If Ed Westwick is stressing about his latest TV project, ‘White Gold’ - a comedy drama based in 1980s Essex alongside one half of the celebrated ‘Inbetweeners’ quartet - he’s doing a good job of hiding it.
As he tells HuffPostUK, the ‘Gossip Girl’ star just doesn’t see the point of worrying about what audiences will think of his swaggering, bluffing, chancing double-glazing salesman Vincent Swan, something he’s discovered the hard way:
“There’s no point. I had something last year for NBC and everyone was loving it, it was the best pilot script ever, everyone promoted the shit out of it, and it tanked, it absolutely died,” he remembers ruefully.
“That was my first experience of that. I felt let down, it hadn’t been executed in the way I thought it was going to be, and I was the face to it and it died. But very quickly, I had an initial conversation with my agent, who told me, ‘it’s not your fault,’ so I don’t think about things outside my control any more.
“I would have felt more pressure now if that hadn’t happened. I know with this, the material’s good, we had a fucking laugh doing it, I enjoyed it when I watched it, and everyone else who’s watched it likes it, so fingers crossed.”
Judging by the reception that greeted the first showing of ‘White Gold’, starring Ed, Joe Thomas, James Buckley and also penned by ‘Inbetweeners’ co-creator Damon Beesley, it doesn’t seem like anyone has to worry. The characters are broad and silly, the storylines based on a 1980s sense of aspiration remembered by everyone over a certain age, the music loud, brash and instantly redolent of its time (the first scenes leap into life with Laura Brannigan’s ‘Gloria’ - what’s not to love?) and at the centre of it, slick, suave and tirelessly confident, Ed’s leading man, Vincent Swan.
“It was quite exhausting to play him, I’m pretty much in every scene,” he admits. “The dialogue is fantastic, but it was a lot at times in what were often constructed shots, so it was a test of all my skills for sure, but I had a lot of fun playing in this world, it just made me laugh.”
Between sweet-talking his way into a job and pretending to be a master of golf in order to secure another deal, it is clear Vincent isn’t a man to let inability get in the way of adventure. Ed says, contrary to how he appeared in his most famous role, that of Chuck Bass in ‘Gossip Girl’, that in real life he’s by no means a blagger.
“I’m not like that, I’m the first to admit I’m shit at something, but my brother is. I couldn’t overlook the fact that my older brother used to sell timeshare, so growing up, there was always that presence around, it was great to be able to draw on,” he remembers.
“My other brother is a blagger as well, so I had these two characters close to home, plus the writing coming alive from the page, plus people you meet or see.
“The thing about Vince is, he’s not a alien, we all know them.
“There was a kid growing up in my class who was exactly like that - always pushing, but knowing somehow how to do it, and getting what he wanted.”
“Maybe that’s what attractive about it.”
‘White Gold’ stars tomorrow (Wednesday) at 10pm on BBC Two.