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How to Get Away with Murder, Jack Falahee

ABC/Mitchell Haaseth

It's been a phenomenal run so far for TV's number one new drama: How to Get Away With Murder.

Not only did 21 million viewers tune in for the premiere—making it the No. 1 new show, and most-watched TV drama for anyone under the age of 50—and Viola Davis has consistently proven she deserves every award out there, but the series has continued to break ground when it comes to diversity in casting and edgy LGBT storylines. And sex scenes.

And in the middle of it all, Jack Falahee has become pretty much insta-famous.

Before landing his role as Connor Walsh, the gay law student who has had some extremely steamy sex scenes (if you didn't blush, you should check you're not dead), Falahee was an unemployed actor who worked as a Lyft driver.

Life has changed.

Here, the 25-year-old Michigan native talks about what it's been like to become known, the reaction to his character's gay sex scenes, a recent freak-out in front of Denzel Washington, and more…

[Check back a bit later for part two of this interview: With scoop on Connor and Oliver, and the reveal of Sam's killer!]

You are pretty much the biggest overnight sensation of fall TV. How's the lack of anonymity treating you?
Honestly, it's still so new! I'm just barely getting used to it, I think. I don't know if you ever do, maybe over  time? But for me, it's nuts. It's bananas. I was just checking my mother into a hotel and the woman behind the desk said, 'I love the show and your character!' and my mom, who is from the Midwest, was blown away. And I said, 'It happens now and it's crazy.' It's really heartwarming just to see that people are responding how they are to the show.

Any truly crazy fan encouters yet?
Honestly, everyone has been super kind and respectful. Which I think maybe was a little surprising to me. I think the only crazy experience I've had was, I was going to see Pippin at the Pantages Theater. I went on opening night and I was…sort of stampeded. I was rushed going into the theater by fans. I was sort of in a state of disbelief. Like, they can't possibly be running at me?!  But even then people were really respectful and just asked for photos and some autographs and had some very nice things to say.

How to Get Away with Murder, Jack Falahee

ABC/Mitchell Haaseth

You have been part of some pretty explicit gay sex scenes that we haven't really seen before on mainstream, network TV. And that's become a talking point lately. Do you feel a sense of responsibility to the LGBT community? And how does it feel to be a part of that? 
I think it's great that people are relating to Connor and other characters on the show on a lot of different levels. And the fact that there are members of the LGBT community, and friends of the community, that are feeling just pleased and happy to see a character on TV that is depicted in maybe a positive light, I think that's great. I don't know that I feel a responsibility necessarily. I think for me at the end of the day, it's a job and I just go in and I'm glad that Pete [Nowalk]'s written a real honest character. I try to do my best each day to take it and run with it.

I am glad that people are talking about it and that it's sparked the conversation. I think that that's the aim of entertainment. And if we can have a dialogue about it, it can become more accepted. TV is sort of catching up and it's been very black and white what we've seen on the screen and very paranormative and patriarchal and I think that now that we're exploring it, it's something that's being talked about which is great. And even now, there's a lot of content being made that is shedding an honest light on who people are and real people and at the end of the day that's what Pete [Nowalk] has created. Real people. And that's fantastic.

You told me at the SAG event over the weekend that you had a British friend staying on your couch who kept getting callbacks for the role of Connor and you weren't, and it was killing you quietly. And then I heard that you were up for another pilot, and that's how you got back on the How to Get Away casting director's radar? What's the story there?
It's true that I was testing for another TV show pilot, a pilot called Agatha. I'm not sure that they were related, but it was more probable that it was coincidental. They had circled back on some audition tapes and came back on my audition tape at the same time I was testing for Agatha. But it had become for me extremely high stakes. I tested for Agatha one day and How to Get Away the second day, in second position. So if Agatha had wanted me, I could not have done How To Get Away. Deep inside as the unemployed actor that was driving for Lyft, I really just wanted to get a job, any job, but I really really wanted to get How to Get Away so I'm glad that it did.

Tell me everything about working with Viola Davis.
She's a treasure. For me it's really a dream come true, which sounds cliché but I remember seeing her in New York doing Fences when I was still in drama school. So I have been a fan of hers for years. She is the real deal.

Denzel Washington, Instagram

Instagram

And she's had some famous friends come to set?
Denzel [Washington] came by one day and came up to one of our table reads, and he actually sat right across from me at the read, and I can't even tell you how nervous I was at that read! That table read everybody was throwing in a little bit of bravado, and giving an extra inch for Denzel. He was just sitting there nodding and was really into it. It was crazy. 

Check back this afternoon for  part two of this interview with Jack Falahee, with scoop on Sam's killer and Connor and Oliver!