Gregg Sulkin On ‘Affluenza,’ Brats & Drawing Acting Inspiration From Leonardo DiCaprio [VIDEO EXCLUSIVE]
Gregg Sulkin, best known for TV roles in Pretty Little Liars and Faking It, plays a rich Long Island teen in Kevin Asch’s feature Affluenza.
Gregg Sulkin On ‘Affluenza’
Sulkin’s character Dylan is shrouded in wealth and mystery – a Great Gatsby like figure, according to the 22-year-old actor. Beneath the veil of his affluence, Dylan’s hiding a profound lonliness for which no amount of money can compensate.
“As the movie goes on you really see who Dylan actually is and he’s not as cool and he’s not as popular as people think,” Sulkin told uInterview exclusively. “He’s actually quite dark and isolated, kind of a lone figure, which kind of proves that you can have as much money in the world, but if you don’t have friendship, you really have nothing and no community.”
Sulkin admits that the struggles Dylan faces in Affluenza are foreign to him, as he’s benefitted from a stable upbringing and family life. He’s also known what he’s wanted to do and has had the support to be able to achieve it. To play Dylan, Sulkin had to reach outside of his own experiences to that of contemporaries, and also looked to established actors for inspiration.
“I’ve got friends in London who I kind of based a bit of the character on. I also watched a lot of Robert Downey Jr. and Leonardo DiCaprio before the movie,” said Sulkin. “Me and Kevin Asch, our director, spoke at length about making him this charming guy, but not too cliché. We wanted him to have some edge, we wanted him to have some secrets and some darkness to him.”
The inspiration for the bratty aspect of his character took a little less effort and a little less imagination. “I think there’s enough brats all over to be honest. I think that we have brats in England and we have brats in America,” said the actor, who thinks Dylan’s friends in Affluenza epitomize the brat epidemic better than his character.
While Sulkin doesn’t believe that wealth and exclusivity necessarily lead to bratty behavior and a lack of community, as is depicted by the characters in Affluenza, he does believe that if one has to choose, one should choose community. “I think there’s a saying that wealth brings exclusivity and poverty brings a community,” said Sulkin, musing about what he wishes young people will take from the film. “So I guess in life, it depends what you want. In my eyes, I think you can have both, but obviously only if you’re aware of it. So, to me community is a lot more important than exclusivity.”