Ryan Rottman – Happyland
Q) “Happyland” has become a quick guilty pleasure show for fans. Why do you think that is?
A) I think it is partly because it is such a different concept that people aren’t used to. Drama in a theme park? That’s pretty fun. Also, it is just the whole “what’s going to happen” aspect. Ian kisses his sister Lucy. They find out about it. How are they going to deal with it? Ian kissed Harper. It’s kind of all over the place. I think people are drawn to the drama aspect and all of the hookups. Obviously, the theme park aspect is also pretty cool.
Q) What was it about the role or the show that made you want to be a part of it?
A) The big theme for me was the theme park aspect. I had never seen anything like this and it was really intriguing for me to dive into something that was fresh on TV. And it’s always fun to play the jerk or the ass. At my audition, they asked me to play it like Scott Disick. That’s how I played it. I’m always giving people crap on the show. It’s really fun. I’ve played the new guy that comes to town who is mysterious, but never full-on mean guy. It was really fun!
Q) Did you talk to anyone who worked at a theme park when taking on your role as Theodore?
A) Our creator wrote this great pilot episode. He interviewed a whole bunch of people who worked at theme parks and when they brought us on, they gave us a chance to talk to them. So, we got a chance to talk to people who work there and listen to their stories of the in’s and out’s of what happens. It blew my mind. I couldn’t believe what happened behind those closed doors. A lot of the stuff in the script does actually happen at theme parks. When they walked into the Haunted House and saw like three people having an orgy, that was one of the stories that we heard from people who worked there. They all go around to the different parks where they party and hook up. It’s really intriguing, funny and weird all at the same time. You go to these parks and you never think about it. That’s what happens behind closed doors or when the park is closed. It’s pretty interesting to think about and now you know you’ll think of a theme park differently.
Q) Was there anything you added to your role that wasn’t originally scripted for you?
A) Originally, when he was scripted he was kind of this arrogant jerk. Once I got the role and took it all in, I said that he has to have some redeeming quality to make the audience feel for him and he is Ian’s brother. He runs the park and you want people to care about him as well because everything he is doing is extreme and crazy, but he is doing it out of love for his family or with the best intentions behind him. I think as the season goes on, you’ll start to see why he does the things he does and he starts to come around a little bit. You’ll start to see where he is coming from where in the beginning he was just kind of the antagonist. As the season goes on, you will start to like him and even kind of root for him.
Q) You mentioned that there will be some redeeming moments for Theodore to come. What can you tell us about them?
A) Ian asks Theodore if his father ever cheated on their mom and he kind of takes the brotherly act. He is very truthful with him and helps him grow up. Little things like that show the softer side and that he actually is a good brother and not just a boss.
Q) What can you tease will be some moments where there are blurred lines between Theodore the boss and letting his guard down?
A) He is always the boss, but then he starts to let his guard down and become a little more compassionate about what is going on. It’s still crazy because so much drama happens and crazy things that he definitely has his job cut out for him. He is constantly having to make wrongs right. There happens to be a dead guy at the park. Then, all sorts of craziness happens because he has to figure out how to get this dead guy out because no one has ever died at Happyland before. So, he definitely starts to let his guard down in that episode. I don’t think he has has ever been presented with something like this before and he’s usually on top of his game.
Q) What have been some of your most memorable moments from filming?
A) The dead guy in the park was really fun. The older gentleman who was playing the dead guy was pretty funny. He couldn’t keep his eyes closed while he was supposed to be dead. They would call “Action” and he’d close his eyes. Then, something would happen and his eyes would peek open. It was really, really funny and refreshing at the same time because I had all the lines. We kept having to redo it and reshoot it because he couldn’t keep his eyes closed. It was really kind of a joke on set. He had one job on set and he couldn’t keep his eyes closed. When we weren’t shooting, he wouldn’t get out of his wheelchair either. He would just sit there and fall asleep. He couldn’t keep his eyes open the whole time weren’t filming, but the minute they called “Action” his eyes would pop open. That was like at five in the morning too so we were all kind of delirious. Shane Harper, I enjoy all our scenes together. The chemistry that we have on screen, especially for brothers, really plays and we play off each other really well. Most of our scenes together are really fun.
Q) Is there anyone you haven’t filmed that many scenes with that you would like to work a little more with?
A) Kat McNamara and I really don’t have that many scenes and Camille Guaty and I have some, but not many. When we do have scenes together they are always good and she is a great actress. Everyone is great. I enjoy more group scenes when we are all in them together. It’s usually me and one other person. They get to do kind of the fun shots with the local restaurant and hanging out. That comes more in the season, but I’d like to be a little more included in the group atmosphere.
Q) What makes “Happyland” such a great fit for MTV?
A) I think it fits in nicely because MTV has been picking up a lot more scripted shows that I think people can relate to. After “Awkward” and “Faking It,” which are great shows and have great drama, “Happyland” comes in and gives you that drama and also has the comedy aspect. As the episodes go on, we all kind of got in a groove together. It gets funnier and funnier as we play off each other better. It’s something different and I think people that watch MTV are really intrigued by that whole theme park world. It really fits the demographic and what we deal with on the show is something that people can relate to (obviously, people aren’t kissing their brother or sister). People fall in love and if it is someone you can’t be with then so be it like a friend’s exgirlfriend or exboyfriend. I think people can relate to it and it deals with something that may be going on in their life.
Q) You are a part of social media. Do you enjoy the instant fan feedback you receive when episodes air?
A) It’s really cool. I had done one other Twitter Q&A before for “The Lying Game.” MTV is really big on social media and we’ve done a lot of Twitter parties. It’s really cool seeing people like the show and want to know more about it. It makes you feel good when you put so much work into something. It’s really cool and I’ve been really enjoying it. I love my fans and I love the fans of the show. Without them we don’t have jobs!
Q) Is there anything else you would like to share with “Happyland” fans?
A) Craziness ensues! Keep watching. It really gets better and better. I think people will see that and hopefully tune in to see Theodore crack some whips.
Tune-in to “Happyland” on MTV on Tuesday’s @ 11 p.m.