Daniel Franzese stars as Vern Testaverde in the new Freeform original series Recovery Road. The new hit drama focuses on a group of young adult staying in a sober living facility and coping with the struggles of recovery.
We had the chance to chat with Daniel about his character Vern, what attracted him to the series, taking chances with his roles, and working with Mischa Barton in the upcoming episode. I am loving this new series and am so excited to see where it goes. Are you Feeling The Vern?
Read on for our exclusive interview with Daniel Franzese below:
Hi! Thank you so much for talking with me today. I’m excited.
I’m excited too. That makes two of us.
I’m loving Vern and I’m loving Recovery Road.
Are you Feeling The Vern?
[laughs] You beat me. So, what originally attracted you to the role of Vern?
Bert V. Royal was my roommate in college. He’s one of the creators. And Karen DiConcetto and I have been friends and collaborated on a bunch of projects. Two of my best friends were writing the show so that’s very attractive [laughs].
But luckily it’s an amazing piece and a great character and I’m very proud to be a part of the show.
Did you read the book beforehand or do any other kind of research to help you prepare?
No, I didn’t actually. I mean, I have had many a friend that have been in sobriety and I have attended meetings with friends in the past. But I think I had the life experience to know about the character and they changed it up a little bit for me for the show. Vern is a lot older and different in the book so I sort of put my own take on it based on what Karen and Bert were creating.
The show definitely doesn’t shy away from showing the darker side of addiction. Was that a story that was important for you to tell?
Yes. Because I don’t really believe in doing stuff that sugar coats things. None of my projects have been that way. From the beginning — even, I think, Mean Girls in a lot of ways, Damien, was un-apologetically real. I don’t really like to play things that are cheesy or fake. So I’m very happy with how brave Freeform has been with showing the darker side of recovery. I think it’s an important story to be told.
The cast is a great one overall. How has it been working with them and of course with Mischa Barton this coming week?
Well, we’re like a family over there with our cast. I know that sounds like a cliché thing to say but you know as much as we all rely on each other in the house as characters, we rely doubly on each other as actors and partners. We’re very supportive. It’s a really incredible work environment.
Adding Mischa to the cast for this episode was really fun. Her and I have been friends for several years and we’ve always wanted an opportunity to work together. I was thrilled that we had this opportunity to show a little levity and have some fun.
What can we expect from her appearance? How will she be interacting with Vern in this episode?
She plays a famous actress – turned a hot mess. She’s come in for the weekend to our humble little recovery home. Vern, who is pop culture obsessed — he gets really excited. So the fact that they become friends it’s a lot of excitement for Vern in this mundane house.
This episode is being teased as Vern’s backstory, so we’ll finally be able to get to know more about him. What can we look forward to from that?
Vern, without giving too much away, his backstory is he’s a dancer and choreographer. He had a bout with cocaine and when he quit it, he sort of lost his mojo, gained a little weight…and leaned on his high school friend Cynthia for some guidance.
Will we be seeing a little more of the relationship he has with Cynthia?
I think you’ll definitely get a peak into that. You’ll definitely see him at a pretty low point in his life before he became the Vern that we know now on the show.
What else can we look forward to in the upcoming episodes?
What’s really cool, as you’ll see with my character, we start really delving into people’s backstories and we kind of learn what it is that brought them all to Springtime Meadows. I think that’s one of the more exciting things about our show. We get to go back and see the history of what everyone else has been through.
Are you ready for the fans to Feel The Vern this season?
Yeah! I cannot wait! I’m so thrilled that people are loving the show as much as we love making it. It’s something that’s very near and dear to our hearts. A lot of our emotions are in this show. It’s wonderful that people are picking up what we’re putting down.
Thank you so much to Daniel Franzese for taking the time to speak with us. We really appreciate it!
Be sure to keep up to date with Daniel by following him on Twitter @WhatsUpDanny.
Tune in to Recovery Road on Freeform, Mondays at 9/8c.