You may also know rising star Dan Jeannotte as Earl James Stuart from Reign or Brandon Russell from The Good Witch, but now the buzz around him majorly belongs to his new character, Ryan Decker, from The Bold Type.
Ryan is the sex writer from Pinstripe Magazine who writes about sex, love, and more sex. He’s also the young man currently in a “situationship” with Jane, who’s turning her world upside down with new experiences.
I recently chatted with the Jeannotte about his acting origin story, what drew him to The Bold Type, and his thoughts on Jane and Ryan’s relationship. He was also kind enough to share with me some interesting stories and episodes to look for in the future of the series.
Apparently, Jeannotte’s latest role as a magazine journalist on The Bold Type is the perfect match for the actor’s initial passions as a child. He explained that he’d always wanted to be an actor or a writer. However, film has also always been in his heart.
“[I went] to see movies every night of the week,” Jeannotte said. “Just constantly at the movie theatre. I thought I wanted to write and direct movies.”
However, as is the case with virtually everyone, things changed when he got to college.
“I became friends with a guy in my [liberal arts] program who told me that he was putting together an improv comedy troupe and that I should try out for it. I’d never done anything like that. I tried out for his troupe and I really loved it,” he recalled.
“Around the same time, the same guy told me that he was doing a play at our college and that I should come and see it. I went to see his show and I watched a bunch of kids, my age, putting on this amazing musical theatre production, a show called Pippin. It just kind of blew my mind that kids my age were doing this magical story-telling up on stage. And I was like: I want to do that!”
“So, I switched programs into a creative arts program and started doing theatre. I started doing improv comedy. I found that I had a passion for it, and I seemed to be decently good at it. At least I wasn’t terrible at it,” Jeannotte laughed. “I really went all in and started doing theatre and started doing improv, and I still — to this day — do improv comedy with that same guy and the group that we put together in college. It’s been 17 years.”
After Jeanonotte graduated from John Abbott College with a DEC degree in Creative Arts: Theatre Workshop and mastered Communications in Concordia University’s graduate program in 2004, his career quickly began in the competitive world of acting. In 2006, he got his first role in the English version of a video game titled Samurai Warriors 2.
Shortly after this, he began guest starring on television shows and movies, such as Sophie, Being Human, and Red 2. The trend of video game action roles and guest appearances on TV and film continued until he landed his first recurring role on Hallmark Channel’s The Good Witch, from 2015-2017, and his second recurring role on Reign from 2016 to 2017.
Then finally, he scored the role of Ryan, the character that most of us know him as from The Bold Type.
When asked what drew him to Freeform’s new breakout hit, The Bold Type, Ryan responded with what made this show so different from the others he’s acted on before it.
“I got to read a few scenes between Pinstripe guy (as he was written in the script) and Jane. It was very funny and sexy, and I had been coming off a show that was pretty serious. I was looking to do a comedy or something comedic because that’s my background,” he said.
“So I read this and I thought, ‘Wow, this is funny, and it has, you know, an edge to it,'” Jeannotte continued. “But also the Jane and Ryan scenes felt like an emotionally grounded kind of story. It felt like it was dealing with the arc of their relationship in a realistic way.”
“And then once I got a chance to actually read the full script, I was like, ‘Aw man. It’s not just funny and sexy; it’s smart and political. And it has this amazing [trope] of women supporting women,'” he gushed.
“It’s just a positive show. There’s so much stuff out there right now that’s negative, cynical, and this show deals with really wavy things but it doesn’t get bogged down by like ‘Oh my God. What a terrible world we live in.’ It’s like, ‘Okay, there’s some bad stuff out there, but there are ways we can face that bad stuff with positivity and supporting each other.'” So, just all around, there was a great attitude to this show.”
He then let us in on a little detail about the script he read for the part.
“The scene that I auditioned with never ended up being in the show, which usually happens, since it’s always being rewritten. But I auditioned with this scene, which you could imagine is kind of a couple months into their relationship, and they’re talking about: ‘what is this? Are we letting emotion come into this? Or are we just friends with benefits?’ It’s echoing some stuff that actually is in the show, but the scene itself doesn’t exist anymore.”
He then continued to explain that he thought the story was “really nice” and that he “would love to do this kind of relationship story,” that followed the realistic trials of a new relationship with two up and coming journalists. So, of course, I had to delve a bit deeper into what “this kind of relationship” really meant.
When asked to describe Ryan and Jane’s relationship in three words, Jeannotte thoughtfully responded with the adjectives: electric, challenging, and adult-like.
“Electric because there’s a real electricity between them. I’d call it challenging, because they’re both pushing each other out of their comfort zones and challenging each other’s ideas. And it feels… adult-like. In a sense that, they’re being mature about what they want from each other, what they’re getting from each other, and the way they talk about things feels to me like they’re not just being reactive. Although, they might have a couple of moments of that. It’s like they’re being respectful of each other, and that feels very adult-like to me.”
I was glad to hear this because sometimes Jane can be reactive, and immediately when something goes wrong she wants to jet. However, it’s great to hear out of the horse’s mouth that they do grow past that stage, and we get more deep and meaningful conversations like the one they had on The Bold Type Season 1 Episode 3 about love and sex in journalism.
Jeannotte gave a few more hints as to what’s in store for the couple in the upcoming episodes of The Bold Type.
“I think people can tell from watching the show [that] it’s not the kind of show that puts all of its emphasis on ‘if you find the right partner, you’re going to be happy.’ There’s more to life than that. The show knows that. And I think that that plays out in an interesting way for Jane and for Ryan.”
“It’s Jane’s story more than it’s Ryan’s story, and she has to make some decisions about what she wants in life,” he continued.
“It puts them both in a bit of a roller coaster but she’s doing it for the right reasons. For her own happiness. For her own fulfillment.”
Jeannotte’s a man who gets it, and I applaud him for that insight, especially in a show that focuses on feminist values and women who lean in and don’t ask permission to do so. Before we finished the interview, he gave me one more fun nugget to hold onto as The Bold Type progresses into its later episodes.
“There’s an episode that I’m really looking forward to down the line. We call it our “Breakfast Club” episode on set because a bunch of the characters get stuck in one place together, and they have to spend a bunch of time just sort of killing time. It’s very funny and fun. I get to interact with a bunch of the other actors, which was really fun too.”
“Although,” he quickly added, “I don’t need interaction with anyone else, because Katie Stevens is a gift. She’s the best. But it was fun to get to play with other people too.”
*Featured image credit: David Leyes
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