Hulu has teamed up with Marvel in creating their new weekly series Runaways, based on the comic of the same name and starring, among others, Gregg Sulkin. The streaming service says of the show, “Every teenager thinks their parents are evil. What if you found out they actually were? Marvel’s Runaways is the story of six diverse teenagers who can barely stand each other, but who must unite against a common foe — their parents.”
One of those diverse teenagers is Chase Stein, described as the proverbial high school heartthrob. He’s viewed as the stereotypical dumb jock, but, as he quickly reveals, there’s much more to him than people suspect.
Gregg is probably best known for his recurring roles on Wizards of Waverly Place and Pretty Little Liars, as well as being featured on Faking It. Plus there have been film roles, including Don’t Hang Up and Anti-Social. In the following interview, he shares his views on the show and the character.
J-14: Let’s start with trying to get a sense of who your character is and what kind of journey he’s on in this first season.
Gregg Sulkin: I play Chase Stein. With Chase, what you see in the first season is from the outside everything looks great. Chase is a high school lacrosse player, he’s living life, he’s fine. Then, in the pilot, when you see that the parents are not the best human beings on the planet, and you realize he’s had a terrible relationship with his father, it puts Chase in a very interesting situation. Now he has to bring justice to those who are doing wrong, which is his father. The thing is, Chase doesn’t like his father, but at the same time he’s still his father and blood is thicker than water. Bringing your own family member down is a lot tougher than people think, and Chase is going to be battling that throughout the first season.
J-14: There’s this huge Marvel legacy that the show is obviously a part of, but there’s also this great legacy of shows like The OC and Gossip Girl that both have young casts and young-oriented storylines with a young audience in mind. I’m wondering if you could talk about being a part of that legacy as well as working with those producers Stephanie Savage and Josh Schwartz, who did those shows as well?
Gregg: Josh and Steph, they know what they’re doing, obviously. Their record speaks for itself. For us, why we love working with them, is their character first. The focus is always on the characters. Then you put those excellent and developed and well thought out characters into a Marvel universe with superheroes and supervillains, and you have a Marvel show where the backdrop is Los Angeles, and you have a really cool show on your hands. For us, the fun part is we play relatable teenagers and very good characters at the same time.
J-14: Was one of the early concerns that this would be a typical teen drama, where everybody’s swapping boyfriends and catfighting? Or was there a chance to take those familiar teen tropes and really put a unique spin on them?
Gregg: The stakes are high. I think the reason why we’re not swapping boyfriends and girlfriends is because we’ve got bigger things to do and bigger things to focus on, i.e., bringing the parents down and saving humanity. That’s our focus. At the same time, these characters have a history together. You’re not going to be dealing with a lot of the fluffiness that some teenage shows tend to do. We’re just very lucky that we landed two excellent showrunners. The backdrop, everything to do with the show, and the production value is fantastic. I think we’re just dealing with a bigger teen drama.
J-14: Are you a fan of this type of material, the superhero thing?
Gregg:I think every person is a fan of Marvel, in all honesty. They do such good quality. For me, it’s always been characters or story first, special effects after. Thankfully on this show our characters and story are excellent, and then we just have some fantastic special effects. I don’t want to see someone thrown from a building just for the sake of being thrown from a building. It’s not interesting for me to watch. Whereas on our show we have a beautiful blend of both. That’s what fans are going to respond to. Sure, you’ll watch a show for one episode. It’s cool, special effects, great, he got thrown, he fired things. There’s a reason behind it and there’s a gravitas the show actually has, and a relatability factor. That’s what the fans are going to gravitate towards. And then they’re going to be blown away by the special effects.
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