#MCM: “All American” Actor Michael Evans Behling Talks CW Show And How He Got That Jordan Baker Bawwwwdy
If you haven’t been watching CW’s hit show “All American,” you’ve truly been missing out. We’ve been tuning in since season 1 for the high school football drama and we’ve definitely had our eye on the ball when it comes to Michael Evans Behling, who stars as Jordan Baker, Beverly Hill High’s star quarterback and son of Billy Baker, the team’s coach and a former NFL Player. When a star player from a rival school Crenshaw High enrolls in Beverly High, it affects Jordan emotionally and physically. Starring alongside icon Taye Diggs, and Daniel Ezra, the series seamlessly navigates through both worlds of Crenshaw and Beverly Hills. If you’ve been watching, you already know Jordan has been having some serious issues over the course of the past two seasons — some of which have had to do with his identity as a mixed man—Black and White, and another that’s put Jordan at a crossroads at the end of Season 1 when his father Billy Baker revealed a huge betrayal. We caught up with Michael Evans Behling to get the scoop about the show and what’s next for him. Check out our Q & A below:
BOSSIP: What’s been the response that you’ve gotten from playing Jordan Baker?
Michael Evans Behling: For me looking on Twitter it’s been positive and negative for me. Meaning people dislike my character, which for me is amazing because Jordan in the beginning of Season 2 has been kind of an A-hole, he’s been a little bit off the rails, which has been tough to play, so for them to hate him — for me it’s positive. It kind of gives me more reinforcement that I’m able to play an arrogant guy, so for me it’s positive feedback.
BOSSIP: What are the relationships like on set? Who are you closest to?
Michael Evans Behling: I think I’m closest with Daniel Ezra, mainly because in the first season we were bumping heads a lot, which meant we had a lot of scenes together. In the finale we have that rekindling moment where we come together and say we’re brothers. In real life I think that’s true. Me and Daniel spend a lot of time, whether it’s on set or we come back to the crib and watch a lot of Netflix and order food. That’s basically what our days off and our weekends look like. He’s my best friend, he’s my brother and he’s probably the one person I would go to with any issue that I have .
BOSSIP: He’s British right? Have you been helping him acclimate to American culture?
Michael Evans Behling: Here and there. He stays in his American accent so sometimes he’ll say words that I’ll kind of raise an eyebrow atm and he’s like “What! Oh that’s right you guys don’t say that.” So he’ll snap out of it. But yeah, he teaches me things about the UK and here and there I teach him things about the States. So it’s a pretty cool friendship that we have.
BOSSP: You mentioned watching Netflix, what’s currently in your queue?
Michael Evans Behling: To be honest we don’t watch a lot of new shows, so we’re rewatching “The Office,” we’re rewatching “Family Guy,” I recently did binge “Living with Yourself” with Paul Rudd and I really did enjoy that. It was a dark comedy, that was a pretty cool show to watch, but for the most part we’re rewatching old shows because they’re funny and they don’t take a lot of energy to watch. Watching a new show takes a lot of energy you have to really be honed in.
BOSSIP: How would you say your high school experience stacks up to the one on “All American”?
Michael Evans Behling: There are pieces I can relate to and there are pieces that I cannot. The party scene – as far as Beverly Hills goes is much more – it’s bigger, it’s more elegant. In high school I didn’t go to the big parties so it’s hard to compare but in Beverly Hills the parties are massive compared to the events back home in Indiana. But it’s interesting because my character, we’ve never actually seen him inside a classroom. The whole first season and I think the second season either. Beverly Hills is bougie. I’m from a small town in Indiana and we don’t really get the same opportunities as the Beverly Hills people. There’s some pretty big differences just as far as the whole atmosphere, it’s much more elegant than my high school was. And privileged.
BOSSIP: You’re shirtless on a lot of the show – how do you prepare?
Michael Evans Behling: We are lucky enough to have a trainer. One of the guys on the show is our trainer, we met the first season. His name is Scott Benzing, so we have a hashtag #bodybyscott. We’re generally in the Warner weight room before work, during lunch if we can squeeze it in, or after work — Monday through Friday. It’s cardio, weightlifting — just to keep up to appear to be high school athletes who are competing for Division 1 scholarships.
BOSSIP: Your show has a black female showrunner named Nkechi Okoro Carroll, what’s it like working with her?
Michael Evans Behling: She’s great. She’s absolutely amazing. She’s like my mom away from home. I can go to her about anything, just go in her office and talk about anything. She also has this amazing drive of wanting the best from us. Anytime she comes on set or we’re in her office she wants the best which is good. I love to be pushed so I love that aspect about her. She’s so creative, with everything she writes, the scripts this season and last season, are amazing. I love her. The writing is phenomenal and for me I feel very grateful to have that opportunity to be on a show that has such great writing because I don’t think I would have as much fun if the writing wasn’t this good and she’s a part of that.
BOSSIP: Has anything been more challenging for you, where you’ve had to push yourself further on the show?
Michael Evans Behling: Any emotional scene is tough for me because I’m not a very emotional person. Also in season 2, I believe next episode, we’ll be introduced to a character and this character is going to kind of be a catalyst for Jordan in a sense that she’s going to make him to shift, in a positive way and also in a slightly negative way as well. It’ll be good though. There are a couple scenes Jordan has to be furious so I try to be as poised as possible, logically, without letting my anger and my temper flare up. Getting into that mindset of a 17 year-old kid who is kind of angsty as it is and ready to jump at anything – we’ve already seen in the first four episodes, those are the hardest thing for me, being disrespectful for me, especially towards the female cast.
So there will be a new character introduced, I can’t say too much, she’ll have a major role in Jordan’s life.
BOSSIP: What else are you working on?
Michael Evans Behling: I also have a clothing line, Designed At 5 AM, we’ve been putting our stuff online and that’s what I’ve been focused on for the last year and a half.
“All American” airs on The CW Monday nights at 8:00pm.
Photographer: Bret Lemke
Styling: Apuje Kalu