Graham Phillips stars in Staten Island Summer, a movie penned by Colin Jost, playing a version of the Saturday Night Live head writer.

Graham Phillips On Playing Colin Jost

Phillips plays Danny Campbell in Staten Island Summer, a character created by Jost in his own image. For Phillips, who’s best known for playing Zach Florrick on The Good Wife, it wasn’t that much of a stretch to take on the part. Though Phillips could relate to a young Jost, he did decide to go the extra mile and spend some time with the comedy writer to pick up some of his mannerisms.

“I am similar to Colin and therefore I am similar to Danny Campbell in a few ways,” Phillips told uInterview in an exclusive interview. “I did hang out a lot with Colin, just to get a feel for who he is. You know we played golf quite a lot; we’re both really avidly into golf. It became a low-key imitation of him. I don’t know even know if he even noticed, but I really tried to pick up on his little idiosyncrasies and try to bring him across.”

Phillips, giving some insight into the Weekend Update co-anchor, explained that he’s at once confident and shy. The 22-year-old explained that Jost’s recent successes could be the reason for his newfound ease in the spotlight.

“He’s confident, but at the same time, you can tell he grew up being a very shy guy. It was a pretty recent development that he came into his own,” said Phillips, adding, “I definitely am playing a version of him before he became a little more comfortable with who he was and a superstar on SNL.”

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When Jost was asked what he thought about Phillips channelling his teenage self, he had nothing but praise for the actor – but tried to put some distance between himself and the character of Danny Campbell.

“He was fantastic,” Jost gushed. “I mean, It’s not exactly me, but he was great. He’s a phenomenal actor and I had seen him in things for years. And he was always just really good. I was very happy to have him in any version of me.”

Staten Island Summer is available on digital now and will be released on Netflix July 30.

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Q: Graham, what was it like to play a version of Colin Jost in the film? -

My character is based on Colin Jost, the writer, and head writer of SNL. The film is a little bit autobiographical. I am similar to Colin and therefore I am similar to Danny Campbell in a few ways. I did hang out a lot with Colin, just to get a feel for who he is. You know we played golf quite a lot; we’re both really avidly into golf. It became a low-key imitation of him. I don’t know even know if he even noticed, but I really tried to pick up on his little idiosyncrasies and try to bring him across. He’s at the same time a confident and shy person. He knows how to hold himself. He is confident, but at the same time, you can tell he grew up being a very shy guy. It was a pretty recent development that he came into his own. I definitely am playing a version of him before he became a little more comfortable with who he was and a superstar on SNL.

Q: Colin, what did you think of Graham's portrayal of you in the film? -

Oh, he was fantastic. I mean, It’s not exactly me, but he was great. He’s a phenomenal actor and I had seen him in things for years. And he was always just really good. I was very happy to have him in any version of me.