Wilson Bethel, 'Hart Of Dixie' Star, Talks Rachel Bilson Rap, Zoe And Wade's Future
When he's not spitting rhymes in his free time, Wilson Bethel takes on the challenge of playing Wade, the resident bad boy on The CW's "Hart of Dixie," who's currently hung up on the adorable Dr. Zoe Hart (Rachel Bilson). Last we saw of the should-be couple, Zoe had to take a rain check on their date. But Bethel says that that's just one of many frustrations to come for Wade-Zoe fans.
"His relationship with Zoe will remain as contentious as always," Bethel told The Huffington Post in a phone interview. "I wish that I could say that I had a clear idea of where their relationship is going to be at the end of the season, but I don't. You can definitely expect a lot more of the kind of stuff that makes their relationship frustratingly charming, which is to say that nothing is coming too easily, but all of the stuff in between is pretty fun to watch."
While Wade and Zoe will continue to take their sweet time getting to know each other, Bethel does think that a rap battle for Zoe's heart between Wade and George "needs to happen."
If the fight for Zoe on "Hart of Dixie" was like a rap battle, then Bethel's consistently shirtless Wade would always come out on top. Need proof? Look no further than Rachel Bilson's hilarious Funny Or Die video, "Call Me Doctor," which was written and produced by Bethel.
HuffPost TV chatted with Bethel about his idea for the Funny Or Die video (Two words: "Doogie Howser"), how Bilson "crushed it so hard" and a potential musical episode in the show's near future.
How does it feel to have released one of the funniest viral videos ever?
That definitely has contributed to my good mood! There's no doubt about it. It's also just an incredible release to have put in quite a bit of work now over the past handful of months and finally have it ushered into the world, and to have it not only be received well, but received as broadly as its been. It continues to grow! It's pretty awesome.
I mean, I know all of the lyrics. I've listened to the song multiple times a day.
Are you serious? Oh my god. That is so awesome! You don't know how flattering that is. I've always been a big lyric learner myself, and I know that it's a labor of love, so the fact that some of my own lyrics are now being memorized is pretty thrilling.
So how did the video come about?
Two things happened in the fall that were both initial pushes toward the concept. I did a fake public service announcement for The CW back in October. They had approached me with this idea of a fake PSA about climate change, and I wasn't real crazy with their original idea ... so I wrote back to them and said that I think we can do something a little edgier with it. It was kind of a brazen move on my part, which I'm not sure if they appreciated very much. But I was like, "Look, can I just do this myself and submit it back to you guys?" So I rewrote it, and we shot it for nothing over a weekend. I brought it back to The CW, and they were thrilled with it, and I was so excited about it that I came back to them with another 10 or 12 ideas that I thought could work. Of all of the ideas that I pitched, the one that I thought was least likely that they would sign on for was the one that they ultimately ended up doing in a heartbeat.
It takes a lot of jabs at the critics. Was that always the intention?
Well, the way that I pitched it to them was, "It's an in-your-face, hardcore battle rap of Rachel addressing those who find her unbelievable as a doctor." And they just loved it! The idea itself came from this Television Critics Association panel that we had done. It was me and most of the cast and the creator Leila Gerstein. And there must have been at least 10 questions that were like, "Do you really expect people to believe that Rachel Bilson is a doctor?" And poor Leila, who is just the sweetest woman -- I don't know if she wasn't ready for it, or if she just didn't have a canned answer ready, but she was just beat into submission. I'm just sitting there watching it, and I'm like, "These assholes. You're watching a TV show!" There are plenty of conceits on television that we believe, and one of the more unbelievable ones shouldn't be that it's possible to have a 30-year-old attractive female doctor.
And so then you were like, "Two words: Doogie Howser."
That was the first line that I knew was going to be in the song! I knew that "Doogie Howser" was a punchline because it was so obvious to me that there was an infinite number of more egregious examples of unbelievability than Rachel as a doctor. And certainly "Doogie Howser" was a doctor is one of them.
At what point did you decide that you needed to include "The O.C."? Because that was my favorite verse. Did Rachel have to approve everything?
My brother produces music so we went in, and he produced the beat, and I wrote to the beat. ... We recorded it with my voice, so there is an original version of this with me rapping, and even with the opening bit with, "You say I don't look like a what?" I do the whole thing. After we finished that, I passed it on to Rachel. It's remarkable because she was so game. I remember telling her that I was going into this meeting with The CW and telling her about this idea, and she was like, "Oh, yeah, that would be so funny." But I don't think she actually thought anything would happen. I'm not sure that she actually believed that this was going to happen until the day that we were on set to shoot the video. She brought her serious swag on set. She crushed it so hard. Everybody was super impressed, and as soon as she started getting into it, we knew that we had a hit.
It was hysterical. I mean, the Mischa Barton dig was a little low, but made sense.
That was definitely pushing it! The idea that I had behind it was that you can get away with a lot if you're making fun of yourself. It was never in the spirit of trying to denigrate Mischa Barton, but I'm a big fan of free game humor, which means that you go after yourself, and you go after what's around you. We had to mock "The O.C." because so much of Rachel's public persona is tied to that, and so that felt like a very necessary part of it. And then, when you're coming up with ideas for what that part is going to include, you fish for the funny bits!
You mentioned Adam (Brody). You mentioned Ben (McKenzie). You didn't mention Peter Gallagher's eyebrows though.
You know, the truth of the matter is that I'm good with references that I don't really know anything about. I only ever saw one episode of "The O.C." and that was the episode that I was in.
Are you kidding me? I was hoping that you were an avid fan and that you were going to tell me that you've seen the entire series multiple times.
No, no. It's funny because just the other day, I pulled Rachel aside, and I asked her, "Does Vera Wang actually make shorts?" The cadence worked and the words worked, and I probably should have checked much sooner, but I loved the line so much that I just let it fly. I still have no idea if Vera Wang makes shorts. It doesn't matter. Rachel recently got an email from Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce -- a personal email -- saying that they loved the video and that she was rocking the Dolce lab coat. They were like, "She crushed it." That, for me, was pretty fucking badass, and I'm not even into style.
So does this mean that we can expect Zoe to start rapping in a future episode? I hope so.
Hey, I think Season 2 might have a moment. I secretly have the hope that The CW will adopt The CW gang sign as their network insignia. I just think a good way to give useful credibility to the network is for kids to be able to flash that. Like, "Did you watch 'Gossip Girl' last night?" and then somebody just flashes that gang sign and then you know that they did.
I think you may be rewarded with that sooner than you think. That's all I'll say.
Well, it definitely needs to include a rap battle between George and Wade. That's all I'm saying.
The word is out! That needs to happen. I'm going to put up an advocacy webpage today.
Wade could totally win it! I mean, you did the demo.
Girl, come on now. That goes without saying!
"Hart of Dixie" airs Mondays at 9 p.m. EST on The CW. In case you haven't checked out Bethel and Bilson's amazing "Call Me Doctor" Funny or Die video, check it out below.