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US TV Interview

Hart of Dixie Wilson Bethel Q&A: 'Wade and Zoe have lots of chemistry'

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Consider us very excited, because the second season of Hart of Dixie is hitting UK screens on Really on Monday! We started watching because of our love of Rachel Bilson, but then the show won us over with its charm and cast of characters - including Bluebell's resident bad boy Wade (Wilson Bethel).

We recently gave Wilson a ring to have a chat about the new season, Zoe and Wade finally getting it on (and their "sexual energy", oo-er), Wade becoming more than just a bad boy, getting fired from The OC and, er, shirtlessness...

Wilson Bethel as Wade in Hart of Dixie

© The CW / Michael Yarish

Wilson Bethel as Wade in Hart of Dixie



Congratulations on Hart of Dixie getting renewed for a third season! How does it feel to know you're going to get to stick around for a little longer?
"I mean, it's such a great opportunity in multiple regards, partly just because I really enjoy working on Hart of Dixie. The cast are obviously a great bunch, the crew, the writers. Over the course of two years it's become a pretty cool family, so there's that element of it which I feel incredibly blessed to be a part of. And then of course there's also the story element and I'm really excited to see what possibilities could arise story-wise in another year of shooting and I think there's some really good places for Wade to go and for the whole town of Bluebell to go, so that to me is also a really kind of thrilling enterprise. You get to be a character over the course of a season, two seasons, three seasons and then suddenly you watch this full development."

Over in the UK, the last thing we saw was Wade and Zoe getting together - were you pleased that finally happened?
"Yeah! You know, I think with that much sexual tension in a relationship, everybody gets to breathe a sigh of relief when it's finally manifested. So yeah, I think it was definitely a long time coming and probably overdue by the time it happened!"

So going into season two, what's the situation with Zoe and Wade? Are they a couple? Is she with George? What's going on?
"I think what you'll see at the beginning of season two is a lot of Zoe trying to figure out what the best course for her is. If she wasn't firmly situated in a love triangle before, she certainly is now. And she's got some decisions to make because she's basically got her choice of men a little bit."

Who do you think she belongs with? I guess you're probably a little biased...
"I was just about to say! As far as my job goes, so much depends on, 'Oh, of course she belongs with Wade!' No, look, at the end of the day I think Wade and Zoe have a lot of chemistry and I think there's something that - both for me playing the character, and also over the last two years with fans' response and stuff like that - it seems that people really respond to the very opposing forces that are Zoe and Wade. But those forces, when they kind of get charged with the sexual energy, it's pretty fun to watch. The sexual energy, but also the needling and the kind of mutual antagonisation."

It seems like kind of a head versus heart thing.
"I would definitely agree with that, yeah. And as we all know, going with your head is never the move!"

Wilson Bethel as Wade in Hart of Dixie

© The CW / Michael Yarish

Wilson Bethel as Wade in Hart of Dixie



What about Wade and George - is there going to be any tension between them given the Zoe situation?
"Yeah - if I remember correctly, it kind of comes to a pretty abrupt head in the first episode of the second season. I mean, look - George basically left his bride-to-be at the altar for Zoe, so he's got a lot at stake. But the nice thing is that at the end of the day this is Bluebell we're talking about - we're not doing a Shakespeare tragedy! No-one's going to be killed! That I know of..."

Wade's kind of the bad boy character. What's your favourite part about playing that kind of role?
"It's just super fun. I don't know - it's just such an incredibly fun character to play. You know, from the kind of laissez-faire approach he takes to life to his kind of drunken antics to his - how shall we say - 'unchivalrous' ways with women! He's just fun. He's fun. And what's nice is that even as I kind of grow up and would like to think I'm maturing out of certain bad habits of my past, I'm able to continue exercising those bad habits in fictional form! It gives me an excuse not to fully grow up."

But we do see another side to Wade - not only with Zoe, but with his dad. Does he come up any more in the second season?
"Yeah, he sure does, and actually there's some really wonderful moments. Wade grows and develops a lot over the course of the second season, so expect to see that. And that's something that I'm really happy that the writers indulged my character and, I guess, indulged me with. There's some really nice character development so that Wade isn't this one-dimensional, archetypal, bad boy character. I think even by the end of the first season people were seeing that that wasn't really necessarily an accurate way to describe him."

Wade is the kind of character that fans really love - the kind of character that ends up with lots of gifs and shirtless pictures on Tumblr! Does that side of things ever bother you?
"Uh, well, it doesn't make it any easier at family reunions! You know, it's a little weird, I guess. I definitely catch a lot of flak about it from friends and stuff like that. If I were a bond trader I think I would have more things to be embarrassed about, so if the extent of my indiscretions in my professional life is that I take my shirt off one too many times, I think I'm doing okay."

I also wanted to ask you about Hart of Dixie having that real small town feel - it's got a very specific location and tone. Do you think that's part of its charm?
"Oh, absolutely, yeah. I think maybe for a British audience too it's kind of cool to see what small town American life looks like. It's a different kind of picture from a lot of what's portrayed in film and TV. You could get the sense that it's all LA and New York. I grew up in a small town myself and I have a lot of love for what place small town life holds in American culture and in any culture, really. It's so important for the nation. I think we do obviously over-dramatise it in a way or kind of poke fun at it with all the small town events and festivities, but that stuff's all real and that's the way that culture's preserved - through weird, quirky local traditions. And we have the fortunate opportunity to be able to incorporate that and make that part of the fun of the series."

Wilson Bethel as Wade in Hart of Dixie

© The CW / Michael Yarish

Wilson Bethel as Wade in Hart of Dixie



I was going to ask you about the events - there are always so many and they're good fun! What can we expect in season two?
"I knew you were going to ask that! Honestly, there are so many I can't begin to explain! There are a lot. There's more - that's about all I can say. Expect more."

When you first started the show, was it strange working with Rachel given that you kind of started your career with a guest role on The OC?
"[Laughs] Yeah - well, it definitely felt like I'd come full circle a little bit. I definitely felt a lot better about working with her in this context than I did then, which is like, I was f**king scared s**tless, it was my first job ever, and I basically got fired from it! So it was good to feel that I was part of something rather than this insignificant pawn in a machine that didn't want me! It's a long story but there you have it!"

Well you must feel a lot more comfortable now, at least.
"Yeah, yeah, yeah. Like I said, it feels good to know I'm actually a real part of the team now."

So just finally, what else can we expect from this season? Why should we be excited about getting to watch the show again?
"I guess expect a lot more of the same stuff that you came to kind of love and appreciate about the show in the first season. I think the writers have done a really good job and continue to do a really good job of creating a very quirky, fun town with plenty of dramatic twists along the way. There are a lot of great new townspeople, characters introduced in the second season, and more screen time for some of the parts that were going in the first season. So it's all the wonderful, quirky world of Bluebell and you get to see a whole lot more of it in the second season."

Hart of Dixie is new and exclusive to Really, Mondays at 8pm from Monday, June 3 (Sky 248, Virgin 267, Freeview 17).

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