The Hot Seat: Ed Westwick

Gossip Girl's bow-tie-wearing bad boy reveals his true colors.

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Illustration: Rob Kelly


Spotted: Chuck Bass lying on the cold, hard pavement with a bullet wound and a broken heart. That's how we left Ed Westwick's lovably villainous character during the season three finale of Gossip Girl (right after he'd snatched Little J's V-card, proposed unsuccessfully to Blair Waldorf and fled to Prague). Though Westwick admits that he can slide effortlessly into the sleazy, dandyish role, he remains cheery and humble. We called the 23-year-old British transplant after he'd finished filming episodes of season four in Paris. He dished about Chuck's recovery, sporting chest hair and his complicated relationship with costar Jessica Szohr (watch out, ladies, we hear he's on the market).

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Chuck Bass is one sexy mofo, but he'd be ten times hotter with your British accent.
I'm happy with the gravelly Chuck Bass voice. He's a little bit Batman and a little bit Patrick Bateman from American Psycho.

We hear Chuck emerges in season four as a changed man.
He gets rescued in Prague and whisked off to Paris by Eva [Clmence Posy]. He realizes lies and cheating culminated in disaster and suffering, and it's not something he wants to be involved with. Eva represents purity, and he falls head over heels in love with her—or the idea of her. Of course, who shows up but Blair Waldorf. Leighton [Meester] and I were talking on set the other day, wondering how our characters might get back together. Everyone expects them to, but in the fourth season's story line they're far from it.

We're really supposed to believe Chuck's a reformed sinner?
Well, I always say a leopard can't change his spots.

Do you practice his deep, brooding stares in the mirror?
I practice every day, yeah. [Laughs] There are moments I have to check myself because after doing the same character for three years, you find yourself very easily slipping into it.

So if we met you on the street, you'd greet us as Chuck Bass?
It might happen. Just shout "Chuck!" at me, and I might spin around and give you the look.

How does it feel to be a teen heartthrob?
It's bizarre. The last thing we want is someone running out in the road holding a video camera, then smack, a taxi hits them. Two seasons ago, there was a girl in front of me walking backward, and she went flying into a fence and smashed her head on a tree. I picked her up and said, "Sweetheart, are you okay?"

That's very un-Chuck.
Indeed. I'm a big, cuddly bear. [Laughs]

You're also a musician. Any interest in forming a Gossip Girl band?
We'll be a supergroup like Cream. Blake [Lively] would definitely be on the bongos. Chace [Crawford] would make wailing noises in the background. Penn [Badgley]'s actually a very skilled musician, so he can play piano. And, uh, I don't know what Jessica will play. Taylor [Momsen] can sing along with Leighton and me. And Kelly [Rutherford] can be our backup dancer. There you go!

And what would you call the band and album?
The band would have to be called Upper East Siderz, with a zed. And the album would be Drama, Volume 1, Season 1.

I'd ask you who the prettiest castmate is, but I think I already know the answer....
The prettiest castmate is obviously Chace Crawford. He's a very good-looking guy. As for my relationship, I've got a lot of love for Jessica, [but] I'm 23 years old; I'm enjoying my life. I'm not tied down in any way to anything, and that's the bottom line.

Chuck is a fashion icon, but your style is more grunge-chic.
I do like ascots, it's a classic English rock & roll look. But I can't do that now because I'll be the guy wearing the same stuff as a TV character, and I don't want to be that guy.

You wear a lot of deep V-neck shirts. Is showing a little bit of chest fuzz a do or a don't?
Why not? It grows there naturally. I'm a man, and I'm letting it out.

What can we expect from you next?
If you're English, you say [playing] James Bond. So maybe Daniel Craig needs to move over.

Gossip Girl season four premieres Mon 13 at 9pm on the CW.

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