Skylar Astin teases 'hopeful' romantic future for Max and Zoey on Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist
"Max is incredibly thrilled and feeling very connected both physically and romantically," Astin tells EW of his character's new relationship. "I think it’s looking pretty positive."
After Zoey (Jane Levy) decided to start a relationship with him in the season 2 premiere, they finally slept together with an incredibly hilarious, sweet, and show-stopping duet in the last episode. And now, Astin reveals that — at least for Max who has been quite literally waiting a long time for this relationship to happen — things are going great heading into this week's episode. "Max is incredibly thrilled and feeling very connected both physically and romantically," Astin tells EW. "He's heartfelt about this whole thing. I think it's looking pretty positive."
After Max spent all of season 1 pining with unrequited love for his BFF Zoey, and then had to compete with her co-worker Simon (John Clarence Stewart) for her heart, that love triangle has finally been put to bed... literally (sorry not sorry!). "It's so nice that he doesn't feel like he's in contention with another person for her heart and that she feels the same way," he adds.
But now that they've finally reached this major milestone in their relationship, they're going to have to figure out how to overcome some pretty big obstacles together, given everything that Zoey is going through.
"Max is now immersed in her entire life, but there are still some things that she has to deal with personally, whether it's professionally or even grieving the loss of her father, and where Max fits in with all of that," Astin says. "Now that the magic is removed, is this the perfect time? Is this the right time? And how are they going to move forward with everything else that they've got going on and how are they going to be there for each other and manage each other and manage themselves, just like any relationship? I'm hopeful for the future."
Astin was "really thrilled" when he found out that Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist creator Austin Winsberg decided to give Zoey and Max's relationship a shot so early this season. "But I was also mostly excited at how it was done," he says. "They gave me that sequence with the whole 'Take Me Out to the Ballgame,' eventually leading up to Boyz II Men and then eventually 'A Moment Like This' and then the scenes in between. You really got to see a window into Max's world, and then Zoey offers her own."
Filming episode 2's sequence where Zoey and Max finally sleep together and perform a duet was one of Astin's favorites. "Joining in on the duet was a beautiful metaphor for Zoey making the decision and meeting him halfway," he says. "A lot of season 1, Max was really patient and pining for Zoey, so it was really nice that she was available and vulnerable enough to give him a chance."
But while the scene turned out great in the end, Astin reveals it was actually "a bit of a puzzle" to figure out logistically. "There was a lot of preparation that went into it," he says. "We had a lot of freedom in the rehearsal process and Jane was there for them — a lot of times, she's just in so many other scenes that it's tough to get her for those rehearsals. But we rehearsed that one before we even started production at all, so we really got to explore that and Jane weighed in a lot. It was born out of Jane's instincts, [choreographer] Mandy Moore's brilliant shaping, and Austin gets very cerebral about these things and is a great audience for these kinds of scenes and he came in with his theories."
Astin had a great time during filming, but he laughs as he admits that "there was a point in the rehearsal process where we were like, 'Are people even going to understand what's going on in this scene?'"
"By the time we cracked it — and I really have got to give a lot of credit to Team Dance — we were ready to shoot," he adds. "And it all comes together really nicely. We shot it over the course of one full day, and it's an entire act of television, commercial to commercial, so it was one of the longer sequences we've ever done. It was really thrilling."
Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist season 2 airs Tuesdays on NBC.
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