Dylan Playfair will be joining the rest of the VKs on the Isle of the Lost when Disney’s second installment of Descendants premieres tonight on the Disney Channel. Dylan plays Gil, the son of Gaston and a member of the pirate crew.
We had the chance to chat with Dylan Playfair about Descendants 2, working with the cast and choreographer Kenny Ortega, what viewers can expect when the film premieres, and what will make the action bigger and better.
Read on for our exclusive interview with Dylan Playfair below:
Can you tell us a little about your character and what initially attracted you to the role?
Dylan Playfair: Definitely. I play Gil, who is the son of Gaston. He comes from the lineage of Beauty and the Beast and that whole story. Being a part of the Disney legacy and legend is something that I’ve wanted to do since I was a little kid. Right off the bat, I was attracted to the fact that it was Disney and it was a part of that great story that I’d grown up with. I wanted to work with Kenny Ortega since I was a little kid. I grew up watching Dirty Dancing and the High School Musical series as well. The opportunity to work with him on a project like that was a no-brainer. It was something I was really fortunate to be a part of.
You mentioned growing up with Gaston and Beauty and the Beast. He’s a familiar face to us all. Were you a fan of him originally?
Well, Gaston is definitely the villain of Beauty and the Beast. He was the biggest, strongest guy in the village. There were definitely things that I thought he had that were cool [but] I was more in Belle’s corner, for sure. That’s an interesting movie because the hero is kind of the villain in the beginning, and Gaston… He’s a bit of a dick, but he thinks he’s a hero. [laughs] I think the hero of Beauty and the Beast is kind of open to interpretation, which is kind of exciting.
I agree. I feel like even with the remake, I found myself sometimes rooting for Gaston when you’re not supposed to do that. [laughs] He’s definitely a legendary character.
Absolutely. He’s one for the ages. To be able to join that family tree is a really cool opportunity.
Gaston has quite the personality to match. What did Gil inherit from his father? Any traits or mannerisms that we can look out for?
I think Gaston and Gil both got the short end of the stick when it comes to the brains side of the gene pool, but they’re not short on brawns The obvious similarities are there. He’s not the sharpest tool in the shed. He’s definitely the team’s muscle. I think that’s sort of where Gaston and Gil part ways. Gil is a lot more well-intentioned. I think Gil just really wants to be everyone’s friend, which is an interesting contrast to the rest of the villain kids and the rest of the kids on the isle. They want to be bad because it’s in their blood. I think Gil wants to be bad because it’s what his friends do, which is a fun thing to play with in a movie like Descendants where there is such a clear line between the good guys and the bad guys. To be a bad guy with good intentions was really interesting.
Where did you draw the inspiration for Gil’s character? Would you say you’re like him at all?
Yeah, absolutely. I think Gil and I have a lot of similarities as far as wanting the best for our friends goes. I watched a lot of Jeff Spicoli, a lot of Welcome Back Kotter – the classic characters of comedy that still bring a lot to the show and the movies they’re a part of. I definitely drew a lot on those elements – those sort of really sweet, dimwitted guys. But Gil’s a pirate. Obviously Pirates of the Caribbean was an easy one to watch and get the energy. It has a lot of the same elements for our show. A little bit of Pirates of the Caribbean, a little bit of classic comedians, and a lot of just who I am naturally. A happy-go-lucky sorta guy. He’s a combination of a bunch of different things.
How was the experience working with the cast? Are there any fun memories that stick out for you from filming?
Absolutely. The cast we had was probably one of the most fun group of people I’ve ever been a part of. We had a three-month process. Two months of rehearsals with dancing and choreography and fighting and blocking and things like that. We got to become really close in the process. By the time we got to filming, it felt like we had known each other for a really long time. When I first got to set, me and Thomas [Doherty] hit it off right away. He was the first guy I met, and then Mitch [Hope]. Kenny brought in all the dancers and the actors and had everyone go in a circle and introduce themselves. Right from day one, there was a real summer camp vibe. We shot it in the summertime, so it felt a lot like that! We were a really close group on the set, which is cool. … The cast had already gelled on the first project, [so] when they welcomed us with such open arms, it was reassuring that we were starting a new process. It felt like we were part of a family.
I know you can’t reveal too much, but what can we expect and what can you tease from this new chapter of Descendants?
This is going to be bigger and better than the first Descendants. The characters have grown a little bit, and with that, the action has grown and the stakes are higher. I think the fans can expect everything on a grander scale. I don’t know if I can say much more than that. It’s a pretty exciting show, and they don’t have to wait that much longer!
What are you most excited for the fans to see?
I’m most excited for the fans to see the pirate crew. I kind of have an invested interest in the pirate crew, being one of the pirates. [laughs] But I’m really excited for them to see that side of where [the pirates] come from. A lot more of Descendants 2 takes place on the isle, so there’s a lot more light shed on the world the VKs come from. I think the fans are gonna understand a lot more about the isle after Descendants 2.
How has the fan support been for you so far? Do you enjoy interacting with fans on social media?
It’s unreal. I was completely blown away by how passionate the fans are for Descendants. The fan art alone is enough to blow your mind. The people who like the show love it, and they want you to know it. That’s such a special opportunity. To have fans that are so invested in every element of the story and to be a part of that… We don’t get to do what we do without that. To have it to the umpteenth degree and be that intense, it’s really special. You feel the energy and the excitement. It fuels the film.
Is there anything else you’re working on that your fans can look forward to?
Right now, I’m working on a Netflix series called Travelers. I’m filming season 2. And the TV series Letterkenny – we’re about to film our third season. Letterkenny is only out in Canada, but Travelers and Haters Back Off are both on Netflix.
Don’t forget to tune in to Descendants 2 when it premieres tonight, July 21, on the Disney Channel.