The Scottish actor opens up about being mistaken for Richard Madden and who he ships: Obie and Julien or Obie and Zoya.
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Warning: This article contains spoilers for Thursday's episode of Gossip Girl, "Parentsite."

Greetings, Upper East Siders. We know you watched the midseason finale of HBO Max's Gossip Girl and are just dying to know what happens next. (If you didn't and aren't, stop reading now!) While we're not as well-informed as the salacious Instagrammer, we did chat with Thomas Doherty (who plays the liberated pansexual playboy Max Wolfe) to see what he might be able to share.

Episode 6 of the scandalous series saw Max, Audrey (Emily Alyn Lind), and Aki (Evan Mock) indulge in a threesome after half a season of them all hoarding feelings for one another, while elsewhere Obie (Eli Brown) and Julien (Jordan Alexander) hooked up after they both had a falling-out with Zoya (Whitney Peak) — his girlfriend and her sister. Messy.

With GG gone from our screens for the next couple of months, we hope Doherty's take on the Max-Audrey-Aki threesome and the Max-Rafa showdown can fill the gossip void just a little.

Gossip Girl
Thomas Doherty on 'Gossip Girl'
| Credit: Karolina Wojtasik/HBO Max

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How does a boy from Edinburgh, Scotland, end up on the Upper East Side?

THOMAS DOHERTY: Well, I never really watched Gossip Girl before, when it first came out, and my girlfriend at the time, she loved it. She was always watching it, and so I was just pottering around in the background, watching it. Then I was filming in Georgia, and there's nothing much to do in Georgia, so I just kept watching it. That was maybe 2019. Then at the start of 2020 I heard they were going to possibly be doing a reboot and I'd obviously just watched it, so I was like, "I wonder who they're going to cast?" Then they started auditioning and I got an audition for Max and for Obie. So I sent in tapes and went to see Cassandra [Kulukundis], the casting director, for both, and then there came a point where they asked, "Which character do you want to pursue more?" And I definitely was more drawn to Max.

How do you feel about the comparisons to Chuck Bass?

It's fun. I mean, they're very similar within the dynamic. It was a kind of foolproof dynamic that they got [with Chuck], and so they mirrored that with this one. The characters are similar. You can definitely draw comparisons, but they are different in their own right. Chuck was of a different time, and I think Max is definitely more emotionally and more mentally evolved and a lot more liberated as an individual — sexually, emotionally, and all the rest of it. It's a different time. We have social media and he's got two dads, so there's a lot of difference there. I always was very conscious of trying to integrate all those different aspects of Max's lives, but the dynamic is similar.

The original run of this show was so beloved. How has the fan response been to Max and the reboot in general?

From what I've seen — I don't really go on social media and I don't really read reviews or Twitter stuff because what's done is done — but from what I've heard, it's positive. We're kind of playing with fire, remaking something that's so culturally iconic, but I think we've done a really good job and I've just had such an amazing time filming it. I get stopped loads, which is really bizarre. People are like, "Can I get a picture?" and I'm like, "Are you sure it's me you want not Richard Madden?" There's actually a story there: I was working for Disney and the film came out and I was in a Starbucks in Burbank in L.A., and the girl behind the counter was like, "Oh my God!" and I was like, "Yeah, it's me." She asks for a picture and I'm like, "Course you can. Come on." So she came round the counter and gave her friend her phone to take it and we were standing posing for the picture and just before her friend took it, she was like, "I loved you in Game of Thrones!" I was like, "F--- me." And instead of being like, "Oh no, no, that's not me," I went, "Thank you!" and walked out of there so fast.

Amazing. Okay, let's talk about the midseason finale. Max is playing a dangerous game with Rafa [Jason Gotay] by sending that video to Gossip Girl. Who should be more afraid going forward?

I don't think anyone should be afraid for Max, I think they should be afraid for Rafa.

Gossip Girl
Jason Gotay on 'Gossip Girl'
| Credit: Karolina Wojtasik/HBO Max

Good, he deserves it. Is shooting those sparring scenes with Jason a lot of fun?

Oh my God, amazing. I mean, Jason's such a phenomenal human and I love him to death. It was so fun. He was definitely my favorite person to work with on set. We had such great chemistry on and off. We had fun, we played, and it was really safe. It was great.

The other big cliffhanger for your character in this episode was the threesome with Aki and Audrey. Are they going to be in a throuple going forward?

It's a very complex relationship that you're going to have to tune in on Thursdays on HBO Max to find out about! [Laughs]

Okay, but I feel hopeful for them. They have a strong friendship as a foundation.

It's interesting. It definitely does go in a lot of different directions, and it's interesting to see the dynamic between them as a throuple and then individually too.

Gossip Girl
Thomas Doherty, Emily Alyn Lind, and Evan Mock on 'Gossip Girl'
| Credit: Karolina Wojtasik/HBO Max

Are you and Emily and Evan pretty close in real life now too?

Evan's been a massive fan of mine, so it was nice for him. [Laughs] No, I'm kidding. They're the other two that I love working with. We have a lot of fun and we definitely have a great rapport, and I think great chemistry on and off. They're really, really great human beings and they bring something different. Emily's such a rock star and Evan's a cool dude. I love working with them and they're great actors. I know this is Evan's first job and he's really killing it.

For intimate scenes like these, do you all work with an intimacy coordinator, and how has that been?

They just say, "Let the camera roll!" and we crack on. [Laughs] Nah, there's an intimacy coordinator there all the time. We get briefed prior to being on set and we clear what we feel comfortable with and all the rest of it. So it's really, really safe. I feel very comfortable with everyone that I'm doing these scenes with, and Josh [Safran], the showrunner, is very, very hospitable with what we feel comfortable and feel safe with. He done a good job with ensuring it's going to further the story line, and not just for the sake of it.

How is working with Josh in general as a showrunner? He's obviously had a lot of success in the TV world.

He has poured his heart and soul into it. It's really, really nice to have him. He actually directed an episode — I think it's 8 — that was really special. He just knows it inside-out and he's so passionate about it. I don't know how he's got the energy — I'm exhausted. He's really great. It's really inspiring to be on set with someone that is so impassioned and cares so much and is juggling so much: actors, studio, directors, story writers.

Totally. Back to the midseason finale, things aren't looking great for Max's dads. Should we hold out hope they'll find their way back to one another in the second half of the season?

I mean, again it's that ebb and flow, will they, won't they. We get to see that play out. There's a lot of suspense around it, and that continues. That's all I can tell you!! Don't think your Glaswegian brogue will get me to spill!

Ha! Okay, fine. So in episode 6 we also saw Julien and Obie hook up. I already know you're not going to tell us anything about what's coming next, so instead: If you had to ship Zoya and Obie or Julien and Obie, which couple would it be?

Well, I think Obie and Max would be a cute couple. But I like Julien and Obie. I think they're cute and I think Julien really evolves. And, also, it's kind of f---ed up that Zoya rocked up and just started dating her sister's boyfriend.

Gossip Girl
Jordan Alexander and Whitney Peak on 'Gossip Girl'
| Credit: Karolina Wojtasik/HBO Max

The first six episodes of Gossip Girl are available to stream on HBO Max now. New episodes will air in November.

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