Interview: Dan Jeannotte Talks The Bold Type & JaneStripe – Exclusive
Jane’s former paramour Ryan (a.k.a. Pinstripe) showed up on Freeform’s The Bold Type for the first time since the JaneStripe ship capsized – but are things really over between the two of them? We caught up with actor Dan Jeannotte to get the answer to that question and more!
Episode 9 saw Ryan’s first appearance on The Bold Type since he and Jane broke up. It seemed like sparks were flying between them at points during the episode, but with Ryan no longer working at Pinstripe and Jane deciding to leave Scarlet, it’s going to be a lot harder for them to “run into” each other! Do you think this is truly the end for them, or could they rekindle their romance down the line?
Dan Jeannotte: Where there’s a will (and a second season), there’s a way! I think that these two have good chemistry, which is hard to define, but they definitely both feel it. It’s an emotional connection that goes beyond the logical decisions their brains are making. Maybe this “last night” they shared together, in the Scarlet offices, will make an impression on them – if the Unicorn-tinis didn’t do too much damage! – and they won’t be able to stop thinking about what might have been…
Relatedly, would you like to see Jane and Ryan end up together? We saw in previous episodes that they seem to want different things out of a relationship. Do you think they’re ultimately too different to make a relationship work?
Definitely, I want to see them together – mostly because I love working with Katie Stevens! But also, I think they’re a great match for each other. They challenge each other, in a healthy way. Ryan helps Jane loosen up, and Jane helps Ryan focus. The idea that they want different things out of a relationship – I don’t think that’s actually necessarily true. We just saw that they started their relationship with different assumptions about what they wanted, and what the other one wanted. Jane tried to keep it “casual,” but eventually decided that wasn’t right for her. And I think it was very important that she acted on that; it showed a lot of character and admirable self-care to make that decision. But they didn’t really open the conversation up and ask one another, “What do you really want? Do you want to make this work?” Instead, Jane made an assumption about what Ryan wanted – and in a way, I think Ryan went along with that assumption. He sort of defaulted to an outdated self-definition: “Oh, I guess you’re right, I’m a guy who doesn’t like commitment.” But personally I think he’s beyond that. In my own (unofficial, non-canon) backstory for Ryan, he’s been in a couple of long-term monogamous relationships, and he’s both been burned, and burned others – and now likes to keep it casual to avoid anyone getting hurt. But he’s a romantic at heart, and now that he’s met Jane, this strong and smart and sexy and funny woman, he’s realizing that he’s ready for more. He’s just maybe realizing it a bit too slowly!
On a lighter note, how did you manage to keep a straight face while shooting the Unicorn-tini and fashion show scenes in episode 9?!
Honestly, that was the most fun episode to work on! For one thing, I finally got to work with Meghann Fahy and Alex Ward and Melora Hardin, who are all such great actors and such good people. Also, in this episode, Jane has already broken up with Ryan, so there’s a nice kind of looseness between them… They aren’t so worried about impressing each other, or looking cool, so they’re being themselves a bit more. And, of course, it was fun because some of the scenes were so silly. Those Unicorn-tinis looked like Pepto-Bismol covered in whipped cream and glitter – and I don’t even like whipped cream! It was difficult to drink them without A) spilling the cream all over myself, or B) gagging, or C) laughing because of all the spilling and gagging. And those fashion show scenes, well, those were just plain fun. I don’t think I’ve ever been given the direction before to “just pull some fashion model moves.” I really milked it. And actually, as of right now, the episode hasn’t aired yet, so I have no idea how ridiculous I look! Oh boy. Don’t tell me.
You joked on Twitter a couple of weeks ago that the similarities between you and Pinstripe only go so far! Wax play aside, what common ground do you share with Ryan, and what are the biggest differences between you?
What we have in common: a passion for the written word; a good sense of humor that we sometimes use as a defense mechanism, or as a weapon; an admiration for strong women; a desire to be a better man. Biggest differences between us: I do not have a good sense of style; I’m rather private when it comes to my love life (I certainly wouldn’t write a column about it!); I’ve never been able to date more than one person at once; and I won’t let someone I have feelings for just walk away without putting up a fight.
As an actor, you’re used to being the subject of an article or interview, rather than working behind the scenes in a journalistic capacity. How has the role of Ryan influenced how you view the media, as well as your relationship to it?
Good question! Well, in the show we definitely see more of Jane’s challenges as a magazine writer, rather than Ryan’s. And it makes you realize the complexity of trying to write good journalism. There are moral and ethical questions, in terms of being fair to the people you’re writing about, while at the same time presenting the full picture. There are personal issues, like, can you report objectively on something that you have a close personal relationship to? Would you write about important issues if it meant exposing a vulnerable part of yourself? And of course there are overriding business factors, which is unfortunate but unavoidable – magazines and newspapers are a business, after all. So are your articles being read enough, being clicked on enough, being shared enough? I think The Bold Type has done a great job of making the day-to-day reality of magazine writers really come across, in an understandable and interesting way. I mean, you gotta wonder, when you see an article about “butt facials” – OK, I guess there’s a lot of things to wonder about there – but mainly, did the writer really want to write about that?
In the past, Freeform’s programming was typically geared toward a younger audience, whereas The Bold Type embodies the network’s updated brand and targeted demographic. How did you feel about tackling a project that’s a bit more mature than what Freeform viewers are used to? What elements of The Bold Type do you think fans have responded particularly favorably to?
I feel very lucky to be a small part of this show, because I think The Bold Type is a very contemporary show – it’s very much “of the moment.” It’s a show that’s empowering for its audience; it’s hopeful and optimistic, but it doesn’t shy away from real issues that are currently affecting our society. It’s like Jacqueline says in one of the first episodes: “Young people want to be politically engaged – so let’s engage them.” The Bold Type gives a lot of credit to its audience – it knows that sure, young women will enjoy watching a show about fashionable young people falling in and out of love in New York City, but they’ll also enjoy it if those people are taking on internet trolling and fighting for fair compensation and pushing back against the patriarchy. In other words, young women will enjoy watching young women be their best selves. That’s why, I think, people are loving the show so much –because it’s affirmative, it speaks to young people’s potential, and as much as it’s escapist (with the beautiful people wearing their beautiful outfits), it’s also very much rooted in the reality of what it means to be a young professional right now. Plus the music is awesome.
Viewers may also recognize you from the Hallmark Channel’s Good Witch. Will you be reprising your role as Brandon for season 4? What else is coming up for you professionally?
I’m actually not sure yet if I’ll be coming back for season 4. We’re trying to make it work, with the show’s shooting schedule and my own, not to mention the story line. I really hope it works out! I’d like to see Tara and Brandon finally have a baby, but I don’t know if that’s in the cards. For me right now, there are a number of projects that are up in the air, a lot of potential things. This is the scary but also exciting part of being an actor – the not knowing what comes next. Hopefully I’ll have something to announce soon! And REALLY HOPEFULLY we’ll find out soon if The Bold Type is coming back for another season. There’s nothing I’d love more.