Cameron Scoggins – Nashville
By: Jamie Steinberg
Q) What are the recent projects that you are working on?
A) Yes, I’m also currently reoccurring on “Shades of Blue.” On that show, I play Ray Liotta’s son. It’s a lot of fun to work with a legend like Ray Liotta.
Q) What made you want to be a part of the series “Nashville?”
A) It was an audition for me and I did a taping at my agency, where I feel very comfortable doing tapings. It’s a very rare feeling when a character slips on to you and it feels right and it feels close to home enough where it feels obtainable – especially for an audition purpose where you’re just in a blue room. I was also attached because Zach sort of comes out of left field in terms of the show that Nashville is where it has a definitive feel to it. Zach is sort of a left-wing character that enters the fray. It was really exciting to know that he has a trajectory throughout the seasons, but to not necessarily know where it was going to go sometimes (as happens in TV). I liked his awkwardness and how different he was.
Q) How was your character Zach Welles originally described to you?
A) He was really described to me simply as a Silicon billionaire who is a super fan of Rayna James (Connie Britton). He would enter the music scene or Highway 65 and in some way shape or form. I actually don’t think that was alluded to at all. It was very, very simple. There was a lot of the canvas left blank to fill in for myself and then once I had the part it became clearer where things were headed. But they definitely wanted Zach to feel like a slow burn in terms of “Do we like this guy? Do we not like this guy? Who is he? What is he going to be in the future of this thing?” It was all really interesting to see that all play out.
Q) What was it about Rayna and Highway 65 that really drew Zach to them?
A) Zach was a fan of Rayna since he was a kid. Zach had sort of a troubled past with an ailing mother whom he took care of for most of his life. He was sort of isolated because of that. He was mostly taking care of his mother and taught himself to code during that time. Rayna was one of those artists that sort of pulled him through those hard times, as he describes it. I think he fell in love with her honesty and her charm I guess.
Q) Was it originally revealed to you that he’d be having a relationship with Will or did that come out later to you?
A) No, that was something that came up to me. It was a little bit of a surprise for Chris Carmack and I, but it was really wonderful to get to work with Chris on that relationship. He’s a lot of fun to work with. I loved working with Chris. But that was a surprise to both of us. I think in the initial character description for Zach Welles they did mention that he would eventually be shown as gay. In terms of who he would be in a relationship with or what pursuit he was on was unclear until midway through the season or so.
Q) Fans have been rooting for Zach and Will to reconcile. Is there a chance for them?
A) Are they rooting? I don’t know if they are. I feel like Zach gets the most hate out of all the Will Lexington boyfriends, which I understand. We don’t really know his motivations as it pertains to Highway 65, but also to Will. That was purposely left unclear for a while, but I would still say that there are feelings there and words that need to be shared that haven’t quite been said to each other yet.
Q) We hope that Will and Zach have a storyline still to pursue, but would you prefer Zach to start something with someone new?
A) Well, that’s hard to say because we’re currently seeing Zach has moved on. But like I said, there are still feelings and things that need to be said between Will and Zach. I just want some characters to be happy for once in a while on this show. [laughs] So whatever happens, I hope it is to the betterment of our boy. I feel like they still need to talk some things out.
Q) Will we get a look into more of Zach’s background this season?
A) I’m not sure. I think Zach will remain a bit of a mystery this season in terms of his background. I’m going to go with that.
Q) How is Deacon and Zach’s partnership going to develop this season?
A) Without giving anything away, I will say that in the next episode or so there will be another big surprise that Zach Welles brings to Highway 65’s future, but I don’t want to giveaway too much. There will be another changeup at Highway 65 coming shortly – for Zach and Highway 65.
Q) Was there someone you were hoping to have a scene with that you have yet to work with?
A) That’s a really good question. I never got to work with Hayley Jordan, played by Rhiannon Giddens. That was a real shame because Rhiannon and I knew each other from Greensboro, North Carolina where I grew up and she lived for a while. She still bases herself there sometimes. It was a real shame that I didn’t get to work with Rhiannon, but I did get to see her around set. In terms of everyone else, because Zach is involved with Highway 65 I’ve really gotten to work with pretty much the entire cast, in terms of musical characters and the managerial characters as well like Bucky (David Alford) and Glenn (Ed Amatrudo). I love working with Charles Esten. He’s a hoot! He’s so much fun to work with. The guy never stops, in terms of his professionalism and showing up to work. Also, he never stops with the jokes and the laughs so it’s a really fun time when Chip is on set.
Q) As far as music goes, did you do any research into running a label or the music industry?
A) In terms of research, I came pretty well prepared. I am, myself, a super fan of country music – mostly older, original country music. I also play guitar and banjo. I play Bluegrass and Country music. Marshall [Herskovitz], Callie [Khouri] and I had a discussion about whether Zach would eventually play music, but I don’t think his character really allows for it at this point. It’s funny because I do play guitar and banjo. That is my musical speciality, if there is one. It’s possible. The conversation has happened, that’s all I will say.
Q) We’re also seeing you on “Shades of Blue,” as you mentioned. What have you taken away from working alongside of costar Ray Liotta?
A) There is so many things that I take away from working with Ray Liotta. My biggest thing is he is generous to a fault. He gives 100% of himself on every take – whether it be his coverage or your coverage he is there for you and in it. The amount of emotion and energy that he shows up with to work is impressive. It’s something to strive for, I’d say.
Q) You frequently take on dramatic roles. Is there something about this genre that draws you to it?
A) Right now, I’m still starting out in my career so it tends to lean more towards things that find me. Hopefully, it comes to a point where I do have some choice in the matter, but right now I don’t want to say “no” to anything. Right now, I’m casting my nets very wide in terms of what I go in for and what type of shows I go out for. The two things that have stuck most recently have been dramatic, episodic serial shows. It’s been interesting ot work in that world. I love it. I love television. I love the day-to-day of the job and the community that you build and the family you create. So, I’ve really been enjoying my time working in television for now. Like I said, I try to take whatever comes my way. I’ve been very fortunate this last year.
Q) You are a part of social media. Do you enjoy the instant fan feedback you receive during episodes?
A) It was rough for Zach, but it was very interesting. “Nashville” is really the first time I’ve ever had that happen. “The Nashies” are a very true fanbase. They are very loyal and love their show. I respect that and admire that. It was amazing. I’d never been a part of the social media experience in that way before and it was very interesting. I love hearing back from people. I love getting reactions. Even with the negative reactions to Zach, it means I’ve done my job well. So, I take it as a compliment. [laughs]
Q) What would you like to say to everyone who is a fan and supporter of you and your work?
A) I thank them for reaching out as much as they do. I thank them for watching every week. They are literally why the show is still running I venture to say that the fanbase of “Nashville” is one of the strongest television or cultural fanbases out there working right now. It is rare that a television show is cancelled revived due to a petition of fans. So, I want to thank them for their loyalty and continuing to watch the show. I want them to know we really do hear them and listen to them and we’re discussing what they are discussing too. So, it’s always great to hear from them.