The Betty Interview: Matthew Settle
The Gossip Girl star (and hottest dad on TV!) confides in BettyConfidential about life as a new parent, what it’s like to work with Taylor Momsen, and why he’s glad he has his on-screen family to lean on.
Today’s a big day for Matthew Settle. Not only is his hit show Gossip Girl airing tonight (9 p.m. EST, CW), but the North Carolina native-turned-New Yorker makes his Broadway debut as Billy Flynn in Chicago. “I’m always up for a new challenge,” Matthew, 40, tells BettyConfidential.
That’s a good thing since the actor has a lot on his plate these days. Aside from doing eight live shows a week for the musical, he’s also learning how to adapt to being a dad to daughter Aven, 1, while surviving the ups-and-downs of divorce. His onscreen alter ego doesn’t have it much better, either. As the sexiest dad on TV, Matthew’s character Rufus Humphrey suddenly finds himself in a love triangle with his wife Lily (Kelly Rutherford) and her ex (William Baldwin), who happens to be the estranged dad Serena (Blake Lively) has been looking for all season. “There’s never a shortage of drama, when it comes to Gossip Girl,” Matthew says with a laugh. You can say that again!
Billy Flynn in Chicago is a role of a lifetime!
Yeah, along with Band of Brothers and Gossip Girl, I think it may be the most fun I’ve ever had in my career.
Stars like Richard Gere, Jerry Orbach, Billy Zane and Usher have all played the tap-dancing lawyer before you. Is that intimidating?
Richard Gere is a hero of mine, but you can’t step into a role thinking about the people who played it before you. You have to make it your own. I hope to give Billy a fresh take, and maybe bring a little more tragedy under that grand skin of his. It’s an exciting role to play.
Are your Gossip Girl cast mates coming to see you in your 10-week run?
I hope so. They all say they’re going to. My only request is that they not bring tomatoes!
The cast really does seem like one big family offset. Have you grown to feel like a dad to Penn Badgley (Dan) and Taylor Momsen (Jenny)?
Absolutely. Every time they’re down, I try to find out what’s wrong and try to be communicative without being too invasive. They’re helpful as well. Like if I’m having a day where I’m off, and I didn’t sleep well the night before, they’re there to ask me if everything is okay. It goes both ways. It’s a wonderful group of people to work with. I’m very fortunate.