Sex Lives of College Girls’ Andrew is not a likable character. Like at all. And I really tried. I mean he’s cute, tall, a serious smarty (all the things my mom told me to look for in a man). But unfortunately, he’s an absolute dick. And in his first few appearances on season two of the HBO show, his rude, misogynistic comments toward Bela and Whitney wipe away any of those previously-mentioned positive attributes. But still, I found myself rooting for Andrew. Not because I liked the character, but because I liked the actor, or at least felt some sort of connection to him. You see, Charlie Hall, the man behind the angry, awkward science nerd, is actually a former classmate of mine. No, we never fought over a science lab together, but we both attended Northwestern University, and while we didn’t cross paths (he was on the basketball team, I was a journalism nerd), there’s a kinship that’s forged between those who have suffered through Chicagoland winters and the quarter system together.
And while not all the viewers of Sex Lives have gone to school with Hall, they’re likely familiar with his pedigree. The actor might as well have been made in a lab by a comedic Dr. Frankenstein (a Lorne Michaels type perhaps). A sprinkle of Seinfeld and Veep’s Julia Louis-Dreyfus, a dash of writer, director, and actor Brad Hall (both Northwestern Wildcats as well I may add). But in a world where “nepo baby” has become as unspeakable as the name Voldemort, Hall is refreshingly honest and understanding of the benefits of his upbringing and the path that led him to acting. Below, we discuss growing up in a comedic household, working with Mindy Kaling and the Sex Lives cast, and returning to college to play Andrew.
So, how did the role on Sex Lives of College Girls come to be?
I auditioned for a different part and they liked me, but didn't think I was right for that one. So, they were like, “Hey, what about this part of Andrew?” And I was like, “Yeah, I'll do anything. This show's awesome and you're awesome. Just tell me where to go and where to stand and I'll try not to fuck it up.” It was actually a total pivot into this kind of dick, douchey role, which was super fun.
Were you a fan of the first season?
Oh yeah, and I'm such a fan of Mindy [Kaling] in general. I grew up watching a lot of stuff she wrote and was in. But everybody on the show is so talented and there's just not a lot of shows like it in terms of a sort of younger-skewing comedies that are truly funny. It felt really fresh in that first season.
One of the things I love about the show is that there’s a revolving door of men, when usually it’s the women who get cycled through.
A hundred percent. They sort of flip the sitcom idea of that revolving door. They flip the genders there, which is so much fun. And I'm honored to be part of that revolving door.
So you play a science nerd, and though as Northwestern grad, I think we’re all proudly nerds, Andrew seems a bit more extreme than you. Did you take inspiration from some of your former classmates?
A hundred percent. The role was pretty foreign to me in terms of personality. He’s very intense and academically inclined. Not that I wasn't academically inclined, but I was never incredibly serious about it to the point where I would get mad at a classmate. I had to dig deep into the Northwestern memory archives and find things to pull from. Although, I had a ton of friends that were into science and math and were totally cool and laid back. But yes, I definitely had to find inspiration, so I was glad I went to a nerdy school.
Did you even take science in college?
No, as soon as I graduated high school I was like, I'm never touching numbers again, if possible. And I was basically able to avoid science and math at Northwestern. I was just so bad at it. I would have liked to try it. I think it's all fascinating and cool. I just suck.
What was it like to be back on a college campus to film the season?
It was a total trip being back, especially being in the big auditorium for those first few episodes. You just think once you leave college, you're never going back. But I've sort of perpetually been stuck in school because I've played mostly college and high school students, so I can’t really escape it. But it was nice because I love the energy of a campus, especially if it's a pretty one. So I enjoyed being at University of Washington.
What was it like to work with the cast?
They're unbelievably talented, almost intimidatingly so. But they're all so nice and, honestly, just watching them interact with each other is such a joy because they really do enjoy each other's company. Sometimes that's not the case behind the scenes. To see them make each other laugh when the cameras aren't rolling was really refreshing. And I just felt super lucky to work with Alyah [Chanelle Scott]. She's so good and still feels so real and human even while being funny, which is really hard to do. I really lucked out. They're all wonderful.
Do you think there’s a chance you’ll return for season three?
If they let Andrew come back, maybe he's a changed man. Maybe he's a little nicer. Whitney chose her [biochemistry] major so we may intersect again. I hope so, because it was so much fun. Only time will tell.
There seems to be a lot of backsliding on the show too. Hooking up with old exes.
Yeah, that’s real life. We all do that. Especially in college when you're running into old hookups constantly.
Growing up, you were surrounded by actors. Did you always know that you wanted to go into the industry?
No, definitely not. I was never against going into the industry, but up until college, my life was very basketball-oriented. Not that I wanted to do that professionally, but I loved it enough to where I wasn't really thinking about anything else. Like you said, both my parents are obviously in the industry and both are super funny. I was always surrounded by comedy. I knew I wanted to do something in the realm of funny, but I didn't know exactly what until very late.
When did you have that realization?
I was a film major at NU because I always loved movies, so I was basically like, “Cool, I'll do that for homework.” And then I made a web series with my best friend. We didn't want to pay anyone else to be in it so I just decided I would act in it and I ended up really liking it. Then I decided, “Okay, since I'm not even close to being good enough to play in the NBA, I might as well try to do this.” So that was kind of the wake-up call.
You actually acted alongside your mom in an episode of Veep. What was that like?
That was actually my very first set experience. And that was before I knew I wanted to be an actor. But it was so fun and a nice introduction because I knew most of the people there. It already felt like family. They'd been doing Veep for a while and I was obviously very comfortable with my mom, so that was easy. Although, it was a little strange, I didn't know what to call her on set. I didn't know if I should be like, “Hey mom” or not. But that was a really nice sort of soft opening to the world of acting for me. And it was very comfortable and a total blast. And I think my mom took a thousand pictures so it's very well documented.
What are some of the positives and negatives of having parents in the industry?
I'll be honest, I can't think of that many negatives. I guess they're both way better than me at what they do. So I'm like, “Goddammit, you motherfuckers.” But no, I think it's really positive because it's not like they're hovering over me and making sure I do things a certain way. I'm really kind of carving my own way, which has been great. And I get free advice whenever I need it from people who know what they're talking about. So it's been nothing but a really huge blessing, honestly. Tons of positives, not a ton of negatives.
Who are you dying to work with next?
Well, one of the people I really wanted to work with was Mindy Kaling. So, that's awesome. But I would say I always skew to comedy. One of my acting idols is Jake Johnson from New Girl. I love him so much and I would love to work with him.
I would also love to do a big huge, crazy action movie. I've been thinking about that recently. That would be so much fun to just do as many stunts as possible without putting my life in jeopardy. Just fly the planes and all that and then inevitably hurt myself horribly.
Would you work with your mom and dad more if you get the chance?
One hundred percent. If they let me. I think we would have a total blast. It would be really cool if we could all do something together. I would love to act with my mom or have my dad direct something I'm in.
Have you watched Seinfeld?
My brother's a huge fan. I think he's seen all, if not most of Seinfeld. But I was younger so I'm much more familiar with Veep and even The New Adventures of Old Christine than I am Seinfeld. I really should see more of it because it is really, really funny.