When your entire life is based on a lie, how long can that continue? For the stars of TV Lands Younger, it might be some time yet. Based on Pamela Redmond Satrans novel, Younger centers on Liza Miller (Sutton Foster), a newly divorced 40-year-old mother who attempts to get herself out of debt and start her life anew by posing as a 26-year-old to land a job. The show is ramping up for its fourth season and apparently the age deception will continue.
As the show progresses, the lie doesnt become the most important piece of the show, creator and EP Darren Star said at Deadlines The Contenders Emmys event Sunday. But the lie continues because of the value put on the perception of being that young and how important it is to her work. Work is the most important thing to her, and shell do anything to feel her value again and doesnt want her age to be a barrier to that. So as long as her true age stands in the way of her work, shes going to have to continue to lie.
Miriam Shor, who plays Lizas boss Diana, addressed ageism in the workplace with heavy irony. It was a really good acting exercise to try and come up with those feelings, she laughed. As a woman, I really havent experienced that.
Carrying on the deception might prove tricky, however, as Josh (Nico Tortorella) was spurned by Liza in the Season 3 finale. Since he knows the truth, will he keep her secret?
Josh just wants to spend his life with this woman he loves, and hes put so much into this relationship, Tortorella said. Hes been lying with her for so long, so well see. After this, its definitely going to be a little bit harder.
Talking to the ‘Younger’ star about art, sexual fluidity, and love.
Nico Tortorella is one of those actors who plays the guitar, writes poetry, and dabbles in photography and other forms of visual expression (see his Instagram for proof). In other words, he seems like he’s all about the art, man.
And, in many ways, he is. But, upon meeting him for his ELLE photoshoot, he comes across as more like his character, Josh, on TV Land’s hit series, Younger which follows 40-year-old Liza (Sutton Foster) as she pretends to be a 27-year-old millennial in order to achieve her dreams of making it in the writing world than a self-serious artiste.
Both Josh and Tortorella are covered in tattoos (Josh is an inksman by trade, after all); they’re both smart aestheticists whose sensitive natures are harmonized by a wicked sense of humor. They are, it must be said, both the kind of guy who, if you were lucky enough to lock eyes with at a bar, would make you flush with anxietybut as soon as you started talking, you’d be set at ease by his affable charm.
“I have a lot of friends who are tattoo artists, and I have a lot of tattoos myself, so I know that type,” Tortorella says of Josh, Liza’s on-again/off-again boyfriend, and one of only two people to know her real-age secret. “But more than anything, I know Josh is driven by the love of a woman, which I totally understand.” Indeed, that much is obvious: Tortorella and Foster’s connection is beyond palpable, and it’s a huge reason Tortorella’s intended two scenes in Younger’s pilot turned into a full-time role.
But, for Tortorella, that love drive goes even deeper: He recently started a podcast, aptly entitled Love Bomb, in which he sits down with people he has loved (like hairstylist Kyle Krieger, whom Tortorella once dated), currently loves (like Milk, a drag queen and former RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant, or, in a soon-to-air episode, his current girlfriend, Olesya Rulin), or may soon love. Earlier this year, Tortorella revealed he was sexually fluid. The press called it a “coming out”; to Tortorella, “this is nothing new in my life. It’s just on a grander scale now and people want to talk about it.”
Indeed we do! Thus, ELLE sat down with Tortorella for a frank conversation about modern-day sexuality, Younger’s third season, and his very open (and eye-opening) podcast.
At the end of last season, Josh and Liza got back together after having fallen out. Where does season three take that relationship?
Josh’s struggle has always been that he’s a super honest and loving person, but he’s had to keep up with Liza’s lie. It’s still a struggle this season, as well as the new love triangle with Charles [Liza’s boss]. I just saw the first four episodes of the season last night, it’s honestly the best season yet. No question. Remember the first season of Sex in the City? It doesn’t look anything like the rest of the show. That’s what’s happening with Younger. Everyone is just so comfortable with their characters now.
Did you ever worry about being cast in “the boyfriend role?”
Well, in the beginning, I didn’t really know what the role would be. After the pilot, when we started filming the series, they asked me to be a series regular, and everything changed.
Because of my relationship with Sutton because of the chemistry. We’re two totally different people, but there’s this inherent quirkiness that both of us have. She’s a dork and I’m a dork, so we just run around and play with each other.
You’ve had your fair share of shirtless scenes in the show, and we at ELLE love to flip the script, so I have to ask: Do you ever feel objectified?
Totally. Have you seen the calendar we put out? I know I have to play into it to a certain extent. If I have to be objectified in my twenties to be taken seriously in my thirties, I’m doing something right.
Was that part of the job something you were aware of as you got into acting?
As long as my work continues to speak for itself outside of what I look like, I’m okay. This is going to sound obnoxious, but I get told I’m too good-looking for a lot of roles. They don’t write roles people would think I’m supposed to play as often as they used to the rom-com pretty-boy storylines. Movies are thankfully about real people nowadays, and I don’t necessarily always look like a real person.
You seem pretty aware of how you’re presented.
One hundred percent. I wear my heart on my sleeve and live my life as openly and honestly as I can.
So in regard to your sexual fluidity…
‘A lot of people don’t think that the way that I live my life is a real thing, that it exists, that having a broad spectrum of sexual orientation is even possible’
Look, a lot of people don’t think that the way that I live my life is a real thing, that it exists, that having a broad spectrum of sexual orientation is even possible. I get told all the time on social media. God forbid you open up a Reddit article. But it comes with it, you know? I’m not trying to redefine sexuality or humanity or say that my answer is right and yours is wrong. I’m just happy with who I am. I am driven by love and I have been in love with a handful of different people, men and women. It’s like, if you go to a bookstore and you know exactly what kind of book you want, you have to look it up in the system because it’s in a specific section of the bookstore. I fit into a handful of sections in the bookstore.
Some people believe that a bi or pansexual relationship can’t be monogamous. You’re dating a woman right now. Do you believe in monogamy?
I believe in it. I am not ruled by sex. I never have been. I’m not looking to fuck all the time. I am more interested in the ability to have intimate relationships with people on an emotional level.
What’s been the industry’s attitude toward your “coming out?” Because Hollywood is notoriously-
Run by a bunch of old white dudes who say anything other than heteronormative is blasphemy? That is still sadly the case, but I had hours and hours of conversation with my entire team about how I was going to handle this, because I refused from the beginning to restrict myself to any sort of lifestyle. I think as long as you come at it from a place of positive passion, it sets the right example. And I do think it’s gotten better for actors who want to be out or open in their careers. I think, I hope, we are moving toward a tipping point.
Let’s talk about the podcast. You’re three weeks in how is it going?
I feel really great about it. It’s different than what I thought it would be.
It’s one thing to talk about love in a generic sense. Everybody knows what love is in one way or another, and everybody has an answer of what love means to them. But when two people that mean so much to each other really engage in a conversation about it. I’m just telling my story of love in a way that I didn’t even know I had.
Tortorella heads the cast of Jordan Jaffe’s new play, which is presented by Black Lab Theatre at Ars Nova.
What do television stars with theater backgrounds look for during their hiatus? The opportunity to do a stage production, of course. Nico Tortorella, better known as Josh, the hunky tattoo artist dating Sutton Foster’s Liza on TV Land’s Younger, is no different. With some free time this spring, Tortorella found himself able to sink his teeth into his first love, live performing, in a play that he believes fits his personality like a glove.
The work is Jordan Jaffe’s Crude, running through May 21 in a production of Black Lab Theatre at Ars Nova’s Theatre 511. In it, Tortorella plays Jaime, a child of privilege from Houston whose life is thrown into turmoil when his family’s company takes part in the worst oil spill the world has ever seen.
But playing the madness that ensues is proving to be a most rewarding theater experience for him. Luckily, he got in some live-theater practice back in February, when he flexed his tap-dancing muscles with Foster during her concert in Baltimore.
In your words, tell me about Crude and your character, Jamie.
The show, in a nutshell, is about a rich, white, privileged oil kid from Houston. He is recently married, and the show opens with him and his wife, in a somewhat normal relationship, and then all hell breaks loose. My family’s company has an oil spill off the Gulf Coast, the largest oil spill in the history of the planet. Jamie immediately loses his s**t and tries to get all of his money out of the bank. As the show unfolds, his best friend comes over to try and come up with a plan to spin the oil spill for a national commercial. And it’s all downhill from there.
Do you have a background in theater?
I grew up onstage in Chicago. It’s been a while, but this is like a homecoming for me. I’ve been saying for years that there’s something about film and television, there is not that immediate gratification that you get on a stage. There is an engagement that just doesn’t happen when there’s a camera in your face. It’s not just the relationship with the audience; it is a fully living and breathing machine. In terms of film and TV, it’s a computer. It’s set up in a way that’s all about the light and the angle. It’s almost like the art of the camera comes first, and then the performance comes after.
What was it about Crude that interested you as a performer?
I haven’t been onstage in ten years, outside of a little tap-dance stunt with Sutton Foster in Baltimore. I’ve been looking for the right show. It’s pretty hard to navigate through a film and television schedule, to fit the stage into it. This opportunity jumped at me. I had the time to do it, and Jordan has a way of writing the way that I speak. It was a no-brainer. I said yes instantly, and I have two weeks until I go into season three of Younger, so it was perfect.
Tell me about tap dancing with Sutton.
Oh my god, it was incredible. At ten in the morning, I was still in bed, and she sends me a text message saying, “Hey, do you know how to tap dance?” We’re super tight outside of work, and I was like, “What are you thinking?” She was like, “Well, I’m performing and there’s this number that could be awesome if you and I did it together.” I was like, “Yes, I tap dance. Let’s do it.” No questions asked. When Sutton asks you to perform with her, you say yes. That’s like a little girl’s dream. And some guys, too.
So I find a tap-dance coach and take lessons. I have tap danced a little growing up. It wasn’t my forte by any means. But I thought, “I did musical theater, so I could pick it up quick.” It was a lot harder than what I thought it was going to be. I went through the wringer with it. We had a joint rehearsal with her choreographer in Los Angeles, and I come to find out that it was actually somewhat my audition. And I got the job. She was blown away. It was magic, just watching her. I had seen Violet, but I’ve never seen her dance around the stage like that before. It will certainly not be the last time you see Sutton and me onstage together.
What are your dreams for the third season of Younger?
I want to break the pattern that Josh and Liza have had of breaking up and getting back together. If we’re going to do either one, we should do it for a whole season and really see what that means for both of us. If that means we’re broken up, I want to see what Josh’s storyline looks like outside of the show, outside of the core of the four women. I think there’s room for that. The way [creator] Darren [Starr] writes, it’s so character-specific and has time for everybody. If we’re going to separate these two, we have to show what they’re up to outside of it.
Do you and Sutton dream of musicals you could star in together?
I mean, we have definitely talked about it. I would love to do a new musical with her. There’s something so beautiful about new work, and to see two people that the world kind of knows in something new would just be fantastic.
Source: Theatre Mania
Nico Tortorella is a very funny guy, and while he hasnt had a chance to show off his comedic chops in television shows like The Following (its about serial killers!) or Younger (a comedy sure, but hes the romantic interest, rather than the comedic sidekick) he finally gets a chance to make us laugh in Jordan Jaffes very dark, very funny Crude. Tortorella stars as Jaime Kurtz, a former-nonfiction-filmmaker-turned-oil-company-PR-executive, who during a catastrophic oil spill must decide whether he wants to follow his heart, or his need of societal approval. The play takes place entirely in Jaimes living room, where like a tragic king he must come to terms with the dissatisfaction of the people around him. His environmentalist wife (Eliza Hurberth) thinks hes working with the enemy, his best friend and co-worker (W. Tre Davis) wants him to reclaim his life and have more fun, and even a wisecracking drug dealer (Jos Joaqun Prez) makes an appearance that will have unexpected repercussions.
Onstage, Tortorella makes use of the space in an inventive, lived-in way, his timing is spot on, and his reactions sometimes say more than some of Jaffes best quips. When I tell him how funny I found him, he suggests that the show I attended was the best show weve done, it was the best one so far, and I have a feeling that as the play continues (its running at Ars Nova through May 21), his performance will keep getting better. Heres the rest of my conversation with Nico Tortorella:
What made you want to star in Crude?
Itd been ten years since Id done anything onstage and Id been talking for a while about getting back onstage, looking for the right projects, which is always difficult when youre navigating through film and television schedules. The time opened up and this play kinda fell in my lap, so it was a no-brainer. Jordan Jaffe has a way of writing the way that I speak, so I saw so much of myself in the script – the good parts, not the bad parts – so I leaped at the opportunity.
Jaime left behind a job in the arts to pursue the traditional path. Did people ever try to discourage you from being an actor and suggested you did something safe instead?
It was never a question for me. I knew since I was a little kid that this was what I was going to be doing. Sure, people told me no because it would be impossible. I remember my own family being ten years old in the back of my moms car, and my mom and my aunt telling me how hard it was going to be. I was just hysterical, screaming and crying saying I didnt care how hard it would be, I said this is going to be my life, and its going to be amazing.
Crude is a comedy which is the last thing you think of when you think about oil spills. Were you guys ever afraid you would cross a line that would offend people?
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Nico Tortorella is known as one of the stars of the TV Land hit show Younger, but this spring, hes taking on a different role as the lead in Crude, the new play by Jordan Jaffe premiering at Ars Nova in New York City. After spending time on TV in various shows including The Beautiful Life on the CW and The Following on Fox, as well as acting in films like Scream 4, he says he was drawn to Crude because after a ten year absence from the stage, he was hungry to be back in front of a live audience.
I grew up on stage in Chicago, he said, so this is more of a homecoming for me rather than something new Im trying. I kinda feel like Im a real actor for the first time in a long time.
Jamie, his character in Crude, is a far cry from Josh, the laid back tattoo artist he plays on Younger, something he revels in being a part of bringing to life.
Since its a new play, he explains, there was a lot of room in terms of being creatively involved with the character and building the character. I wasnt stepping into someone elses role so I got to create a lot for myself.
The privilege of creating a new role for the stage is something that isnt lost on Tortorella. With the dearth of new works making it to larger commercial theatre audiences, he hopes more artists will invest in new works so those stories will continue to be told.
I think New York City is the theatre capital of the world and if new work cant be shown here, it wont be shown anywhere. I think if we can get good actors, some of which may also be names, to open up new plays like this, it will only help the progression of new theatre.
Hes aware that having a fan-base from Younger has provided him with an opportunity to spread the news about Crude to a wider audience who may not be as clued in to the theatre scene beyond the big Broadway shows.
I know my involvement with Crude is part of why its being talked about more than it would have been otherwise, and Im more than happy to talk about it. New works are important.
After Crude ends its run on May 21, he heads into filming season three of Younger, a show that has challenged him in a different way than creating his character for the stage has.
Not knowing where the story lines are going and not having a full wrap of these characters is tough, he says of the script-by-script episodic nature of TV shows. It can change on the drop of dime, and usually does, which is how TV works and I understand that, but thats the most difficult part of the process for me. But Im so grateful for the show and all its given me.
The success of Younger has brought a wealth of opportunities for him and he regularly brings his nearly 200K Instagram followers along for the ride. Social media has become the go-to method of connecting artists and art-lovers, something some have struggled with adapting to, but not Nico.
As long as Ive been an actor, the social media outlets have been available. Ive always been fully encompassed in all of those worlds and as my career grew, it just made more sense to continue utilizing them. I think Instagram has changed the game for so many up-and-comers. It links people up in a way that never existed before. It used to be Ill have my manager call your manager, but now you can just message someone directly about a shoot or a gig and make it happen the next day.
Tortorellas Instagram feed is a heady mixture of behind-the-scenes glimpses at his show, his friends, photographer features and a myriad of Fashion Week-ready outfits and looks. He credits his mother, who he describes as an 80s disco queen, with his initial love of fashion.
She owned a bar growing up I would help her with her hair, makeup and outfit when shed get ready to go to work each night. It was part of our thing. We would blast Diana Ross and get ready before she went to the bar. I like feeling good and looking good. Fashion is the quickest way to make that happen.
He has reason to feel good. In 2016 so far, hes performed with his TV costar Sutton Foster and the Baltimore Symphony, season two of Younger aired and hes starring in a brand new play in New York. Beyond the upcoming third season of Younger, Tortorella is also developing his own show and has his sights set on being a part of a new Broadway musical one day.
Ultimately, he says, I just want to keep working with good people and challenging myself. I want to keep going.
So what keeps him going when hes not on set?
My favorite thing in the world is to walk into a grocery store or a restaurant and have these short relationships with people working there. The interaction with them is so brief and it disappears immediately when you leave, but it is so meaningful in that moment. People smile and laugh and feel good, so I carry that with me all the time, wherever I go. Its infectious and makes a difference. Imagine what the world would look like if we all did that.
He adds that being a part of the process of bringing Crude to the stage and working with his cast mates has kept him inspired daily.
Doing this show, I feel like I am in a conservatory studying with these Julliard actors. Its more than anything I could have ever asked for.
Crude runs until May 21st and tickets are available at www.arsnovanyc.com
Source: Bleep Mag
At a drilling platform off the coast of Texas, thousands of gallons of oil have begun hemorrhaging into the Gulf of Mexico. Its a horror for the environment, sure, but that doesnt really register with Jaime Kurtz, the central character of Jordan Jaffes dark new eco-comedy, Crude.
Jaime, the spoiled 20-something scion of the Houston company that owns the platform, has a more pressing worry: that the business his family built could be wiped out by this single disaster, taking his money with it.
Did Exxon go under after the Valdez spill? his old friend Aaron (W. Tr Davis) asks, trying to lift his spirits. Did BP go under after the Macondo blowout?
Those were different, Jaime (Nico Tortorella) replies. They were bigger companies. Plus, no one cares about Alaska or Louisiana.
The casually contemptuous way Mr. Tortorella says that last bit, quietly tossing it off as if it barely needs stating, fills in much of what we need to know about Jaime: his callous entitlement; his provincial thinking; the fact that deep down, this guy is really not all that deep. Also, his marriage to Brittany (Eliza Huberth), who runs a wetlands foundation, is probably in the kind of trouble that cant be fixed.
Watching Mr. Tortorella who stars, with Sutton Foster and Hilary Duff, in the TV Land series Younger is the pleasure of this production, directed by Kel Haney and presented by Black Lab Theater at Theater 511 at Ars Nova. The play itself is too much like an extended sitcom, and the issue-based arguments that Mr. Jaffe orchestrates can seem wildly inorganic like the one about our societal addiction to oil, between Jaime and Manny (Jose Joaquin Perez), a drug dealer Jaime has just met.
The action unfolds in Jaime and Brittanys comfortable living room (the set is by Caite Hevner Kemp), whose blandly tasteful furniture suggests thoughtless conformity. Brittany has taken off, thanks to Jaimes little problem with containing his rage, so he brainstorms crisis management with Aaron. To aid their thinking process, they get high on molly. Bro-fest wackiness ensues.
What keeps things interesting is Mr. Tortorella, who surfs the switchbacks of Jaimes moods with unusual grace. Easily charming when he wants to be, Jaime is mercurial in the manner of someone so cosseted by wealth that he has never had to rein himself in. The most rebellious he ever got was when he tried to be a documentarian, but he gave that up to do the expected thing, and now hes actually pretty miserable.
Do we care, though? Mr. Tortorellas impressive effort notwithstanding, I dont know why we would.
Source: New York Times
After weeks of flirting with disaster, Josh and Liza finally reached a turning point in their relationship on Wednesdays Younger.
At Lizas request, the tattoo whisperer agreed to leave her out of his T Magazine interview for fear that fact checkers would uncover her real age but when a blissfully ignorant, not to mention slightly belligerent, Kelsey tore into him for failing to mention his girlfriend in the piece, he just couldnt take it anymore.
Hes gaining celebrity in his life, and he wants to be able to share it with [Liza], but he just cant, Nico Tortorella tells TVLine. Thats a big deal-breaker for him.
But dont assume that the inevitability of Josh and Lizas split made the break-up scene any easier for the actors to film.
We knew something was bound to happen after these past few episodes, but the way the scene read on paper was so much different than us doing it in person, Tortorella says. Sutton [Foster] and I are both raw, emotional people, and when we have to do any type of darker scene, we fully commit to it. When we got to work that day, we couldnt even look at each other without one of us getting emotional. Everything happening in that scene was how we were actually feeling.
Below, Tortorella takes us inside Joshs brain and previews whats to come for the newly single Brooklynite.
Whats Joshs next step?
Hes focusing on himself right now. Hes got a lot going on at the tattoo shop, and with the Times, and he just has to get back to the basics. Hes ready to start working on himself.
Im sure Gabe will be thrilled to have Liza gone.
[Laughs] I dont know, she really helped him out with that calamine lotion in the last episode. No, I think hell be excited to go out and party with Josh again.
Hell need to go buy some new bathrobes.
Im sure hell find one somewhere.
Josh is only friends with Kelsey and the others because hes dating Liza. Without her, is he still going to maintain those relationships?
We saw that a little bit when they broke up in the first season; Kelsey and Lauren came to the bar and he was like, What are you guys doing here? I think hed be open to having a relationship with them if it didnt have anything to do with her. Josh is probably pretty quick to forgive and forget and move on. Hell find something in his life to make him happy to turn him back into the Josh that everybody loves.
Since you brought up the last breakup, how is this one different?
Well, were older now, no pun intended. Were more grown up in this relationship. We know how to deal with heartbreak better, and we know what we want out of a relationship. Josh just made up his mind that this wasnt working, so he removed it from his life to live as authentically as he could.
This is kind of unrelated, but I just realized I still have Youngers all-Josh calendar sitting on my desk. How did that come about?
[Laughs] The whole thing started out as a joke. TV Land was doing our promo shoot for the second season, and they were like, Wouldnt it be funny if we did a Josh calendar? I was like, Thats not funny. Lets actually do it. The original plan was just to do different faces each month, but I was like, If were going to do this, lets do it the right way. I got my buddy hired to shoot it, and I pretty much art-directed the whole thing. I sat on art-direction phone calls for hours, getting everything set in stone. My favorite month is probably April, because I have the most clothes on.
That seems to be a running theme on Younger. How do you feel about the objectification of Josh?
Oh, Im all for it; theres a time and a place to be objectified. Its one thing if theres a character thats just serving body all of the time, but he doesnt have the talent to back it up. Thats not necessarily the situation here. Were able to have these dramatic scenes, like we do this week, but also balance it with everything else.
Source: TV Line
I think that an open relationship or a polyamorous relationship or an understanding of sorts is acceptable in this day and age.
On TV Land’s Younger, Nico Tortorella plays love interest to Liza (Sutton Foster), a 40-year-old mom who relaunches her career in book publishing by pretending to be 26. In real life, he plays love interest to many. “Relationships and people are my hobby of sorts,” he told Cosmopolitan.com on a visit to the office last week. (A visit that ended with him inadvertently or purposely? showing off his pubes.) “I love exchanging energy with people and getting to know people and falling in and out of love.” Here, Nico talks more about his romantic life, cheating, Botox, and his failed CW show The Beautiful Life, which also starred Mischa Barton and the one ex with whom he is no longer friends.
Liza and Josh are back together but doing just OK now that he knows she was lying about her age.
Yeah, we’re OK-ish. It’s a new beginning for them. They have to renavigate getting to know each other, because she’s basically a brand new person to him.
But he’s already told her he loves her. If you’ve told someone you love them, and then they become a brand new person, do you still love them?
We’ve had that conversation [among the cast]. Because I don’t actually know of any time that we say “I love you” in the second season. Even the writers were like, “Yeah, we didn’t even think about it.” And when we did say we loved each other, we were fucked up on molly. We’ve all told people that we love each other on molly. But I think we do really love each other, it’s just becoming a different type of love.
Liza seems needier to me in the second season she’s constantly wanting Josh to reaffirm their relationship status and a little annoying.
There’s so much about Liza’s character on the page that you’re not supposed to love, but because of Sutton Foster, you fall in love with her and you root for her to win. But she’s lying to everybody. She’s not really a great person. She means really well, but yeah, she’s needy. She’s going through her adolescent years all over again.
But she’s not a jealous girlfriend, which probably speaks to her age and wisdom. You told BuzzFeed that you hate jealousy.
Least favorite thing in the world.
Is it something you experience a lot?
With women in particular?
People in general. Definitely with women and those relationships did not last as long as other relationships. It’s just something I’m not into. If you love somebody, you can watch them be close with somebody else too, and if that makes them happy, then that should make you happy.
What’s your cheating philosophy though? Because you could argue that if you get too close to someone else, it could lead to things.
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