Skylar Astin has come a long way since rocking a double topknot as Georg in the original cast of Spring Awakening. After his charming breakthrough film performance in Pitch Perfect, Astin was tapped for the lead role of hotshot banker Brody Moyer in the TBS sitcom Ground Floor, which debuts on November 14. The down-to-earth young star chatted with Broadway.com about his humongous Times Square billboard, keeping up with Spring Awakening pals and his “grounded” relationship with girlfriend Anna Camp.
Give us a preview of Ground Floor.
It’s about what happens when you try to have a romance in the corporate world. My character is a master of the universe money manager, and when he hooks up with young Jenny from the ground floor maintenance staff and realizes he is very into her, he has to learn how to balance a relationship with work at work.
In other words, this could be an HR nightmare.
Exactly. That’s like a line from the show.
We’re loving the billboard of you in bed that looms over Broadway [above left]. How does that feel?
I thought I was going to be jumping for joy, but instead I just told the cab driver to keep driving because it’s uncomfortably large and I don’t have a shirt on [laughs].
Judging from publicity photos, you’ve got wardrobe of great-looking slim-cut suits.
Yeah, suits look good on guys, so I don’t mind suiting up! In movies, young bankers are often portrayed as the villain, but I love the fact that Brody is not cocky. He’s sensitive and meticulous about his presentation and gets upset easily—it’s funny to watch that kind of gender role reversal. And it's fun to play this type of character as the hero.
TBS calls Ground Floor a “modern take on Romeo & Juliet,” but we assume that means the star-crossed part, not the dead part.
There’s no tragedy in our piece! It’s a multi-camera sitcom for TBS that airs at 10PM. There’s no “happy dagger.” [Laughs.] The characters come from opposite worlds, and it’s fun to watch them bring out the best and worst in each other. Briga Heelan [as Jenny] has a theater background, and she’s so talented. And we have John C. McGinley, a Broadway vet, playing my strict boss and father figure.
Did you expect Pitch Perfect to become a breakout hit?
I never think like that, because I come from a humble theater background where even when they tell you the show is going to Broadway, you don’t believe it until opening night. But [co-star] Rebel Wilson, who is a very smart, confident person, told us when we were rehearsing that the movie was going to be, in her words, “major.” She was definitely right.
And you got a gorgeous girlfriend [Broadway vet Anna Camp] out of it!
We were friends first, but yeah, a year later, we started dating and it’s going very well. She’s just a wonderful human being and I love her.
Is there a secret to juggling a relationship and two busy acting careers?
We keep the relationship grounded in reality, and we don’t let the business swallow us up or tear us apart. And we enjoy each other’s company! It’s just a regular relationship.
We loved the photo Lea Michele tweeted a few weeks ago of the two of you having lunch with Jonathan Groff.
I was in San Francisco doing press for the show and Jonathan was filming his show [Looking] there, so of course I called him. It just so happened that Lea was in town visiting him, so it was absolutely perfect. We’ve shared ups and downs and we really love each other. We'll be friends for life.
Has Lea given you any advice about handling TV stardom?
Not really. I kind of roll with the punches and just hope that people will like the show. I want longevity in this business, and I don’t focus too hard on the "famous" game. I want to do my last role when I’m 80.
We hope that includes a return to Broadway.
I want to so badly. I miss it so much! I’m 100 percent open to it if there’s an opportunity that makes sense and the timing works out; I will be there as soon as I can.
What about Disney’s stage version of The Princess Bride?
Oh my god, is that being done? I am so out of the loop. Absolutely! Put it out there! I’d do it in a heartbeat.