As Kat’s love interest Ethan on Euphoria, or Henry in Chemical Hearts, or Dash in Netflix’s Dash & Lily, the Florida actor Austin Abrams has redoubled his efforts to play someone young and smitten. For his paramours, age is no factor: despite his 24 years of age, Abrams has been labelled “Hollywood’s go-to cougar bait”.
This time, however, he doesn’t even know the age of the girl he’s falling for. Based on David Levithan and Rachel Cohn’s charming book, Dash & Lily’s titular characters strike up a mysterious, epistolary romance when Dash discovers a red leather book at New York’s iconic (yet newly sinister) Strand bookstore. Inside are written instructions left by Lily (Midori Francis), a quasi-desperate but charming bookworm who simply can’t meet the right guy who shares her love of Franny and Zooey and Christmas carols. So she plants this book on the shelf for whomever – ideally a hot young guy who wants to get to know her, because duh – to chance upon like a Craigslist missed connection.
Do you dare? this new holiday-themed, Nick Jonas-produced series teases. Dash & Lily feels like a cheery Gen Z answer to You’ve Got Mail and goes down like a gulp of warm cocoa. Here, Abrams tells us about his new show, and makes a case for a classic film that fans of a good Old Hollywood gem should seek out.
An older movie I love is Bicycle Thieves. It’s such an incredibly affecting movie despite its very simple narrative. It’s just a man searching for a bicycle in post-WWII Rome, but yet it means so much. The story almost feels biblical, especially in its simplicity. The film captures a world, a struggle, that I can never understand yet I can feel it so deeply through Bicycle Thieves. I recommend it because it really makes you think about being alive and being present for your loved ones even during hardships. It is a heartfelt journey with great storytelling and incredible performances from all the actors.
Describe Dash & Lily in a sentence or two.
Dash & Lily is a rom-com about a boy and girl in New York City who get to know each other through writing dares for one another in a notebook.
What moment of Dash & Lily will people be tweeting about? Why?
Probably a scene towards the end with one of our executive producers.
Something that will only make sense to viewers once they’ve seen the whole series is…
I’ll be at the place where we first began.
In what ways are you like the character you play?
We both have the same off-centre belly button.
One fun or funny thing I remember from production is…
I remember people coming into the Two Boots Pizzeria trying to order food while we were filming scenes.