He warned you! Damon J. Gillespie, who is best known for his roles in Rise and The Society, took on something completely different when joining Netflix’s Tiny Pretty Things. Not only does the series follow a group of ballet dancers who will do anything (and hurt anyone) in order to become prima ballerina, it also follows an intense mystery after one of the dancers is pushed off the roof.
In addition to a police investigation and hours of dance rehearsals, there’s also a ton of drama about each character’s personal lives — including quite a bit of nudity and sex scenes.
“I was very nervous,” Gillespie, 26, told Us Weekly exclusively about the risqué scenes and story lines. “I know it’s a lot to handle, especially for me. I’m a Southern boy, so I had to tell all my family, I’m like, ‘I’m warning you now. I am warning you. It’s a lot.’ I literally got a text from my aunt this morning saying, ‘I watched the first two episodes, and you were right. It’s a lot.’ And I said, ‘I warned you!'”
Overall, the series doesn’t shy away from anything, even leaning into racism and prejudices, especially with Gillespie’s character, Caleb, and his roommate Nabil (Michael Hsu Rosen).
“The showrunner actually gave us a lot of liberties, and he wanted to bring stuff from our own personal lives into it,” the Broadway alum, who was raised in the south, told Us. “My entire mom’s side of the family is from North Carolina. Because of that, we got to put some southern into Caleb, which is great. All the older men in my family have been a member of the military. I grew up dancing. I can relate to the character a lot.”
Additionally, Caleb is “dealing with a lot of prejudices and a lot of hurt, turmoil and trauma,” something the actor really understands.
“I understand how to overcome it, but I also understand where — not necessarily the justification — but I understand where the feelings and the expression come from,” he explained. “There are certain traumatic things that happen to people and it can affect the way they look at people, the way that they talk to certain people. It’s not right, but sometimes it’s the nature of the beast.”
For more from Gillespie, watch the exclusive video above.
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