Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: Albany Daily News. Posted by Lexi Schwartz
Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Lexi Schwartz
Currently Known For:
Actor and Musician
2000s - Present
June 27, 1987
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“I’m always connected with music. Life’s not always what you see; it’s what’s going on in your heard. Music is what comes out of your subconscious.” Ed Westwick was only a year into launching his career as an actor when he caught the break of a lifetime and was cast alongside Leighton Meester and Blake Lively in The CW’s new television drama, Gossip Girl, in 2007. The British actor gave a powerful performance as the charming and conniving Chuck Bass for five seasons as he extended his reach into film with Breaking and Entering (2006), Son of Rambow (2007), S. Darko (2009), and J. Edgar (2011). Since wrapping up Gossip Girl in 2012, Westwick has stayed busy with his most recent project taking him back to the BBC Two where he plays Vincent Swan in White Gold (2017-Present).
1980s to Stardom
The youngest of three children born to a university lecturer and an educational psychologist, Edward Jack Peter Westwick came into this world on June 27, 1987, in Hammersmith, London. “I grew up in a middle-class English family just outside London,” Westwick recalled. “I wasn’t surrounded by that speedy city lifestyle. It was a little mellower.” That mellow lifestyle gave him plenty of room to pursue his interests, so he started taking music lessons and drama classes at the age of six. He completed his A-levels in business, law, and communication at North Hertfordshire College and briefly trained at the National Youth Theatre in London.
Thanks to his association with the National Youth Theatre, Westwick responded to an open casting call for Breaking and Entering. He won the part of Zoran and made his feature film debut alongside Jude Law in 2006 followed by his next appearance in Children of Men (2006). He also appeared in popular television series like Doctors (2006), Casualty (2006), and Afterlife (2006). Briefly returning to film as Lawrence Carter in Son of Rambow (2007), everything changed for Westwick in 2007 when he auditioned for and won the part of Chuck Bass in The CW’s new teen drama, Gossip Girl. Coincidentally, he had another offer on the table—to star in the American version of the British-African safari park drama Wild at Heart. Westwick chose Gossip Girl instead.
“I was just doing bits and pieces of acting in the UK. I’d been in the film Breaking and Entering—Anthony Minghella gave me my start and I miss him dearly,” he said. “Then I made the trip out to LA, during one of their pilot seasons, which was when they were developing Gossip Girl, and I auditioned, and things came together.”
Adopting an American accent and basing his character loosely off of Carlton Banks from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Westwick gave a stellar performance as Chuck Bass and was soon named one of the Sexiest Men Alive by People Magazine. As television’s new favorite villain, Westwick embraced his character and earned two Teen Choice Awards alongside costars Leighton Meester and Blake Lively. “Lock up your daughters, definitely,” he said of Chuck Bass. “He’s intelligent and quite slimy in the way he manipulates to his gain… He goes after what he wants. Sometimes that’s not a good thing. He’s got a long way to go before he’s a nice guy.”
Throughout his five seasons on the show, Westwick earned numerous honors in addition to endorsing products like K-Swiss. He also saw his film career flourish with credits in 100 Feet (2008), S. Darko (2009), The Commuter (2010), Chalet Girl (2011), and J. Edgar (2011). On television, he only made a guest appearance in Californication (2009) but that soon changed after he wrapped up Gossip Girl in 2012. Dabbling in films like Romeo & Juliet (2013), Last Flight (2014), Bone in the Throat (2015), and Freaks of Nature (2015), he returned to television in full force as Kent Grainger in Wicked City (2015).
Life After Gossip Girl
Despite his success on Gossip Girl and his overnight fame, Westwick remains humble. “I don't come from a famous family and don’t have this detachment from everyday people and everyday life,” he said. “I’m just doing my job and the attention that comes with it is part of the territory.” He refuses to let that attention inhibit him. “I’m always going to go out and do what I want to do. I don’t think it pays to close yourself off,” he said. “You see situations with certain people where it has literally become a frenzy… people start to forget they are professional actors.”
Refusing to forget his purpose and talents as an actor, Westwick has spent the last few years pursuing smaller projects. He appeared as Ben Collins in The Crash (2017) and lent his voice to a character in Family Guy (2017) before playing Sonny Castillo in four episodes of Snatch (2017). Most recently, he joined the BBC Two television series White Gold as Vincent Swan, which reminded him once again of his love for his native England. “I love England and when you’re sitting out here… it’s hard to love anywhere more,” he says. “London fascinates me, and obviously this is where I’m from. It’s what I know. But in the last two years, I’ve begun to add something else to my repertoire. I’ve become comfortable with the New York lifestyle and the American way, and I really love it out there… I love working in America. I love being part of the industry.”
In his spare time, the 32-year-old Westwick also plays in the British punk band, The Filthy Youth. Coincidentally, two of the band’s singles—“Come Flash All You Ladies” and “Orange”—were featured in an episode of Gossip Girl. When he isn’t busy with the band or with his latest acting project, Westwick shies away from the cameras especially after the controversy in 2017 when three women accused him of improper conduct in 2014. The complaints were later dropped, clearing Westwick’s name.
Outside of the charges, the only other rumors circling Westwick involve a Gossip Girl reunion. “I know there’s a bunch of them coming back—I hear they’re doing Will and Grace, they’ve done Gilmore Girls… but it’s such a strange thing to think about,” Westwick says. “It feels like we only just finished! And I haven’t done enough in between yet to feel like I could comfortably revisit it. And I did so much with that character—it’s played out, man. It’s done.”