Gregg Sulkin on Why the Roomies of ‘Pretty Smart’ Will Be Your New Fave Sitcom Squad
He plays Grant, a sweet, romantic, and totally ripped personal trainer who’s still hung up on his ex-girlfriend/roommate Claire (Olivia Macklin). When her sister, Chelsea (Emily Osment), moves in, things become a whole lot more complicated as sparks start to fly between those two.
Below, Sulkin previews the new comedy and the various onscreen relationships and dishes about the cast’s bond offscreen.
One of the last shows you worked on was Marvel’s Runaways. What was it like going from an action-packed superhero show to a more grounded sitcom?
Gregg Sulkin: I will say I love doing comedy. It makes me so happy as a human being, going into a set environment where everyone is laughing and joking, and just lifting each other’s spirits is so special to me. Don’t get me wrong, I love my experience on Runaways and learned a lot, but I’m really happy to be on Pretty Smart.
It seems like the group of roommates on Pretty Smart all have very different personalities. Can you talk a bit about Grant and how he balances out the group?
For what Grant may lack in academic intellect, he makes up for with a lot of heart and a lot of love. He’s there. He loves every single person. He has all the roommates’ back. What’s interesting for him is he’s just come out of a relationship with Claire and now when Claire’s sister, Chelsea, moves in, Grant and Chelsea begin to connect on a pretty deep level. So we’ll see where that ends up. We’ll see where the friendship blossoms, and potentially a love triangle is going to form.
Is that potential love triangle as awkward and complicated as it seems?
I’ve honestly never had this experience in my life, but I can imagine it can get a bit complicated. It’s definitely going to get a bit complicated.
What does Grant think of Chelsea when they first meet? How does that evolve as he gets to know her?
I think Grant immediately takes a liking to Chelsea. I think Grant takes a liking to everybody he meets. But what he realizes throughout the season is that Chelsea, once she loosens up a little bit, is basically like one of them. She’s just got many walls up that are sort of stopping her from feeling like one of the group but, in fact, her heart lies with the group.
What was it like working with Emily Osment?
I’ve known Emily since I was 15, and she’s an absolute delight. I love working with Emily. I think this is our third time working together, and she’s a complete pro. We have a very special bond. We just have a lot of trust with each other and I think that shows on screen, especially when Grant and Chelsea’s relationship develops throughout the season. You’re going to see some really beautiful scenes between us and it’s easy when you really love that person off-screen and you really admire that person as a professional. Emily is an absolute delight, and our friendship has only gotten stronger and stronger and closer and closer over the years.
What was the dynamic like in real life between you and the rest of the cast?
It was everything that I had hoped for. All five of us had a very collaborative spirit. We’re all in this together. No one felt like it was their show — we all wanted it to be our show, we all know it’s our show. It’s probably the most special bond I’ve ever had on a set with castmates. Everybody was coming in to set every day so happy, always lifting each other up when anyone was having a bad day or a bad moment or a bad scene. We would all be there collectively to encourage that person and support that person.
[It’s] a pretty magical place to work, to be honest. The main reason why I hope we get to do the show for many years is because I loved the people that I worked with and I hope that I’m able to continue working with them for many years. It feels that we, as a cast, just enjoy each other’s company so much that we’ve become real friends. So one of the best outcomes of this whole show is that we’re putting a show out there on a platform that has 220 million subscribers and with the way our friendship is structured between the five of us, if we can gain more friends/viewers along the way, that would make us so happy.
There are so many great sitcoms around groups of friends — Friends, How I Met Your Mother, It’s Always Sunny, to name a few. Why do you think this type of show works so well? How does Pretty Smart fit into this genre?
I think we definitely fit into the genre, but we also have our own little take on it. I think that’s what audiences are going to really respond to. We’ve got some really important storylines and themes throughout the show, and it’s a very relatable show. I think people often in their 20s are still trying to figure themselves out and the people that know them best are their friends. And those dynamics, especially in your 20s and your 30s, and throughout life are really important. Friendships are really important and not to be underestimated. Your friends are the family that you choose, and we got very lucky with the show in the sense that we all love each other.
When it comes to this show, we have the writers from How I Met Your Mother and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. The writing is so smart and the jokes are so good, but also the scenes are so grounded and so relatable. That’s why I think this show has a real shot of becoming a very liked TV show.
Pretty Smart, Series Premiere, Friday, October 8, Netflix