You loved him on Life As We Know It and hated him even before his very first appearance on Veronica Mars, as rumors spread of his character causing a possible Logan-Veronica breakup. But in the end, Logan made his own bed, and we grew to adore sweet Piz, not to mention his portrayer, Chris Lowell.
This past spring, the 22-year-old landed a guest spot on the Grey’s Anatomy spinoff episode, which turned into a series-regular role on the highly anticipated fall series Private Practice. I ran into Chris recently and was more than pleased to discover he is as cool as he is foxy. See for yourself…
So, you're back on ABC now.
Back on. You know, Grey’s actually replaced Life As We Know It. We were on Thursdays at 9, and then Grey’s took over. I didn’t even realize this until my roommate and I went out to get the Grey’s DVDs [to study up for the part]. We get the DVDs, and my roommate’s like, "There’s only one CD. It says there’s only nine episodes." And I’m all, "No, no." So, I call my buddies who are big fans of the show, and I’m like, "How are there only nine episodes in the first season?" And they’re like, "Oh, it was a midseason replacement…of Life As We Know It." It was like, Wow. So, yeah, I did go full circle. But this new show, it’s gonna be a lot of fun.
Yes, but before we talk Private Practice, we gotta talk Veronica Mars. Do you miss it? Oh, yeah. I miss the people, seeing them every day. But I actually just went out with Ryan Hansen (Dick Casablancas) last night. He’s doing really well.
Greg Swhwartz/The CW
Were you at all surprised by the outpouring of fan protests over Piz coming between Logan and Veronica?
Well, [Veronica Mars creator] Rob Thomas sat me down at the beginning of the season last year and was like, "Listen, no matter what, people are going to hate you. They’re going to hate your character. So, don’t take it personally. People love Logan and Veronica together, so you’re sort of in a bad spot." [Laughs.] I mean, I thought I might get gunned down from the way he was talking. But you know, I watched the show. I was a fan, so I hated Piz. I wanted Logan and Veronica to stay together, too.
But to Rob's credit, by the end of the season, Piz was unhateable. He wrote him to be very sexy, in an understated sort of way.
You know what, thank you for saying sexy, but yeah, he wrote a very sexy, attractive character that was masked under this kind of reserved and disarming kid. I mean, like the character of Logan—and Jason Dohring just killed it, because he always looks at you like this [does his best impression of the Logan Echolls intense stare], and you’re like, "Wooh!" But he was just so aggressive and in your face, and Rob did a nice job of sort of countering that with this character [Piz] who still had the charm, but just a lot more under the radar.
A lot of fans are still sad about the series finale, which really didn't feel like a proper ending.
You know, I think it was totally one of those things where they rolled the dice and said, "We’re just gonna have a lot more questions than answers [and see what happens]." Unfortunately, they didn’t get the renewal, despite the fans, who were so awesome and really kept the show on the air as long as they could. But to be honest, I kind of lucked out, because I feel like Piz’s arc had a good bit of closure, more than a lot of others. I walked away feeling good about it.
And now I hear there may be a Veronica Mars comic-book series to keep the story going.
There’s going to be a comic book?! Is Piz going to be in it?!
Yeah, a guest spot on the most popular television drama rolled into a spinoff? You must've been psyched.
Yeah, I was. [Despite the fact that] our pilot was 48 minutes of me with my shirt off.
Ha-ha. Yeah, that was my next question.
[Laughs.] I’ll tell you, here’s what happened. I show up. We don’t read the script until that day. We’re doing the read-through and [creator] Shonda [Rhimes] and [executive producer] Betsy [Beers] come up, and they’re like, "All right, just so you know, you’re gonna do a shirtless scene. We want you to be in shape." And I’m like, "Yeah, okay, you know, sure. I’ll go do some sit-ups, no problem." And ‘cause I’d seen Grey's at that point, I knew the shirtless scenes are just quick; they fall into bed or whatever, and then it’s over. So, we start shooting it, and I’ve got this surfboard, and I walk through casually and just throw the line away. And they’re like, "No, no, no. Come on back, Chris. Yeah, get both cameras. Superslow motion. We’re gonna rake up your torso. Can we get some mist on him?" The makeup [effects artist] is literally radioing, "Is that, uh, sweat mist or, uh, sex mist?…Sex mist? Okay, copy." And then it was the kind of thing where they’re like, "Okay, that was good, Chris. But this time, we want you to drop the leash on the surfboard, bend over slowly, pick it up and catch them watching." It was like, Are you kidding?!
So, you like being an object of desire for these mature, experienced women.
Well, Kate [Walsh] and Amy [Brenneman] always wanna take me out to go cougar dancing.
Are those their words?
Oh, yeah. Those aren’t my words. I wouldn’t be so bold. But no, truthfully, you know what actually made it easier—because I was so embarrassed the whole day—they’ve all gone through the experience of being objectified, and there were a lot of chances for them to tear me apart with jokes, but they were very good and very sweet.
They didn't mother you, did they?
I get mothered when I want to be mothered, you know what I mean? Any time I want to be held or get a little back rub, you know, they’re game.
Give us some dirt. What's coming up on the show?
I can tell you this, which is great. [I sat down with the producers] and, you know, I walked into this meeting really stern, like I’m gonna demand no more shirtless scenes! So, I go in to state my case, and I walk right into this wall full of Emmys, and I’m like, "Okay, I’ve way overstepped my bounds." But they said, "Look, don’t worry, you’re not gonna have to take your shirt off again."
Well, not in this next episode. Not me, anyway. There will be other shirtless actors, don’t worry. But Dell, my character, one of the things they’ve added for him is that he’s studying to be a midwife. Like a holistic, Southern California midwife, and it’s actually a lot of fun, because I have a lot of really fun scenes with Kate, who’s this ob-gyn from Seattle Grace who’s used to a staff of, like, 20, and I’m sitting there gloving up like, Let’s go! Let’s have this baby!
So, which one of the cougars is gonna get their hands on you first—who's your Mrs. Robinson?
In a perfect world, Taye Diggs. In a perfect world. [Laughs.] I actually have no idea. Truthfully, we don’t get the scripts until we read them in front of people. But I think right now it’s still heading in the direction of Dell trying to pursue the Naomi character. I think they’re staying true to that. I think they’re gonna tone it down a little bit, because they sort of piled it on in the pilot. But there’s definitely a little something going on there.