Romantic lead Bryan Greenberg has made a name for himself playing the nice, sweet boy in everything from feature films opposite Anne Hathaway and Uma Thurman to starring as a nice, sweet boy in a CW drama. One might infer that appearing on an HBO dramaedy would assume a slightly edgier, more serious role. However, last we saw Greenberg on that network he was simply playing a version of himself: nice, sweet actor in George Clooney's Unscripted. So his role as Ben Epstein, a graphic designer who hustles his way through New York chasing the dream of launching his own denim line in HBO's newest original program, How To Make It In America, shouldn't come as much of a surprise either. After all, Greenberg manages to bring an inherent impish charm to every role, regardless of how it's written.
After all, according to the actor himself, his new role is "a very complicated guy, and he has a lot of demons." When we first meet him, he has just broken up with a girl (Lake Bell) on whom he is still pretty hung up; he is working a dead-end job as a floor salesman at a department store; and he is in debt with a loan from a guy who just got out of jail and a bunch of skateboards he can't move because the boarder has disappeared. But the show is being billed as a half-hour comedy so he worked very closely with the writers and producers to "not make him a Bummer Ben."
Early reviews from TV.com are comparing Make It to long-time HBO favorite Entourage. After all, the guys like to party (an upcoming scene is shot completely on cameraphones from their POVs) and it is from the same producers, Mark Wahlberg and Stephen Levinson, and director Julian Farino). But Greenberg doesn't think that's such a fair assessment. After all, Make It, perhaps most obviously in the title, is very much about guys who are still struggling to start out. Entourage begins with the male lead already a bigshot.
Greenberg says: "Being involved in the show, I kind of hope that these characters do get some success, but the show's called How To Make It...it's all about while they try to achieve their dreams, life happens. Their friendship is tested; they run from the cops; they fall in love with girls; they party and have good times. And that's really what the show's about: the journey, not the destination."
Elaborating on the style of the show, Greenberg notes that they're "trying to achieve realism here!" In fact, the show has such a raw feel that when they were filming on New York City streets, selling leather jackets out the back of a van, they would have real people stop them and ask how much they wanted. The actors would have to point out that they were just filming a scene, and there was a camera on the corner.
Greenberg has had a pretty impressive career for still such a young actor, and he is only getting bigger with this new series as well as a new independent film with Alexis Bledel, The Good Guy. When asked the secret to his success, he admits spent some time when he was just out of college and trying to make things happen hustling from job to job, just like his on-screen counterpart Ben. "It's really tough; [sometimes] you have to take jobs that you don't want to achieve the dreams that you do want. But the thing about trying to make it-- in any career, really-- I think if you give yourself a Plan B, you're going to take it. It's so hard out there pursuing your dreams that if you give yourself an out, you're going to take it. So I never did that...I felt like that would be giving up on my dreams."
Greenberg's hard work and persistence certainly paid off, but he also has the talent to back him up. Head over to TV.com to check out a sneak peek of the series before it premieres on HBO this Sunday at ten!