In Season 2 of the Mindy Kaling and Justin Noble comedy, he portrays Andrew, an arrogant and prickly student who clashes with Whitney (Alyah Chanelle Scott) after she decides to challenge herself by taking a biochem class.
Andrew is, in a word, unbearable. Fortunately, Hall managed to find at least some common ground with his character: their love of layups. After playing basketball for Northwestern University, the actor stepped on another college basketball court for Andrew's Love & Basketball-inspired scene with Whitney in the penultimate episode of the second season, a pivotal moment in their enemies to lovers flirtationship.
"I never got full confirmation on whether that scene was added because of me or not," Hall tells Metacritic. "I have a suspicion that it was, which I was super stoked on. Anytime I can play basketball and be paid for it, that's a blessing. But also I think it's a cool trait for this guy — this biochem bro — to be good at basketball. It's fun to see him outside of the classroom."
"I knew I wanted to be a film major in college, but basketball really ruled my life and in a lot of ways still does," he says. While still only having the "very beginning seeds" of thinking about acting, he made a cameo on Veep, marking his first professional on-camera role.
"I didn't really know what to call my mom," Hall recalls. "I remember having not exactly anxiety about that but just being like, 'What do I do here?' But I knew everybody, and that set was always so fun, regardless, and I was like 'OK, I can just have fun and just be myself. I don't have to worry about every little thing I say.'"
"I was honestly pretty nervous for that, even though I only had one line. I didn't want to f--- it up, that's for sure," he adds with a laugh.
A web series made with a friend during senior year, titled Sorry, Charlie, cemented his interest in the profession. "Because we didn't want to pay anyone to be in it, I was like, 'Alright, I'll just be the guy in it. I'll be the main dude," Hall says. "I had a total blast. We tossed it on YouTube, and we were lucky enough there was a solid response to it. I really had a lot of fun with that. So I went on a couple auditions, I tried it out. Then it also clicked that I've been doing comedy like all my life, just without a camera, just with my friends. I've always been kind of performative, so it made sense."
Throughout Season 2 of The Sex Lives of College Girls, Hall brings comedic relief to Whitney's journey of academic self-discovery. As she realizes her passion for science, Whitney must also deal with Andrew's put-downs after they're assigned each other as lab partners. All that competitive tension during those intimate late-night labs eventually boils over, and the two begin hooking up. But even as Andrew starts pursuing her more seriously, their relationship is only ever casual for Whitney. In the season finale, titled "The Rooming Lottery," she finally breaks things off, leading Andrew to sob over his titration experiment in front of their class.
Here, Hall talks to Metacritic about this season's most delightfully insufferable character, the type of comedy that appeals to him most, and his proposed remedy for Andrew's heartbreak.
How was Andrew first described to you?
What's funny is I didn't know exactly how mean Andrew was going to be right off the bat. He was described to me as a classmate to Whitney, who has a very competitive relationship with her that turns romantic. But I didn't know the extent of the douchiness right off the bat. But, of course, when I read the first script, then I was like, "Oh OK, got it. Copy. I've seen this guy once or twice."
What was the process like as far as figuring out just how insufferable he was going to be?
Yeah, insufferable is a good word. In terms of just gauging how insufferable to be, a lot of that for me was just figuring out what I thought would be the funniest. I think leaning in is usually the play when you want to be funny — not really winking at it and just going all in and this is how he is. He is super douchey. That was where I found most of the laughs lived for me, because he's not obviously a funny guy. So I was like, "F--- it, I'm just going to be pretty f---ing mean with" — at least at first.
The Sex Lives of College Girls cycles through a lot of love interests, but I think you might earn the distinction of being part of the first proper enemies to lovers relationship. Some of the other pairings might have tension or judgment, but Andrew and Whitney flatout dislike each other for a good bit of the season. That seems like a fun dynamic to play around with.
Yeah, it was fun to do something that Alyah hadn't done yet and we hadn't really seen. With that Love and Basketball scene, it's like, OK, we don't like each other, but also there's some similarities between us that spark that romance. We're both very competitive. Despite the fact that we annoy each other, there's undeniably a little something to be had there. If it's just pure intensity, it might be that. [With] enemies to lovers, on that path, it's fun to find where does the "lovers" start, and why? What was the impetus for that? And a lot of it had to do with competitiveness, and also just that they're attracted to each other and they can't help that, which of course is also quite relatable.
What was it like working with Alyah to build that relationship a little more?
I really felt super lucky just to work with her because she's so talented and also such a nice human. Performance wise, I think that what she does so well is she really stays real and stays feeling like a real human even when she's being funny, which is really hard to do. Because sometimes you can just kind of forget that you're playing a human. That sounds simple, but she does it with really incredible mastery. That really helped me too, especially because Andrew is a caricature a little bit, like in terms of his intensity and stuff, so [she] helped me stay grounded too.
You've appeared in Single Drunk Female and Moxie, and I can definitely see some similarities between those projects and The Sex Lives of College Girls. How would you describe the type of comedy that you find yourself gravitating toward?
I wouldn't say this exclusively, but as a general rule, there's a grounded sense to it, that it feels like slightly elevated real life, as opposed to huge sort of almost cartoony type things. Which I also love, and I think that's a different skill set and would love to do stuff like that. But I tend to gravitate towards things like Single Drunk Female. Single Drunk Female lives in the dramedy space a little bit. I mean, it's super funny and has real laugh out loud moments, but it also is dealing with topics that have some weight to them and need to be approached with care and compassion. Same with Sex Lives, I think, and same with Moxie. There's themes in there that are real, as opposed to just being silly. I love silly sh--, for sure. But I think that's what I've at least so far felt the most attracted to — things that feel innately human with just a small, funny twist.
One dimension to Whitney's relationship with Andrew is his sort of resentment of her privilege and his perception that she's an unserious student because of her mom. We see Whitney ultimately tell her mom how important it is for her to earn her internship on her own and prove she can do it. I found it kind of funny that you were part of that scene, given your family. Did you feel that meta element a bit as well?
What's funny is I kind of realized after we shot that scene. I wasn't acutely aware; I wasn't like, "Oh, this is kind of a funny topic for me to be involved with" on the day because I was thinking about the scene and doing it right. But then afterwards, I was like, "Oh wow, I didn't even put that together." But yeah, I definitely recognized that looking back, which I thought was funny. I wonder if that subconsciously influenced my performance at all because, obviously, there's things on either side of that dialogue that I feel like I can relate to. And so, I wasn't aware of it at the time, but I feel like maybe in my brain something was clicking or subconsciously informed the way I was acting.
In what way do you see that subconsciously playing into your performance?
I think there was a familiarity with what [Andrew] was referring to when talking to [Whitney], or at least the assumptions, and perhaps the same assumptions can be made time to time about me. With familiarity, it's always easier to act when it's something that's not entirely foreign to you. Just because it makes it relatable, so you can find, like I was talking about, that human thing — that human moment of, "OK, this is how a person would react to this in real life."
It's the end of the school year in the finale episode and Andrew has just had his heart broken. He just completely humiliated himself in class. The guy's at a low point. How do you think he spends his summer to bounce back?
I sure as hell hope that he gets away. Because he strikes me as the kind of person that might do some really intense summer internship or something. But I'm hoping he goes home and he just doesn't do a thing. He just needs to chill. That's what I'm praying, but I think in reality, he probably kicks it into absolute hyperdrive — just even more intense — and goes and does an insane three-month intensive science program at Stanford and is so stressed, and he's getting two hours of sleep every night, and it's horrific for his mental health and his physical health and everything in between. I would implore him to just go home and take a nap.
If you were to come back for the third season, pitch me your dream storyline for Andrew.
I guess dream storyline would be he's a changed man. Or at least attempting to be a changed man, and that's his pitch to Whitney. He's like, "I can be different. I know where I know exactly where I f---ed up. Let me prove it to you, please." Hopefully, he's a little nicer, and he can take her on a couple more dates where he's not a complete stiff the entire time.
I mean, Whitney and Andrew have the same major now so it doesn't seem out of the realm of possibility that he might make a reapparance…
Yeah, could happen, could happen! I hope so. That would be awesome.
Get to know Charlie Hall:
Since making his first acting appearance with a cameo in Veep (Metascore: 82), Hall has taken on larger roles in other comedy television series including Single Drunk Female (76), The Sex Lives of College Girls (73), Love, Victor (69), and Big Shot (65), plus the comedy-drama film Moxie (54).