For the past few weeks, The Bold Type has taken over here at Fangirlish. It’s realistic portrayal of millennial women friendships is what gets the most praise, but we decided it was time to hear from another side — the guy’s side. So we had a nice chat with Dan Jeannotte, aka Pinstripe, aka wax play guy, aka Ryan, about what it’s like to be apart of a show like The Bold Type and just his general thoughts! Read on for more!
Fangirlish: What does it mean to you, as a man, to be a part of such a feminist show?
Dan Jeannotte: Honestly, I feel so lucky to be a small part of a show that’s delivering such an important, positive message. It feels right for me, and necessary, to be a part of a feminist show at this particular moment in time.
I think that a lot of men like me – who strive to be good people, who want to be allies to women – often struggle with the idea of what, concretely, we can do to help women and the fight for women’s rights. Working on a show like this, an accessible piece of entertainment with a proudly feminist message, is perfect. It allows me to use my skills as an actor, and whatever influence I might have, to help put a vital message out into the world. We, as a society, need to be supporting our young women! We need to be telling them, and telling the rest of the world, that they are powerful and capable, that they are deserving of respect and success. And that, with a bit of optimism and some good friends by their side, that they can make the world a better place.
FG: How did you go about establishing the character? Pinstripe’s kind of the complete opposite of a f*ckboy. Were you surprised at that?
Dan Jeannotte: I think what’s interesting about Jane’s relationship with Ryan is that at first, she thinks, and so does the audience, that she knows who he is, or what kind of guy he is. But he turns out to be much more than that. He’s a fully formed person, not a caricature. The audience was probably just as surprised as Jane was to find out that he isn’t a douchebag or a creep. He’s a decent guy, who is honest about what he wants, but who also respects women and admires their strength.
I was given the sense from the get-go that Ryan would turn out to be more complex than he first appeared to be. So I wasn’t exactly surprised by that evolution – but I was excited by it, excited to get to play a role like that. It was such a great experience to play these scenes where I’m acting cocky, bantering with Jane, flirting with her, getting under her skin. But then also these scenes where I’m listening to her, supporting her, and being almost tender with her. That’s what we hope for as actors. To play real, multifaceted people.
And as we filmed the season, I think I brought some of my own personality into Ryan as well – some of my warmth maybe, and some of my humor. We tried to find the place where the character of Ryan meets the real personality of Dan. That sweet spot in the middle. And hopefully that makes the character more believable.
FG: Do you think Jane made the right decision breaking up with Pinstripe? Can we expect to see them reunite (or at least see more of you this season)?
Dan Jeannotte: I absolutely think she broke up with Pinstripe for the right reasons. She was not happy with the idea of dating more than one person at a time. She wasn’t going to compromise her own integrity, or put herself in an unhappy situation, just to stay in a relationship with a guy. I thought it was a strong move on her part, and a great message from the show: do what’s right for you.
The thing is though, personally speaking, I’m a #Janestripe shipper, I want to see them together. Sooooo I think she maybe could have gone about it in a different way – I think she could’ve said, “I don’t want to date more than one person. What about you?”, and given Ryan an opening to say “Good. I want to be exclusive with you too.” And of course Ryan could’ve handled it differently too – he could’ve fought for her, he didn’t HAVE to wait for an opening, he could’ve just said “Let’s be together, for real”. The way I see it is, they respect each other almost too much – Jane doesn’t want to try to change Ryan, so she doesn’t even ask him “would you be willing to change for me?”. And Ryan loves how strong Jane is, and wants to respect her decisions, so he doesn’t even say “wait, stop, I think you’re making a mistake.” Basically I think they’re both acting a bit too cool about it all, and they’re not admitting to themselves how much they feel for each other.
But I can tell you this: yes, Pinstripe Guy will be back before the end of the season. And they’ve still got that spark between them.
FG: Who’s someone on the show you wish you’d gotten to work with (or gotten to work with more)?
Dan Jeannotte: Meghann Fahy! (Sutton Brady) She’s very funny and genuinely sweet. I think we’d work well together and even if we didn’t work well together, we’d have fun doing it. But seriously, everyone in the show is so good! I want to work with them all.
FG: What are your thoughts on the fan reaction to the show and the Pinstripe Guy love?
Dan Jeannotte: The general reaction to the show has been so incredible. When you’re filming a new show, of course you’re hoping that it will succeed, but you just never know what people will think of it, not until it airs. To hear this kind of amazing feedback is so encouraging, and so validating.
The show is really connecting with people, for many reasons, and that’s amazing because it’s not just shallow entertainment we’re trying to make here – it’s entertainment, of course, but with a very current and important point of view. So to know that people are loving the show just makes you think, and hope, that maybe in some small way we’re making a difference. Maybe we’re changing people’s minds, or giving people hope. At least we’re contributing something positive to the general conversation.
As for people enjoying Jane and Ryan’s storyline, well, I mostly chalk that up to Katie’s performance. She is so endearing & lovable on screen – people want to see her be happy! I don’t take much credit for the “Pinstripe Guy love” – it’s because I’m playing opposite her. And because the costume department dressed me up so nicely.
FG: The relationship between Pinstripe and Jane feels real and not forced, did you and Katie Stevens do anything outside of shooting to make that chemistry authentic?
Dan Jeannotte: We made sure that before we filmed, we had a bit of time to hang out just the two of us. So we could get to know each other, get comfortable with each other. It’s tricky, when you have to perform vulnerable and sometimes intimate scenes with another actor – there’s a level of trust that’s necessary. Luckily, we got along well from the beginning. She’s such a grounded person, and so naturally kind. And very funny too, which is good, because humour is so important to me.
We opened up to each other, talked about our families, shared stories. I guess you could say we tried to fast-forward the process of becoming friends! And once we started shooting, we were fortunate to have great producers overseeing the show, and some wonderful directors, who helped us get to the place we needed to be, to create that feeling of an exciting new connection between two strangers. It’s a strange and delicate thing, finding “chemistry” and making it come across on screen. I’m so glad it was Katie I was doing that with.
FG: Since Pinstripe’s articles have been published in real time, have you read any of the articles and have you learned anything new?
Dan Jeannotte: Well I think I can say for certain that “wax play” is not for me!
FG: If you worked at Pinstripe, what would be your job?
Dan Jeannotte: I’d be a writer! Being a writer is actually something that I always have wanted, and still aspire to. If I worked for Pinstripe, I’d be a writer, but not a sex & relationships columnist like Ryan – I’d be more interested in writing about culture, society, and science. I respect journalism so much, I’d love to get to travel, do research and interview people, all in service of telling a good story and teaching people something interesting.
Make sure you watch The Bold Type every Tuesday at 9pm, only on FreeForm.