Ed Westwick plays a perfectly polished, devilishly handsome bad boy in the hit CW TV series Gossip Girl. Whether or not he has on his Chuck Bass hat, the British actor has an undeniably sexy sense of style, which makes him all the more irresistible to girls the world over…and even to fashion brands.
This is the reason Penshoppe asked the 23-year-old star to be their newest endorser, in line with their 25th anniversary campaign. The local fashion brand flew Ed from the Upper East Side to Manila on May 31 for a series of photo shoots, as Ed will be Penshoppe’s poster boy for four seasons. In case you missed that, yes, Ed Westwick was here, on our shores, and just last night, June 2, he was in Makati for the press conference at the posh Salon de Ning in Manila Peninsula. Cosmo got the chance to see Ed in the flesh, and as our treat for you, we’re publishing excerpts from the brief yet truly unforgettable interview we had with your fave actor. He regaled us with his sexy British accent and some of his lines from Gossip Girl, plus his sweet sense of humor and light, charming, and down-to-earth replies.
Is this your first time in the Philippines?
This is my first time in the Philippines. And I’d like to thank everyone—everyone’s made me feel really welcome.
It’s been a short trip, and a very hectic one at that. How have you coped with the schedule so far?
Well, I was feeling a little jetlagged before I came out here with all the bright lights and lots of people, but I’m now wide awake. It’s been a very, very quick trip. But everything has gone really, really well. We’ve had a great time here, doing the shoot yesterday, it was fantastic. Everyone involved in it has been amazing. And today I actually went out on a boat around Manila Bay, took a look at the Manila skyline. You have a beautiful city here. You have a beautiful country, and beautiful, fantastic people.
We appreciate that you made the trip, it was about 16 hours, right?
Well, yeah, I got on a plane in New York, stopped over in Seoul, South Korea, and then… I’m going to do it all over again tonight.
Before you came here, what was your concept of the Philippines? And now that you’re leaving, how has it changed?
Well, you know, flying on my way over, I was reading a little bit, and I was very surprised to hear that you have around 7,000 islands! And I now know, when somebody asks, to say “High tide or low tide?” But you know, that was amazing to me, the amount of islands there are. Obviously it’s a region of the world that’s very rich in culture. I didn’t know too much, but now I’ve kind of just touched the surface, I feel. So I’ve got to try and make a trip back. I want to get out to some of the islands, which I hear is like paradise. So, it’s a very rich, diverse place, and I’m excited to get back and spend a little bit more time.
We heard that you wanted to meet Manny Pacquiao?
You know, I think I might have said I wanted to fight Manny Pacuiao. (Ed laughs.) But no, of course I don’t want to. Of course I don’t want to…die. But yeah, I’m a huge fan of boxing and I’m a huge fan of Pacquiao. That’s probably the strongest thing I knew about the Philippines before I got here.
Are you familiar with Charice (Pempengco)?
Oh yes, of course…I think I know her.
Have you met her?
I think I have actually. You know, with the country’s huge population, there’s a lot of talent here, a lot of culture, and obviously the Philippines has a lot to offer around the world…
You’re leaving so soon, have you picked up any souvenir from the country?
Well, I have, but… I’ve forgotten the name of…There’s someone who made me a bamboo chair… (Kenneth Cobonpue) Yes, I have one of these. So that’s my souvenir. That’s something I can take home.
Although you’ve only been here for a couple of days, how do you find Filipina women?
Well, I haven’t found any yet. (Laughs.)
Does anything strike you as particularly special about Filipinas?
Well, you know, in general, everyone I’ve met has been fantastic, but… Filipina women do seem to have…quite an attractive look about them, I have to say, so…it’s one of the reasons why I’m coming back.
Now, with regards to your role on Gossip Girl, what are the similarities and differences between Ed Westwick and Chuck Bass?
Well, we’re both male… We both look alike, which is very strange, isn’t it? (Laughs.) But you know, we’re actually very different, I’m sad to say. You see, he’s such an amazing character to play, and so much fun, and I had a great time working with all the people I work with on the show. But no, I live quite a different life, I’m afraid to say. I, uh… I don’t ride in a limousine quite as often.
One thing you seem to have in common is your great sense of style, yes?
Well, yeah, like they say, it’s nice to look nice. I think fashion is a very important part of our lives in this day and age. You know, it’s self-expression, self-reflection… It’s kind of like a knight going into battle: you get dressed wearing clothes you want to wear, and it makes you feel confident, makes you feel good. That’s definitely the approach I kind of have, and definitely when working with my character Chuck Bass. He’s somebody who’s got a very unique sense of dress, a very strong sense of dress, and that makes it so much fun to play, for me. You know, I get to dress up in really fantastic clothes.
Whats the biggest influence Chuck Bass has had on you?
Um… How not to mistreat women. (Laughs.) You know, Chuck can be pretty awful at times…so I guess I’ve learned a few things as to what not to do.
How has it been like proving to people that you’re more than just Chuck Bass, and what’s something about you that Chuck doesn’t or would never do?
Well, I think you can look at it in two ways—you can look at it professionally and you can look at it personally. Professionally, when you’re part of a show that’s so well known, and you’re acting as a character like that—within that, you have a character that is a bit iconic, perhaps, a lot of people know the character, a lot of people admire the character and [are] entertained by him—you begin to directly associate with that character. But as a professional, I think its especially important to remember that it’s still a role… I think, professionally, it’s important to look for other work that brings you to a different role, to a different character, and interact with different people…
And then personally, I know I’m very different from Chuck Bass. But one thing he’d never have on me is English charm. He’s got that American charm, but he hasn’t got the English charm, you know.
It’s your birthday this month right? (Ed’s note: Ed was born June 27, 1987.) How do you plan to celebrate?
Yes, it is, I’ll be 24 this June. My plan is… I’ve got friends coming in from London to New York… Maybe I should fly back to Manila and throw a party here? We could have it here actually, fantastic room… (Audience goes wild.)
But well, I don’t really know [what I'll be doing], I might be shooting Gossip Girl, so we’ll see what happens.
Oh, now that you’ve mentioned it… What will happen on Gossip Girl?
Um, I don’t know what’s happening, I uh… (Ed laughs as the crowd reacts.) I’m not sure what’s happening yet, but I know from the first episode, it’s pretty good… I think the past four years—four seasons—have been amazing. I had the opportunity to explore many different parts of Chuck and different storylines. And I’ve got full faith in the writers, in whatever they want to do for the next season. So we’ll just see what happens, but I’m sure it’s going to be a great season.
You have a very sexy English accent. Do you ever slip when you’re doing the American one?
Well, not really. Luckily I can keep it going when I have to.
Since Gossip Girl is set in New York and you also live there, it’s such a part of the show. It’s like what they said in Sex And The City—it’s like the fifth lady. If we were going to hang out with you in New York, what would be our itinerary? Where would we go?
Well, first of all, I’d pick you up at the airport. (Women in the audience scream in approval, and he laughs.) And then, uh…if you’re jet-lagged, I think you’d need to rest. And then, I don’t know. There’s so much you could do. Central Park is gorgeous this time of year, it’s a good place to hang out, relax there for a bit. Then I’d take you around the city. There are so many great restaurants in New York, it really is an amazing city. Like what you said, in Sex and the City, it’s like a fifth lady. I mean, there really is character in it…
[With Gossip Girl], it’s not like shooting the show in L.A. for example, or in another city where you’re trying to recreate that location. We’re very, very privileged, and very lucky to be able to shoot [in New York]. So yeah, it’s really special.
In between taping, how do you like to spend your extra time?
Well, you know, like I said, there are plenty of great restaurants in New York, you know, they’ve definitely got good food. I like to play a lot of soccer, football… like in the Philippines, you know, you really should be more into football. And [I like to] just hang out with friends. And, of course, being an actor, I’m a huge movie buff.
How excited are you for the new Romeo and Juliet?
I’m really excited. We’ve got a really, really great cast. It’s keeping the traditional flow of Shakespeare’s original language, but we’ve made it…more accessible to a contemporary generation. And yeah, it’s going to be fantastic. Hailee Steinfeld is playing Juliet—very talented actress—and I get to play the wonderful role of Tybalt, the cousin of Juliet. It’s going to be an amazing time. We’re going to shoot in Verona…We’ll get to bring probably the most famous story of all time back to life.
You’re playing another bad boy in your upcoming movie, how do you tap into that wild side?
Well, you know, I think each character has to be treated individually. There’s a different set of restrictions with Romeo and Juliet because it is period based, you know, it’s the middle ages, it’s different… I’ve got a little bit of time before I start work, so yeah, I’m still gonna figure that one out.
Would you call yourself a method actor (you know, like gain or lose weight for a role and such)?
No, I’m not practicing method acting right now. For somebody to give that much of himself to a role is a remarkable thing. And it’s something that I don’t think you can achieve overnight. I think it’s a very methodical process, a very meticulous process. But now, at the moment, I adopt a different style. In the future it may be something I look into. When I go a little bit more…crazy.
Apart from acting, what are your other talents?
Well, I play a bit of the guitar. Recently I’ve been trying to learn how to play the spoons, though I’m not that good yet. Really, I’m good at football, there you go. And that’s about it. I’m good at sleeping as well.
Can you sing?
(Smiles.) Not right now.
This is not a question, but we just wanted to hear you say your line “I don’t need passports, I’m Chuck Bass.”
(Ed takes on his American accent and Chuck Bass swagger.)
I don’t need passports, I’m Chuck Bass.
Well that was fun! That was the easiest thing I had to do all night! Thank you for that!