Wilson Bethel talks hip-hop, character's swagger, and more

Wilson Bethel—a New Hampshire-born, San Franciscan charmer – possesses a quiet wit that sneaks out from beneath his cool than cool exterior. Fans know him best for his role as Wade Kinsella, “the roguish town bad boy with a heart of gold” on the CW’s Hart of Dixie, opposite leading lady, Rachel Bilson. “Working with her is awesome,” says Bethel of his costar. “She’s just a really cool down to earth girl and we have a lot of fun. We share a similar sense of humor. I count her as a friend.” Throughout the first season of Dixie, we tracked the rocky relationship between Wade and Zoe (Bilson) and in the season finale, the push and pull culminated with what Bethel describes as “an epic freak-nasty session. There was definitely drama for your mama. The word from the writers is that for a show that didn’t have too much making whoopee, there’s going to be a lot more. People are just going to be jumping each other’s bones. Lots of R.Kelly. That’s word on the street. We’ll see if it comes to fruition.” Freak-nasty or not, viewers and the stars of the show alike are eager to see how the second season will play out. “My hope is that we’ll get to take the story places that we didn’t go last year. A lot of the dynamics have shifted since last season so there’s going to be a lot of new stuff to explore. [For Wade] growing up was one of the pieces that was starting to come in focus last season; this arc of his attempt to grow up and be a bit of a man. Hopefully we’ll see him rising to the occasion getting out of man-child adolescence. “Will Zoe make the choice between George and Wade? “My sense is that Wade and Zoe are meant to be. My guess is that in the very end Zoe and Wade will be together.”

Aside from acting, Bethel found his niche in a different creative platform; Hip Hop. Not surprising after his appearance in the video for Rachel Bilson’s Funny or Die parody rap song, “Call Me Doctor.” The actor wrote and produced Stupid Hype which premiers this fall on the CW’s digital platform “It’s a vague parody of 8 mile set in 1990 about a rapper finding his artistic voice. He’s like a Vanilla Ice type.” Over the years Bethel has had several hip-hop alter egos. “I used to be in a hip hop group with my brother when I was in High School. I did a lot of spoken word poetry. In High School, I had a character called Lil’ Dwayne-o—this was before Lil’ Wayne. He would make epic appearances in freestyle battles. In the early 00s I had this Grime rapper personality named Industry who was a wonky British rapper. Now I have Hype who is the newest incarnation of my rap career.” Creating characters and writing stories seems to be encoded in his DNA. Bethel’s mother is author Joyce Maynard. “I love my mother and respect her as an artist. She’s incredibly talented.” This season, Bethel is most looking forward to reprising his role as Wade; a role he says is incredibly fun to play. “He’s got that swagger, and that playful personality. He brings out some of the better sides of my own personality. He’s an unadulterated side of me.” Season 2 of Hart of Dixie premieres October 2nd at 8/7c on the CW.

Interview by Ashley Symone Lee

Photographed by Vince Trupsin