So we’re hearing this Ed Westwick fellow is kind of popular.
Understatement of the century? Probably. There’s no denying that Gossip Girl‘s Chuck Bass is one of TV’s most iconic characters, with his outrageous outfits, snarky one-liners and ability to straddle the line between leading man and villain. There’s a reason he’s called the Dark Knight. Another reason he’s so popular? He’s one-half of one of the show’s fan favorite couples Chuck and Blair, also known belovedly as “Chair.”
We sat down with Westwick to talk about what’s ahead for Chuck and Blair (Leighton Meester), Chuck’s ability to defeat death, his feelings about Chuck’s evolution over the series and whether or not he’s ready to say goodbye to the show…
Are you surprised by how invested the show’s fans still are five seasons in, with your character especially?
Ed Westwick: Yeah, I am. I mean, it’s nuts. It’s still nuts. I was at the premiere for J. Edgar, this film I did a couple of months ago, and we were coming out of the premiere, which was at Mann’s Chinese Theatre, and I was crossing the street to the Roosevelt hotel where the cocktail reception was. I had to get a police escort acros the street and I was like, ‘What is going on right now?!’ It’s daunting, but it’s amazing that everyone’s really still digging the show. It’s great. We’re still having fun doing it, so it works all around, I guess.
Obviously, I have to ask about Chuck and Blair. What can you tell me that’s coming up for them?
What can I tell you that’s coming up? There’s a wedding. I mean, look, with regards to, for my character of Chuck, she’s his muse, she’s his obsession. It’s drawn-out, but it’s so like heavy. He’s so into her. It’s such a big deal for him. It’s taken on a thing, like she is the air that he breathes, I guess. He wants any cost to find a way to be with her and that’s what he’s doing for the rest of the reason, is trying, trying and trying. Of course, when something’s like that, sometimes you try bad methods, you try bad approaches. That’s kind of the flavor of our show anyway, double-crossing and what not. I still don’t know where it’s going to go, he’s just on a mission. What’s kind of interesting is he’s not devious in other ways like he was for the first three or four years and there was a bunch of stuff, like family that he was trying to figure out. It’s not really at the forefront of his mind now. It’s just how do I get to be with the girl. But if it was me, I would tell her to go and get lost a million years ago because I don’t care…there’s other people out there. That’s kind of what I want to do: I want to grab Chuck Bass and say, ‘There are other people out there, man. It’s not cool!’
Can you tease Chuck’s role in the 100th episode at all?
There is a wedding. There’s a car accident. That already happened. It just all goes together. Well, obviously, I survive that.
Death is kind of Chuck’s bitch at this point. He’s escaped it several times now.
[Laughs.] He’s the man of steel. It’s like that film Final Destination. That’s what it is! I’ll make the transition to Final Destination 55 or whatever. He just can’t be killed. I’ll just keep the franchise alive.
Looking at everything the writers have put Chuck and Blair through, do you think a happily ever after is even possible for them?
It’s an interesting question, because you think about it in yourself. I mean, how much is when enough’s enough? We’ve probably both been through relationships where so much has happened. It can be tainted, but it can just be too heavy. No matter how much you’re in love with someone, things can just be too heavy. And if it were me, as I was saying, you just need to pack bags, move away, you’ve got the money, go live in Tahiti or something. There’s no need to be there anymore. Of course, it’s what everyone wants to see, but I think that’s the interesting and alluring thing: how do they get them to come together, or will they?
Why do you think fans are so invested in Chuck Blair? What is it about them that has turned “Chair” into this iconic TV couple?
Look, for everything they have going for them, the money and the wit and everything, they’re still kind of an underdog couple because they’re still battling an uphill struggle: the external influences of everyone else in their world trying to get something from them or trying to get them. It’s tragic in that way. It’s kind of funny because I’m going to do Romeo and Juliet, the film, and in a way it kind of resembles that. That’s a romance tragedy and, in a way, Chuck and Blair are a romance tragedy. So much has happened that if they can’t get it together then that’s the tragedy because they do love each other and there’s been so much external influence. It’s everything else going on around you when you know it should just be you two.
When the possibility of a Dan and Blair romance was brought into the show, did you kind of go, ‘Really? Dan and Blair?’
I wasn’t like, ‘Really?’ because they had to do something. It’s season five. There are moments when I’m like, ‘Really? Come on!’ Because if it’s me, if I hate someone, I rarely am going to 180 it and be like, ‘I love you!’ That doesn’t happen for me. But in the world of television and the world of where we have to make stories that work, I guess you have to say anything’s possible. I think they have been smart about it. The character of Dan’s changed a lot. I find it funny because, even though I work on the show, I would not behave in anyway like these people. Maybe that’s what we like because it drives us nuts, like, ‘What are you doing?!’
How do you feel about Chuck’s evolution over the course of the series and season five?
I’ve enjoyed it so much. In the beginning, he was just this kind of brat, this total brat and I enjoyed it a lot. I had a lot of fun playing with that and then we explored it and realized that there was this heart that had just been beaten down so much. Or a heart that had been ignored that it no longer knew how to beat really. Then this thing with Blair really was the ultimate kind of growth of that. The only thing that came out of everything was this girl embodies everything that I need in order to live. Look, it’s been really good. There’s things I miss. I miss the cocky one-liners. They’re still there, but it’s kind of in a different way now. I think in a way, he’s probably the most mature out of all of them, especially this season, which isn’t fun! No matter how old you are, people still obsess over one person or are so in love with one person and if it’s a soulmate and you feel that kind of connection then that’s what’s going to happen. Look, he’s got his business under control. He’s the youngest successful business man ever. Doogie Howser.
There’s always a lot of speculation going into each new season about who will return. You guys are contracted for six years, so could you see life going on with Chuck Bass beyond next season, should the show get a sixth season, or do you feel like that’s a good endmark for the show?
Yeah, I think that’s the end.
So you’re ready to say goodbye to Chuck Bass and the bowties?
No, no! I think that will be the end of that and then it’ll be time for me to do something else.
You filmed J. Edgar and are working on Romeo and Juliet, are you hoping to transition to film or are you open to doing more TV after Gossip Girl?
Absolutely, but I never say never to anything. I’m just happy to be doing a job that I love. This is a fantastic job to be able to do and a fantastic industry to work in. I love working in America, I love being part of the industry out here. But look, it’s been a fantastic experience with the show and if we do one more year, I’m sure it’ll be a great culmination of everything. I’m definitely ready to mix it up and do other things. I’m an actor; I want to play roles, not a role.