New You Chats With Younger Star Nico Tortorella
Posted On Nov 18, 2016
For Nico Tortorella—inked-up leading man on TV Land’s hit rom-com Younger—the future’s bright, the gym is church, and age is but a number.
It’s not hard to understand why Liza, the lead character on TV Land’s generation-bending sitcom Younger (played by Sutton Foster), would fall head over heels for Nico Tortorella. The 27-year-old actor and model from Wilmette, Illinois, is bright-eyed and perennially upbeat, with a “bad boy” spread of tattoo coverage and an anything-goes approach to life that’s irresistible. Tortorella is recognizable for roles in Scream 4, as well as the series The Following and Make It or Break It—and now, with his juicy role on Younger, he’s teamed up with a top-notch crew that includes Sex and the City creator Darren Star and wardrobe stylist supreme Patricia Field.
Here, we catch up with Tortorella to talk tats, dreams, and staying fluid in how we define ourselves.
New You: You’ve landed a great role on Younger, which boasts what is essentially a TV dream team.
Nico Tortorella: Between Darren Star, Sutton Foster, Hilary Duff, Debi Mazar, and the rest of the cast and crew, it seems too good to be true sometimes.
NY: Your character, Josh, is a young guy who falls head over heels for Sutton Foster, a 40-year-old who poses as a 26-year-old to be relevant in the work world. Were you familiar with Sutton—one of Broadway’s great performers—prior to this show?
NT: I started to work on the pilot two days after I was cast, and to be honest, I had no idea who she was. Mind you, I grew up in musical theater, but somehow there was a blank spot there and I had no idea who she was. Didn’t bother to Google her on the way to work. I showed up and asked her, “So, what do you do?” Very unassuming, she said, “I’ve done some theater here and there.” So says the multiple Tony Award-winning theater star Sutton Foster.
NY: The on-screen romantic vibe between the two of you feels pretty organic.
NT:There was immediate chemistry. Which is good, because it was trial by fire. We met an hour before we shot our first scene together.
NY: Younger hits on sensitive subjects, like feeling relevant and wanted in today’s professional world and society. What’s your take on the show’s message?
NT:We’re living in a time when age, race, gender, sexuality, and everything else about ourselves has become very fluid. This show makes the point that it’s time for everyone to be treated as equals. And what’s great is it does it in such a fun way. That’s the genius of Darren Star. Watch any episode of Sex and the City. It was all so fast-paced and exciting, yet touched on concepts that are really identifiable.
NY: Younger is about to start shooting its second season. How does its formula work without trying to be a Sex and the City offshoot?
NT:Well, first off, it makes great sense to move the New York story to Brooklyn, where so much is happening. I remember from Sex and the City, when Miranda got a house in Brooklyn and it was so unheard of. Nowadays, most of my friends live in Brooklyn. Beyond that, it was time to write new characters. Sex and the City lived a long story line, complete with two movies, and it will always mean a lot to its fans. This show is its entirely own thing.
NY: Tell us about Josh. He’s in his mid-twenties, he’s a tattoo artist, and he seems pretty earnest in his aspirations.
NT: Josh is a typical Brooklyn dude who wants everyone to be happy. He wants to drink beer, make cool music, chill out, and tattoo people. With Sutton’s character, he comes across as someone who’s excited to learn about his world. Everything’s exciting for her, and that’s the basis of their entire relationship. He’s psyched every day, too.
NY: You also get to work with one of our favorite actresses, Debi Mazar.
NT: Debi reminds me a lot of women from my family and those I grew up with. She’s definitely not afraid of speaking her mind. Really, there’s amazing camaraderie all over the set. There’s not a weak link. Usually on a show, there’s one person on set who’s causing drama, or who’s never happy, or who’s sleeping around. This set is so easy. The women all have families and I have a lot of stuff going on in the city, so we come to work, have fun, and go have our lives.
NY: On the show you’re obviously really fit, and even introduce Sutton’s character to CrossFit and urban dodgeball leagues. What’s your personal approach to looking great?
NT: I’m in much more ridiculous shape now than I was in the first season. There was definitely a point while shooting the first season when working out was a chore. But I stopped drinking at the beginning of the year to see how far I could go without it. It’s felt amazing. I’ve been doing hot yoga and about two hours at the gym a day. Such is the life of an off-season actor. I really love being at the gym.
NY: This is a very good-natured, fun show. Does your family tune in?
NT: Oh, my family is more excited about this than everything else I’ve ever done. I’m not dying or killing people. I’m not being chased by Ghostface [from Scream 4]. All my mom and grandma ever wanted for me was that I do a romantic comedy, and this is basically a six and a half hour romantic comedy, coming back for a second round.
NY: Josh is a tattoo artist. What’s your take on this generation’s proliferation of body art? Has it impacted your career?
NT: I’m covered in tattoos—I started getting them when I was 15. A lot of my good friends are tattoo artists. I get most of my work done at Shamrock Tattoo in L.A. Now, I do think my generation is going to be the last one covered in tattoos. A lot of my younger cousins and their friends don’t look at tattoos the same way. They’re saying, “I want to be the kid who doesn’t have tattoos.” Me, I will always continue to have tattoos.
NY: Just don’t mark up that face.
NT: I keep having a recurring dream about having my face tattooed, and in it I always call my agent, who freaks out. That’s not in the game plan. Honestly, I’ve been really lucky with work, in that 75 percent of my parts have been able to show my tattoos.
NY: Younger is a great launching pad for you. Tell us about your long-term career goals and how you see yourself growing in this industry?
NT: I really love working on TV. Sure, a big blockbuster would be nice but I just want to continue working and doing stuff that is satisfying. I’ve been writing a lot with my best friend, who has been a writer on a few different shows. We’ll go on vacation and knock out a script. We currently have a high-action script in the works and the idea for a cartoon loosely based on my life. It’s great to throw a bunch of stuff up and see what sticks
Photo Credit: Photo Image Press / Splash News