photographer / André Vippolis
story / Jessica Rounds
grooming / Sydney Zibrak
stylist / Leah Adicoff
assistants / Shawn Corrigan, Nick Tooman
catering / Valleybrink Road
equipment / Siren Studios
Jacket; Levi’s. Shirt,Wildlife Works. Pants, Diesel. Shoes,Genericman.
“Life takes funny turns, and you end up where you are supposed to be one way or another, if you are willing to embrace it – if you’re not scared of saying ‘yes.’” Saying “yes” has Scott Porter playing a grunge rock lifeguard in his upcoming film THE TO DO LIST, starring Audrey Plaza and Bill Hader. His character, Rusty Waters, peaked in high school as the top-dog rock star and is squeezing in plenty of summer shenanigans before facing the daunting post-collegiate “real world”.
Porter’s real life transition involved less partying and more work, and if he could go back and tell his old school self anything, it would be to take a page from Rusty’s book and relax and enjoy. “I worked three jobs after high school: dishwasher at Panera Bread, accounts receivable department at AT&T Wireless Communications and as a busboy at the Polynesian Resort in Walt Disney World, Florida, all simultaneously so I could save up and focus on playing sports and studying structural engineering in college.”
Shirt,Wildlife Works. Sunglasses, Oliver Peoples.
The script called for the hair of Kurt Cobain and the body of Marky Mark, so with merely three weeks to prep for the role, junk food aficionado Porter had to buckle down on intense workouts and clean eating. The perks included a chiseled body, working with a cast bulging with comedic genius, playing guitar and singing, and getting to be a bad boy for once. Cutting loose as Rusty was a welcomed contrast to the consistent roles of the straightforward guy next door, including Jason Street on NBC’s Friday Night Lights and currently George Tucker on The CW’s comedy-drama series, Hart of Dixie.
The truth is Porter is equally driven and easy-going. His willingness to say “yes” to opportunities followed by subsequent hard work has provided him with steady work. All of his acting training came from actually acting – as in, he never studied formally, landed a part on Friday Night Lights by virtue of a memorable, moxie-filled audition, and there began his thespian training under the tutelage of Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton. His character suffered a football career-ending collision, leaving him paralyzed from the neck down, and Porter began his acting repertoire with the most dramatic and responsibility-filled role to date. “What I learned from Kyle and Connie is that you have to find the pieces of the character that you completely do have in common. You can’t be embarrassed of owning all of your feelings. With Street, there was a huge immaturity that came with dealing with his injury, and at that time, I was still very immature. I had to be willing to admit that as a person, I was immature, and that’s the common ground I had with the character. Then, you embellish on the things that you don’t share.”
Porter welcomed his role on the smartly cute (but not dumb) romantic comedy series, Hart of Dixie. He was ready for a break from the serious work, and needed something lighter. Between the stresses of planning his wedding and being the foreman of the remodel on his house, Porter knew that a mentally taxing role would have been tough. Hart of Dixie dovetailed nicely with real life events to help create a synergistic balance between work and life. Shooting in small town Wilmington, North Carolina meant he and his castmates could step off set and go to a bar, bowling alley, arcade, karaoke bar or just hang out. “It’s really great to have that kind of relationship with a cast, because it makes a show click on all cylinders,” Porter said, who’s currently shooting season three. He definitely made it clear that he doesn’t get too stressed in his downtime, reading graphic novels religiously and getting out his competitive spirit as a member of organized basketball and football leagues in Los Angeles.
Shirt, Jacket, Pants; G Star. Shoes, Genericman. Sunglasses, Oliver Peoples.
The fun roles continued right into THE TO DO LIST, when writer and director Maggie Carey said she’d love to have Jason Street in her movie. With an appreciative tone, Porter noted that the most intense role of his life led him to doing the silliest, most over-the-top role he’s ever performed. “You never know where things are going to lead you. I don’t know why I’m even in that group of names,” he said with laugh, referring to the all-star cast. “For me to even be mentioned in that rare air is really an honor. Trying to hold my own in a scene with Bill Hader, Aubrey Plaza, and Donald Glover is acrobatics but fantastic, adrenaline-pumping and energizing.”
No one will ever accuse Porter of not throwing himself fully into an experience, and as an audience, we’re lucky that he does.