“Ozark” is a masterpiece. I always say it and I’ll keep saying it: it’s one of the best written, directed and played TV series of the last 10 years, and certainly among the top three of Netflix.
One of the aspects that make this TV series so credible (and incredible) is the detailed construction of each character, and we know very well that this is sometimes what makes the difference between a good product and a great one.
Among the characters in the series, we find one of my favorites, Wyatt Langmore, a young man born in a difficult situation, who tries to get out of it but who often gets trapped in what appears to be “his destiny.” Wyatt is played by Charlie Tahan, who we met in New York for our interview and whom we were looking forward to meeting.
We talked with him about some curiosities about the third season of “Ozark” – available on Netflix from March 27th-, the music video he starred in with The Lumineers, the desire to write something comic and his favorite restaurant (a 5-star one, you will read): for that, and much more, Charlie couldn’t but be our March Cover.
“Ozark” is such an amazing TV series and it’s written so well, the characters are very powerful and every one of them is so well defined and still they change every time. What was the thing that attracted you the most at first?
I only had the script for the first episode, in which my character wasn’t in, so I got mock sides: they brought scenes for some of the smaller characters just to audition with. But even for the first episode, the writing was just so good and natural, it was one of those auditions that was kind of easy to wrap my head around, and then when I read the pilot, I was sucked in.
Your character, Wyatt, was born and constantly finds himself in difficult situations; he has the ability to get out of them, but he seems to prefer not to react. How did you prepare to play him and what would you say to him if you had the chance to talk to him right now?
I have no idea what I would say to him or how to handle him. I think he’s a character stuck in between two different worlds and his family and his past. The area that he grew up in and lives in keeps sucking him back in and he’s not really sure about what he wants, and I believe it’s a natural reaction to staying stagnant when there’s a big change coming.
“…when I read the pilot, I was sucked in.”
The third season takes place 6 months after the end of the second, what has changed?
A lot has changed. Especially for the Byrd family and Marty and Wendy’s relationship. A lot has changed for Wyatt, and he doesn’t really have a next step planned.
What should we expect from your character in season 3?
I think the way Wyatt sees his surroundings begins to change. I think he looks at his family and the Ozarks differently, since his family has basically been torn apart.
How do Wyatt’s relationships with Ruth and Charlotte evolve in the 3rd season?
I think you see at the start of the season that there is still a kinship with Charlotte and I. But at the same time there is a new distance between us since I learned what happened to my father and uncle, because of Ruth working with Marty. And my relationship with Ruth Is pretty much non-existent at the start of the season.
“A lot has changed for Wyatt, and he doesn’t really have a next step planned.”
Marty Byrde [Jason Bateman] said, “Money is not peace of mind. Money is not happiness. Money is, at its essence, that measure of a man’s choices.” The series is also based on this quote. What’s your take on that? Was there a discussion with Jason on this topic?
No, I don’t think there was much discussion with Jason. I just took that line as meaning that you can measure how much money someone has based on the choices they have made or how much they’ve done, but it also means that your problems will stay with you no matter how much money you have and in the case of the show, more money means more problems.
A lot of scenes on “Ozark” are really intense, like the one when Ruth tells you the truth about your dad. Which has been for you the most intense scene to shoot so far?
Probably when I was filming by the water, where it was below freezing; and the scenes that I do with Julia Garner, who plays Ruth, I really love the way we work together, I can look at her and start crying. I also loved shooting the scenes, at the end of season 2, with my dad, played by Marc Menchaca, like when we had to sing “The Man Who Sold The World.”
“…the scenes that I do with Julia Garner… I really love the way we work together, I can look at her and start crying.”
Wyatt says, “School’s a waste anyway. They read all the wrong shit.” What would you advise young people to read?
I don’t read enough at all, either, but I would say, “do read the books that they tell you to read in high school.” I didn’t do that, but they give you good books, they choose the right books, but I would be lying if I said I knew that much about literature.
How would you describe the 3rd season of “Ozark” in one word and what song that embodies it would you choose?
It’s hard for me to choose a word to describe an entire season and have it relate to the scope of the whole show and not just my characters situation. But I think a big theme is family. And the rebuilding of family. I do not have a good answer for what song embodies the show. But I will say that there is a scene, at the end of one of the episodes, and when I read it at the time it had a song written into it to play over the credits. And I thought that was cool and I listened to it a lot that week. But I have no idea whether or not that song is in the show now or not. The song was “only you know” by Dion.
What aspects of the third season’s script made you even more excited about this journey called “Ozark”?
Chris Mundy, the show runner who’s probably the friendliest human being ever called me a few months before we started up again to talk about what was going to happen with Wyatt. I remember cracking up with joy. And I was so happy that Chris and the rest of the writing team weren’t afraid to do something unexpected. I could not have been more thrilled.
“But I think a big theme is family. And the rebuilding of family.”
You were at the Toronto Film Festival, for the music video by The Lumineers: what was that experience like?
I did a movie a couple of years ago called “Super Dark Times” directed by Kevin Phillips and he was doing these videos for The Lumineers and I was a fan of theirs and Kevin is one of my favorite directors to work with ever: I went into The Lumineers’s project with not that much information, it’s weird, it was almost like filming a movie, we did 10 music videos, but there was no script; he had mapped out each song and what was happening on screen with every song. We explored a lot of things, and just listening to this album non-stop, 10 hours a day, was really fun. I trust Kevin, and he’s an amazing cinematographer, he took a car and a field and shot it. It was a lot of fun, and different, because it was cool not showing up to work every day and knowing that you didn’t have to remember any words, which is nice, but also it felt like I should have been doing more, because I’m used to that, but it was a great experience.
What’s your go-to music?
I go in huge phases, right now I’m listening to a lot of Radiohead and Weezer.
“I went into The Lumineers’s project with not that much information, it’s weird, it was almost like filming a movie, we did 10 music videos, but there was no script.”
You also have a lot of other projects going on right now, like the movie “Kingfish,” “Drunk Bus.” What can you tell us about them?
I don’t know how much I can say about these, but “Kingfish” is directed by Sean Nalaboff and it’s in post-production; “Drunk Bus” is a dark comedy, directed by these guys that have a production company called Ghost+Cow Films, Brandon LaGanke and John Carlucci, and there’s a movie that my friend Max Talisman is in the process of making right now, he was in “Super Dark Times” with me.
Who’s your favorite movie character of all time?
I like David Spade in “The Emperor’s New Groove.”
What’s your favorite accent?
I’m terrible at accents, British or Southern, but I’m terrible.
“I like David Spade in ‘The Emperor’s New Groove’.”
The last series you binged-watched?
I watched “Euphoria” and I really thought that it was beautifully shot.
What’s your happy place?
The bathroom. [laughs]
What’s your superpower, the one you have and the one you wish you had?
There are superpowers I wish I had, but I’d be afraid to accept a superpower if I was given one because I wouldn’t know what the side effects would be, or if it would cause some cosmic shift in tectonic plates.
What are the stories you wish to tell, the projects you want to do?
I don’t know, with acting I don’t really have expectations or anything, I only rely on scripts. I’m a little interested in writing and maybe I might give it a try in the future.
What genre do you write?
I don’t think I do write! [laughs] I’m a big comedy fan, and I would love to be in a comedy, too.
An epic fail on the job?
Let me think to one I can say. [laugh] When I was 12, I dropped a mic battery pack in a toilet, it was 1500 dollars or something like that.
“I’m a little interested in writing and maybe I might give it a try in the future”
If you could go out for dinner with three people from the past/present or future, who would they be?
Martin Scorsese, Mike Tyson, Chris Farley.
I learned you love McDonald’s. What’s your go-to menu choice?
This is a good question. They have these things called Chicken Snack Wraps, but I think they’re only on the East Coast because anywhere else I’ve gone they didn’t have them. It’s chicken with cheese and mayonnaise and lettuce and I love them, I could eat 10 of them, but I think they only really have them in Manhattan and I know the one dollar menu changes depending on your region, but I only like the small cheeseburgers, with all the ingredients, is perfect, while if you get a Quarter Pounder or a Big Mac, the whole balance gets messed up and it destroys the meal. That is my favorite restaurant, it’s a great one!
The Film Wall
Fuji Instax & 35mm
Photos and Video by Johnny Carrano.
Grooming by Johnny Caruso.
Styling by Stephanie Tricola.
Styling assistant: Cameron Smith.
Shoes: Nike Air Force 1
Jumpsuit: Waxman brothers
Shoes: Nike Air Force 1
Coat: Todd Snyder
Shoes: Nike Air Force 1