Interview | Kit Williamson Talks “Mad Men” Role & New Project, “EastSiders”


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Another star has found his way on PSLoveCharli’s entertainment radar! Kit Williamson returned to AMC’s final season of “Mad Men” as Ed Gifford which premiered on April 13. Additionally, Kit is best known for the award winning web series “EastSiders” that premiered on LogoTV.com and will begin shooting a second season this summer. Kit wrote, directed and starred in the series alongside notable names such as Brea Grant (Dexter), Van Hansis (As The World Turns) and Sean Maher (Much Ado About Nothing). The series made a cable debut as a feature film on LogoTV, and has won both the Indie Series Awards and LA Web Fest. The series also released a digital comic. I got a moment to catch up with my fellow Mississippian to get all the deets about his role as Ed Gifford (Mad Men) and new project, “EastSiders”.

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Charli: Hi Kit! So it’s crazy, I’ve watched you on Mad Men, but absolutely had no idea you were from Jackson, MS! That’s wild. I attended high school and college in Jackson, however currently living in the Washington, DC metro area. So HOW did you get started in the entertainment/acting industry?
Kit: Such a small world!  My first experiences acting were at New Stage Theatre in Jackson, Mississippi– the only repertory theatre in the state.  From there I went to boarding school at Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan to study acting and writing and then on to college at Fordham University in NYC, where I got my BA in theatre.  I started acting in experimental shows downtown and that led to a Broadway show, “Talk Radio,” my Junior year of college.  A couple of plays later I moved out to LA to pursue TV and film.
Charli: What has been some of the challenges during your journey towards success?
Kit: Staying creatively engaged is really challenging when most of the time you’re just auditioning.  There’s so much work between jobs, if that makes sense.  Someday I’d like to say I can think of auditioning as an extension of my craft but if I’m being honest staying creatively fulfilled is really challenging.  That’s what led me to get my MFA in playwriting at UCLA– I wanted something that would sustain me while I was looking for work.  But academia wasn’t really enough for me, so I created my series “EastSiders” while I was in school– just to ensure that I would never sleep! 
Charli: You play Ed Gifford on Mad Men — what has it been like to play that character? Any similarities or differences?
Kit: It’s been so amazing playing Ed for two seasons.  I really relate to the world and it’s such an amazing gift to be able to learn from the other actors in the cast.  Sometimes it feels like I won a competition and I’m getting swimming lessons from olympic athletes or something.  Personality wise, Ed is very timid and anxious and I am very aggressive and anxious.  Maybe aggressive is the wrong word for me, but I’m certainly ambitious and determined and I think Ed is more concerned with staying out of the line of fire.  I can definitely relate to that, but I usually can’t keep myself out of the fray.  We’re both oddballs, too, which is fun.  
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Charli: What was it like working with the cast? (Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, January Jones, Vincent Kartheiser, etc.)
Kit: Everyone is so kind and welcoming and great to work with.  The cast loves to play games and hang out as a group and they are really friendly towards new people.  They can get really competitive when it comes to catchphrase, which is good because I always play to win!  
Charli: Can you talk about your latest project, The LGBT series “EastSiders”. What’s the story?
Kit: EastSiders is a dark comedy about a gay couple dealing with the aftermath of infidelity in Silver Lake, CA.  It stars three time daytime Emmy nominee Van Hansis and a lot of amazing guest stars.  We produced the first season independently and it got picked up by Logo.  We’re doing a second season and bringing Willam Belli from Rupaul’s drag race into the cast, as well as Satya Bhabha from New Girl.  We’re currently raising funds on kickstarter for season two through May 18th
CharlI: What inspired this project?  
Kit: I wanted to play a gay character, because although I’ve been out since I was sixteen I’ve never gotten to play gay!  Not even in, like, a school play.  I also wanted to create gay characters that were every bit as flawed and complex as we allow straight protagonists to be– exhibit A being Don Draper.  I can’t think of many gay characters that are afforded that kind of complexity and depth of character.  We’re usually depicted as the friend or the comic relief or, worse, a caricature of a human being.  
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Charli: How can fans donate or support “Eastsiders”?
Kit: You can donate to our kickstarter through the 18th!  We have a lot of amazing perks, from digital downloads of the show to DVDs to Skype sessions with the cast.  You can even get a producer credit or a walk on role in the series.  
Charli: How can fans connect with you via social media networking?
Kit: I’m on twitter:  @kitwilliamsonAnd my series is: @eastsiderstv or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/eastsiderstheseries
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