ABC Family always knows how to tug at my heart strings, and the first three episodes of the networks new drama ‘Chasing Life’ have done just that. You don’t have to have personal experiences with cancer to know that it bites, but ‘Chasing Life’ does more than just show us that cancer sucks. This new series is a refreshing look at the life of a young twenty-something professional who finds out that she has leukemia, but does not let that stand in the way of her continuing to chase her life goals. I got to speak with ‘Chasing Life’ star Scott Michael Foster this week about his mysterious character (Leo Hendrie) and what it is that makes ‘Chasing Life’ so great.
TVRage: Before we start, I have to say that I was really excited to get the chance to do this interview, I have been a fan of yours since ‘Greek’.
Scott Michael Foster: Thank you so much!
TVRage: Although ‘Chasing Life’ deals with a very serious topic the show still comes off as surprisingly optimistic and feel-good. Is it difficult to work with such a serious topic like cancer and make it feel relatable and light-hearted?
Foster: What’s amazing about that is we have such great writers who can make material about a subject matter that is, and can be, very heavy or at times even depressing. They make it light-hearted and real. The thing is when people go through something like this they are still people with real life problems, but they also have family and friends who support and love them. The writers did such a great job to take a subject matter that can be really depressing and really sad and keep it light-hearted. We, the actors, definitely owe it all to them.
TVRage: We haven’t gotten a chance to see a lot of Leo yet on ‘Chasing Life’, but it is clear that he has a strained relationship with his father and a complicated past. So far we have learned he went to boarding school in Switzerland, lived in Paris and was arrested at an airport for trying to smuggle pot. Are we going to learn a little more about his past and why he is “off-limits” for the press this season?
Foster: Yes! You are going to find out fairly soon. There is a lot going on with Leo, and obviously at the end of the last episode we saw he was in the cancer support group. You don’t really know why, you don’t know if he is there for his own reasons or if he is there to support someone else. Next episode you are going to find out a whole lot more about who Leo is, why he acts the way he does. You are going to find out why his relationship with his father is so strained a lot of this stuff will start to make sense. I don’t want to give anything away so I will just say stay tuned.
TVRage: My next question was really going to tie into that. In the last episode of ‘Chasing Life’ there was a huge cliff-hanger at the end of the episode involving Leo. So far we have only been introduced to your character as him being a bit of an arrogant, privileged son. But now there is the added mystery of why he was at a cancer support group. I am really excited to learn if he there for himself, or someone else.
Foster: (laughs) Yeah, you really do have to stay tuned and find out. What I can say is, going back to the last point of “who he is,” why he is there and who April finds out he is through their support group relationship is going to reveal a lot of answers. You will definitely find out very soon.
TVRage: Do you enjoy playing characters like that? Ones who are initially shrouded in mystery and then they slowly come out of their shell as we learn more about them.
Foster: I always think it is more interesting when it is a character that you can’t pinpoint. Like with Cappie on ‘Greek,’ he had a veil of mystery to him as well, just like Leo on ‘Chasing Life.’ When you don’t know something about a character it makes them more intriguing. As an actor I get to not only talk to the writers about what they have in mind, but I get to do my own thing as well and there is an air of mystery. There is more play room. I would say those types of characters are more up my alley than someone who you can, at first glance, pinpoint everything about them.
TVRage: Is this connection between Leo and April going to turn into a friendship, or more of a love/hate relationship?
Foster: I would say it is probably a little of all three. There is going to be some love, some hate and some friendship. We shot the whole season, so twenty-one episodes have been filmed, you guys have only seen three. There is a whole lot of things that happen, there are a whole lot of experiences that April and Leo share together. Like any relationship you will have moments of love, moments of hate and moments of in-betweens. I think you will see a lot of it and I think you will be pleasantly surprised where it goes with them.
Don’t miss the next episode of ‘Chasing Life’ on ABC Family this Tuesday at 9pm ET/PT. You can follow Scott Michael Foster on Twitter at @scottmfoster.