series would be made into movies. I read all the books the day they first came out and knew right there and then I wanted to play Finnick. I'm definitely the underdog in this race, but I'm committed and going to give it all I've got. As Effie Trinket says, "May the odds be ever in your favor."
What is your next project?
Two projects I recently finished: I have a small role in the upcoming Oliver Stone film, Savages. I play a character named Matt. He's a California surfer who is dating Magda, daughter of Salma Hayek's character, who gets hogtied by Aaron Johnson and Taylor Kitsch. I originally auditioned for another role that was cut, but Oliver saw my tape, liked it, and wrote me in a role that wasn't in the book. I was recently offered a role to play a country music star, and I had the opportunity to sing and play guitar, so I did it. That comes out in August. The title is currently being changed; I'll have to get back to you on that one, but follow me on Twitter @trevdon; I update stuff on there, along with other senseless ramblings. Oh, I also wrote the music to the song I sing in the movie. The production liked the song so much they bought it from me. I had a great time. Future projects — well, I don't want to get ahead of myself, but something is in the works. I'll let you know when — if — it happens.
90210 airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. Eastern.