One of the standout new characters on season two of Netflix's You is Forty Quinn, played brilliantly by James Scully. You may recognize the 27-year-old actor from Paramount TV's Heathers reboot, where he played JD—but that character seems tame compared to the explosive, high-strung Forty. If you haven't checked out the second season of You yet, it centers on Joe (Penn Badgley), who's left New York City for Los Angeles after murdering Beck. He vows to turn over a new leaf while in California: no more killing or pining over manic pixie dream girls. But that all goes to hell when he meets Love Quinn (Victoria Pedretti), with whom he develops a Beck-like obsession for. Thrown into this mix is Forty, Love's brother, an unstable, aspiring screenwriter who quickly latches onto Joe. The dynamic between these three is fascinating, dramatic, and lends itself to some incredibly binge-able TV. Trust me on this: The twist and turns in You's second season blow the ones from the first out of the water. And that's saying something.
Below, Scully talks to Glamour about the second season—and also answers some questions about his life off-screen, including what he's looking for in a relationship for our Inappropriate Questions, Glamour’s column that asks all the cheeky, slightly off-kilter stuff best saved for a second (or better yet, third) date. Read on.
Glamour: You, in the first season, got a lot of attention for the left-of-center names on the show—names like Peach and things like that. How did you wrap your head around playing a character whose name is a number?
James Scully: It just helped. It helped deepen the character. Like, what a ridiculous name for a person to have. Also, I don't know if I'm allowed to say this, but the name of the gentleman who sold me weed in New York, his name was Forty, and I loved him. Anytime anybody said my name in a table read, [they] just chuckled. What a ridiculous thing to name your child.
Is there a character you've played that is most like you in a relationship?
I play a lot of psychopaths and drug addicts, so I guess I hope not. I guess maybe Forty, actually. That sounds ridiculous to say, but I am somebody who is definitely in a relationship, kind of needy, needy, needy, needy, and then, like, "Whoa." I feel like Forty has that sort of violent back and forth, like, "I need other people and also other people annoy the shit out of me," thing going on.
Is there a dating or relationship rule you think is total bullshit?
Anything about who should pay [on a date] I think is really weird. I'm gay, [and] people will always ask "Who's supposed to pay on the first date when it's two guys?" I feel like you're able to figure that out in the moment. It doesn't have to be weird.
Fill in the blank: I love when my partner...
I love when my partner is a little rough with me, and I don't just mean I like to be spanked in bed—although, incidentally, I do. But I mean I like to be challenged and I like to be called out on my bullshit. I don't want to date a yes man. I like somebody who's going to push me to be the best version of myself, and especially be honest with me, even when it's a difficult thing to do...Definitely be sure to include [the spanking quote] in the article, just in case anybody's reading it that might want to date me.
Let's say you have a full day to binge-watch something. What are you watching?
I think it would be Euphoria, because I haven't watched any of it yet, and everyone's like, "Oh my God, you haven't watched Euphoria?"
What do you think is the sexiest thing about yourself?
Right now? I want to say my personality, but what an eye-rolling answer that is. I guess my thighs and my butt, honestly, right now. I don't even know if that's objectively true, but it feels good to say it, so...
What is the weirdest thing that you do in your alone time?
So, I was a cycling instructor for three and a half years, and it's something I still really enjoy and feel like I'm good at. The easy answer to this question is talk to myself, but I feel like literally everyone talks to themselves when they're alone. Sometimes when I'm feeling really creatively blocked, I'll just put on one of my old cycling playlists and teach a cycling class in my empty apartment. You know what I mean? Just, like, pretend there's people in there, just to get myself hyped up and open up different parts of my brain creatively. I never make it all the way through 45 minutes. Eventually I'm just like, "You must look and sound ridiculous right now." But it helps.
So you'll basically play the role of the instructor, yelling and encouraging a group, but it's an empty room?
Yeah. Again, I did it, like, every day, multiple times a day, for three years. So I could easily just slip back into it. And yeah, it's basically me monologuing over loud, positive pop music. But just like out the window to the hills of Los Feliz, not to anyone in particular.
Have you ever ghosted someone?
Yes, I have—although I want to believe that if I've ever done it to somebody who I felt like really deserved a response, I think I'm pretty good about reaching out and being like, "I'm sorry I handled it that way." But some people I feel like think I ghosted them, and I'm like, "We met one time and you sent me entirely too many text messages and it just needed to stop." There's definitely people who I've just ignored, and I should've said something. It's bad, you shouldn't do that.
Screw, Marry, Kill: Weed, pizza, or a cocktail.
Definitely kill the cocktail. As much as I occasionally love an adult beverage, they're not good for us and I feel like lead to poor decision-making. I would say marry weed because that's pretty much already what's happened, I think, whether I want to admit that or not. So then screw the pizza, for sure. Yeah.
Back to the adult beverages: When you do choose to partake, do you have a hangover cure?
What I just try to do is a glass of water to each cocktail. I try to only drink the same liquor all night, tequila. And I try, whenever possible, to just drink straight tequila. And then just remembering to take two Advil and drink a huge glass of water and maybe eat some crackers, like chips, before you fall asleep. That, or ordering seven breakfast burritos the next morning.
Let's rewind to the beginning of the night. Let's say you stopped by a convenience store on your way to a party. What are you buying to bring?
A bag of Tostitos Scoop chips and a container of Tostitos queso, which I will probably eat all by myself. And maybe a $7 bottle of wine.
Of all the characters you've played, what's been your favorite on-camera love scene?
So you've watched the whole second season [of You], right? This isn't really a love scene, but most of my love scenes have been straight. And I love my female coworkers, but in the eighth episode [of You], we have that moment where I confess that really painful thing to Joe, and then he comes over and sort of holds me on the floor and I cry myself to sleep in his arms. That was a version of that scene that Penn and I sort of created together. It's not what was written in the script, but we talked a lot about the relationship between Forty and Joe, which at that point was a little more than a friendship, obviously. I think it's a different kind of [love]. It was two, at least partially heterosexual men being physically intimate with each other in a way that wasn't sexual or violent. That was really important to me, and it was really important to Penn. And also, not for nothing, but having Penn Badgley hold you on the floor while you cry is a therapeutic experience that I feel like everyone could benefit from.
Let's say you're alone in bed and you're about to fall asleep. What's on your mind?
For a long time it's been the show, but I've sort of relaxed about that. I guess the world, my family. I'm one those people who, in the 10 minutes before I've tried to start falling asleep, my brain is like, "Let's think of every stupid thing you've ever done in your life." So, actually, probably that: embarrassing shit I did in high school that for some reason my subconscious can't let go of.
You mentioned your family for a second there. Do you have a favorite family member?
[Laughs] No, I love them all equally. They're all going to read this! No, I really do. I mean, the dogs are definitely the easiest people to deal with. My family members, they're a kooky ensemble of characters, but I love them all.
Where is the most surprising place you've hooked up with someone?
Full disclosure: the bathroom in a club? I don't know. Generally speaking, I try to keep it to beds, couches and cars. But I feel like I've definitely, probably gone into a bathroom stall with somebody and made out. I don't know if that counts as hooking up. I don't want to go home with this person, you know? But I do want to make out with him. And so like, better here than on a park bench or something...Every time I've done it, I've definitely, definitely been caught by a bouncer who was not amused.
Do you have a type?
Not really. If you lined up all of my exes next to each other, they're all pretty different. I respond really well to rounded, direct, confident people. Confident! That's what I'll say. Confident guys are sexy as hell. That's what I've found. Even if the first time I look at a guy [and] I'm like, "I cannot find myself immediately attracted to this person," if they come at me with any amount of swagger or blind confidence, that's very attractive and can be a game-changer.
What is something everyone seems to love, but you dislike?
Things that are traditionally romantic, like giving flowers or baby talk or just lots of verbal affirmations, I don't really love that. It's funny because I'll date guys, and they'll try and hit me with that—with just lots of mushy-gushy, sappy, Hallmark nonsense. "Let me love you, let me fix you." And I'm like, "No, I just don't actually enjoy this." Everything about Valentine's Day is a woof.
So then it seems like your idea of romance is a little bit different. What, in your opinion, is maybe the most romantic thing you've ever done?
To me, it's like quality time and acts of service. I think it's doing things with your partner that you would never normally do alone, but you're doing it because it's important to them that you be there with them. I had a boyfriend in New York and he loved hot yoga, so we would take 90-minute hot yoga classes together all of the time—which, again, not my first choice. But I think there's no ambiguity there. I came to the class. I showed up. I took the class with you, and we lay next to each other, panting in a puddle of sweat. That's how you know I'm into you, because I showed you by doing something.
On the flip side: What is the biggest romantic fail you've experienced?
I went on this first date once, and the guy was really cool. He was so handsome and very articulate. We went to this really nice dinner, and then afterwards he was like, "We're going to go to this acrobatic cabaret show in this club downtown." He wanted to take these weed brownies before we went, and I was like, "I'm a happening young man in New York City! I can hang!" So we ate the brownies, and then it was just a disaster. It was so bad. I was violently high. He was very pushy. We got to the club and then the show didn't start for, like, seven hours. I was like, "I can't, we have to go. I can't do this."
So how did you get out of it? How did you make your exit?
I was so stoned that I kept trying to wander away from him. Like, when he was in line outside and then in the club. And he kept being like "Stop walking away." He got real pushy real quick. I ended up going home with him because I don't know why. I don't know why. I guess because I was that stoned. And nothing happened. He tried so hard for, like, an hour, and I just rolled over and faced the wall and was like, "Let me pretend to be asleep."
What's the most inappropriate thing a fan or a stranger or someone who knows you from your work has said to you?
Nothing terrible, really. I mean you get the occasional requests for pictures of your feet, to which I'm just like, "Very flattered by your interest, not going to happen." I guess it's become a thing, especially for the younger generation, that they just—especially fans of a show like You—but they'll say things like, "kill me" or "choke me" or "run me over." Part of me thinks it's hysterical, and then another part of me is like, "Do you need somebody to talk to? Can I refer you to a service or maybe get your parents involved?"
You season 2 is now streaming on Netflix.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Christopher Rosa is the staff entertainment writer at Glamour. Follow him on Instagram @chris.rosa92.
Originally Appeared on Glamour