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Jan 22 2016
Hammering Jonathan Bennett: My Chat With The MEAN GIRLS Star On Being A Gay Homewrecker, A Cake Warrior & The Ultimate Cute Boy In School Comments (0)

Jonathan-Bennett-gayBennett as Lucas, who will steal your boyfriend, on Hit the Floor

You know him as Aaron Samuels from Mean Girls (2004), the Citizen Kane of movies with which SNL alums had anything to do. But since I spent 14 years as a teen-magazine editor, I also remember him as an unconvincingly blond Bo Duke in Dukes of Hazzard: The Beginning (2007), only because that's the set on which I first met him, an interview for which Bennett graciously hosted me in his trailer, even changing in front of me. God bless. That's more than Zac Efron ever did for me, and it almost helped Bennett land the four-page poster in my magazine that he charmingly, openly coveted—almost, but we probably just gave another one to Jesse McCartney or someone.

I325761Bennett went blond and Randy Wayne went brunet for Dukes of Hazzard: The Beginning (2007).

Since then, I really wanted Bennett for an aborted stage version of my novel Boy Culture (he tweeted polite acknowledgment) and he made my blog's list of History's Hottest Movie Actors.

Now, starting January 25, Bennett is joining VH-1's basketball-themed Hit the Floor, playing Lucas, a Judezero11dashing sports agent who threatens to intrude upon the love story unfolding between Los Angeles Devils star Zero (Adam Senn) and fellow sports agent Jude (Brent Antonello).

Jude & Zero  Images

Check out a scene from the show above—and then we can “get to hammering.”

Lucas is so clueless he doesn't even get it at first when Jude hits on him, but let's just say that Lucas is a fast learner.

Screen Shot 2016-01-21 at 9.08.03 PM

Keep reading for my chat with Bennett, in which I ask him about dance stuff, acting stuff and gay stuff ...

Boy Culture: How would you describe your role in Hit the Floor?

Jonathan Bennett: I think he’s a character that people are either gonna love to hate or hate to love... and I can’t tell which until the fans see it.

BC: So you're not playing him as being necessarily good or bad?

JB: Are there such things as good and bad, as far as characters? If you’re a Jude and Zero fan—which a lot of people are—I might come across as a bad guy. If you’re not, I might come across fine. It just depends what your stance is on their relationship.

BC: But do you enjoy playing a troublemaker?

JB: Absolutely. It’s really fun to come onto the show and kind of be the Dennis Menace type of character between the two. It’ll get people talking and having opinions about the show—and that’s fine. It’s all in a day’s work.

BC: I'm sure you're a good guy in real life, but ever have fans confuse you with roles you play?

JB: Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! I played J.R. on All My Children and some lady was on a subway I was on and she said, “This is for Dixie!" and threw a water bottle at my head. So I was like, “You do realize that this is a character, right?” It’s funny when people get really into that.

Jonathan-Bennett-and-Allison-Holker-dance-Jive-on-Dancing-with-the-Stars-19-VIDEOAll smiles with DWTS partner Allison Holker

BC: Hit the Floor is set in the world of basketball, and the dance squad the Los Angeles Devil Girls. Are you a basketball fan?

JB: I’m not a huge basketball fan, but because I got to do Dancing with the Stars right before this, a lot of the girls like Allison Holker, my partner on the show, helped me feel kinda comfortable.

Jonathan_bennett_psa_by_declareyourselfPSA for David LaChapelle

BC: Empire lost some fans over its gay storyline. Why do you think fans of Hit the Floor will be more accepting of your storyline?

JB: You know, I think what’s so interesting about this storyline, when it comes to gay story lines on television—which is why I wanted to do the role—is it’s fresh. I’ve never seen anything like this. Normally, the stories of guys kind of figuring it out, are usually in their teens or late teens. Jude and Zero are figuring out what they want later in life. Both of them don’t know if it’s gonna work, but they know they have feelings for each other, even though they’re not feelings they’re used to. But they’re going to go with it because there’s definitely some type of love there toward each other. So I think that’s so interesting. Not many times on television are there characters like this where it’s kind of a gray area when it comes to who they wanna be.

BC: I'm hoping you haven't been asked the dreaded questions when actors take on gay roles, like, “What was it like to play gay?” or “Do you think it's brave to play gay?”

JB: Well, it’s funny, it’s funny, well, it’s, I mean, it’s funny because I, uh, it’s funny because me and Adam Senn were friends before, uh, Hit the Floor. We had known each other back when we were, you know, kids in New York City. So to get to come on the show and get to, like, see him act and, like, [he's] all grown up—that was, that was really interesting. And it was really fun to, like ... thank God he was there, because I was nervous coming into it because there is so much, you know, pressure with this storyline, and with the content, with this character—there’s a lot of pressure all around. So having Adam, having known Adam before this, made it all easier. And Brent Antonello is the nicest guy you could ever work with.

BC: How sexy is this storyline gonna get, Jonathan?

JB: It’s—it’ll get hot. There’s gonna be some steamy episodes. That’s all I’m gonna say.

Tumblr_maxf4abpED1rfpcy0o1_500The Samuels smirk

BC: That's all I need to hear! How often do you get asked about Mean Girls?

JB: Every single day. I've been asked about Mean Girls every day for the past 12 years, and I’m recognized every single day for the past 12 years.

BC: Well, that's a good thing—you haven't changed in 12 years!

JB: [Laughs] I have a good doctor. It’s such a blessing and such a great thing to be involved in, and I—it’s, I would never trade it for the world, being Aaron Samuels and getting to play such an iconic character in pop culture. People can ask me questions about it and talk about it all they like, because I don’t know what it would be like not to talk about Mean Girls at least once a day.

BC: Does that mean you're up for a reunion if one were cooked up?

JB: I always say I’m up for doing a reunion. We’re not keeping a secret from you! But if it did happen, I would totally be game for it. I’m totally up to do it. On the flip side, there’s something beautiful and special about just letting it be. I don’t think doing a reunion is going to make the movie any better or build the fanbase. Letting it lie how it is is also very beautiful and special. Plus, name one time people thought the sequel was as good as the original.

BC: The Godfather: Part II.

JB: (Drily) Okay, fine. The one movie in the history of time. [Laughs] goof-off on Cake Wars

BC: You did Dancing with the Stars, and now you're hosting Cake Wars. Will you do more and more reality stuff?

JB: I love doing the reality stuff! I love it, and it’s so much fun to host, because I’m, like, a goofball. Everyone thinks Aaron Samuels is who I am, which couldn't be further from the truth. I’m like a goofy, nutty, quirky guy, so getting to go on Cake Wars and be myself … I have the best job in the world. Food Network is the best company in the world to work for. I get to come out on stage, make people laugh, watch people make amazing cakes, and then I get to eat ‘em.

BC: I was just gonna ask: Who are you to judge cakes? You can't be eating many.

JB: [Laughs] I’m not gonna lie—I have to spend the rest of my day in the gym. It’s part of the job, bro!

BC: In a recent interview, you demanded that the title of it be, “Is there anything Jonathan Bennett can't do?” So what's the answer to that question?

JB: No, dude!  I got it. What do you wanna do. Let’s shoot it. I’m ready. I love what I do for a living, and I love my jobs and getting to…I’m very, very lucky that I get to do this. If it sounds like a fun project, I’m always in. A lot of people don’t do things for certain reasons, but this is gonna be six weeks of my life. If it sounds like I’m gonna have a blast doing it, I’m gonna go for it.

BC: Great attitude.

JB: You gotta stay positive, man. We were all put on this earth to be awesome and, like, have awesome experiences, you know? Why not do it? Life's too short. After losing both my parents last year, I realized how short life was. I’m not gonna sit around and wait anymore and worry about what other people are gonna think about projects that I do—I’m just gonna have fun.