'Smash' Star: Ellis Will Do Whatever It Takes

The Insider
'Smash' Star: Ellis Will Do Whatever It Takes

The first two installments of Smash gave Karen, Ivy, Julia, Tom, Derek and Eileen their chance to shine. Now, according to Jaime Cepero, Ellis is finally getting his time in the spotlight  -- beginning with tonight's episode!

And to hear Jaime tell it, Ellis is the kind of person who will go to any length to ensure his screentime isn't cut short again! That was just one of the eyebrow-raising reveals I got during a recent chat with the actor.

Insider.com: The first episode revealed that Tom finds Ellis attractive -- will we find out if those feelings are reciprocated?
Jaime Cepero: Tom finds Ellis attractive and that's all we know right now. As the series goes on, you'll see more [laughs]. I think more than anything else, Ellis really is just kind of excited to be a part of this world. It's very intriguing to him.

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Insider: Well he should get some credit -- after all, Ellis inspired Tom and Julia to write the Marilyn musical!
Jaime: That's true! He is kind of what got the whole show snowballing. Who knows what would have happened if he didn't pull that book off the shelf!

Insider: So will season three be about Ellis suing everyone else, trying to get the proper royalty checks when the show is a hit?
Jaime: [laughs] Quite possibly! Who's to say? He'll definitely going to do everything in his power to have a hand in the creation of this show and make sure it's a big success. He wants to be involved – by any means necessary.

Insider: In a lot of ways, your character has the most potential to be anything he wants to within the world of Smash -- that's got to be exciting as an actor.
Jaime: It's wonderful that he's so undefined. When you meet a lot of the other characters, they have their roles defined. Ellis is the only one you kind of wonder about. As the series goes on, I'm finding out more and more where this kid is coming from. That's been my favorite part about it.

Insider: Is that hard as an actor -- learning about his motivation as you go along, or have you had a good dialogue with the creators since the beginning?
Jaime: In my audition process, I had a work session with the head writer, so I got hints about where his storyline would be going just so I had an idea of how to play him. Going into it, I knew he would turn into the character he slowly becomes.

Insider: Was your journey towards landing Ellis similar at all to what fans saw Karen or Ivy go through?
Jaime: Absolutely. My callback process was very, very long. I'm pretty sure I was the last person cast on the show -- my callbacks went over the span of months. Because I was so new, the network was making me jump through all these hoops and really putting me through it. I totally understand that whole storyline Karen and Ivy went through. It's basically what I went through to land this role.

Insider: Looking towards episode three and beyond, what are you excited for fans to see?
Jaime: Episode three begins work-shopping the show, so there are lots of new songs and people will really see how challenging it is to make a musical. Lots of head butting and lots of drama from here on out. In tonight's episode, there's a scene I really love where Debra and Ellis butt heads – it's a great scene where you get to see a whole new side of Ellis.

Smash airs Mondays at 10 p.m. on NBC.

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