Wyatt Nash Talks Taboo Scenes in ‘Petals on the Wind,’ His Role on ‘Pretty Little Liars’ and More
If you happened to catch the premiere of Lifetime’s Petals on the Wind, the darker, crazier and even more twisted sequel to Flowers in the Attic, you may have noticed that the emotionally traumatized Dollanganger children — Cathy, Christopher and Carrie — looked a little bit older.
Based on V.C. Andrews’ second novel in the series, the film version of Petals decided to make many changes to this disturbing saga of familial revenge and incest, but the most evident was fast forwarding the story 10 years. Taking place in the ’70s, the three siblings are leading new lives after escaping their grandparents’ attic, which their mother Corrine (Heather Graham) locked and abandoned them in for two years. Rose McIver has taken over the role of Cathy, Bailey Buntain portrays Carrie, and newcomer Wyatt Nash has replaced Mason Dye as Christopher, the older brother and lover of Cathy. In case you were wondering, Cathy and Christopher are still in a forbidden sexual relationship that began in the attic in the first film, just after Corrine killed her son and their younger brother Cory with rat poison-filled doughnuts.
For those who watched the twists and turns on the Memorial Day premiere, to say events escalated quickly would be an understatement. Spoiler alert: the film ended by jumping ahead six more years, with Cathy and Christopher living a calm, suburban life together, while Corrine was locked away in an insane asylum after burning down her family’s house, with evil grandma Olivia Foxworth (Ellen Burstyn) and Bart Winslow (Dylan Bruce) — Corrine’s husband and Cathy’s lover — left inside. What lead to this shocker is something you’ll have to see for yourself.
Nash’s portrayal of Christopher shows that the oldest Dollanganger child has become more mature, yet remains naive in thinking a relationship with someone other than Cathy will work out, and in still wanting to give his crazy mother the benefit of the doubt. The 25-year-old actor moved to Los Angeles over two years ago to take acting classes and pursue it as a full-time career, after graduating from Lipscomb University in his native Nashville. “I really am just still starting out,” Nash says. “I’m still learning the craft, and definitely working hard in class and just trying to understand more and more about acting. I discovered that the more and more I learn about it, the more complex and rewarding I find it.”
Nash scored his first role in 2012 as a series regular in Nick at Nite’s family drama Hollywood Heights, and has had guest roles on 1600 Penn, Mistresses, and the ever-popular ABC Family drama Pretty Little Liars. See what the actor had to say about his taboo scenes with Rose McIver in Petals, his casting call for the role of “Hot Naked Guy,” and his short, but so far sweet acting background.
GALO: When you were portraying Christopher, did you build off of how Mason Dye (young Christopher) played him in Flowers in the Attic, or did you do your own thing and portray Christopher in your own way?
Wyatt Nash: I tried to be aware of the core characteristics of Christopher, his patience, his pragmatic way of solving problems. He’s pretty logical. But he’s a very different person as well, because he’s been living with this pain. Well, not necessarily pain, but he fell in love with his sister, in the attic. He’s been living with that for 10 years. And his little brother was poisoned by his mother and died. He had all these different things he can never really share with anyone, except [with] his sister Cathy. So, emotionally, I think he’s still very much that 15 to 16-year-old in that attic, even though he was 25 to 26 during the filming of this movie. So I tried to really just carry that weight with him.
GALO: Let’s talk about some of your scenes with Rose McIver, who portrays the older Cathy. Given the incestuous subject matter, did you ever feel a little uncomfortable filming certain scenes?
WN: Well, honestly, Rose is not my sister. It wasn’t too crazy. We tried to have the tension there, that forbidden love feeling. She is such an amazing actress and the credit goes to her, in the sense that she was incredibly comfortable doing that sort of thing. She’s just really great to work with. And director Karen Alpert did a great job of working with both of us together, so I think we ended up getting a really nice product there. But, you know, I was a little nervous trying to work it all out in my head.
GALO: Did you have to audition for the part of Christopher or was it offered to you?
WN: I had to audition for it. It was kind of in the height of pilot season, this Lifetime movie I came across. I was like, “Yeah, sure, I’ll go and read for it.” I had, I think, two other auditions in the same day, so I ran and did this one real quick. It was two weeks later and I got a call — I thought the project was finished — then, all of a sudden, it was a producer session, then a director session. It all happened really fast. I think that was on a Friday, they tested on Saturday, then I found out I got the role on Saturday or Sunday night. Then we started shooting on Tuesday. This was a really fast turnaround from the time of me getting the role to me knowing I was the guy and when we actually started shooting.
GALO: Was there a certain scene in the movie that was most exciting for you to film?
WN: Honestly, a lot of the scenes were really, really great. I enjoyed most of them, with Rose, Christopher and Cathy scenes in particular, because my interpretation was that Christopher is really who he is when he’s with Cathy. That’s about the only time. Other than that, he has his guard up 24 hours, seven days a week, you know? Whenever he was around her, he got to open up a little bit, he got to be a little vulnerable, he said what was on his mind, and he allowed himself to feel. And so, I really enjoyed most of the scenes. There were a couple other really fun scenes to film. I had an altercation with an unnamed individual in the movie. I enjoyed it a lot when we got to shoot.