Hailing from Florida, a state as sunny as her personality, this week’s woman to watch is best known for her roles as mean girl Hazel Williams on Gossip Girl, and social media meddler Becca in the hit legal drama The Good Wife.
In her new show Don’t Trust The B---- in Apartment 23, Dreama Walker stars as Jane, a neophyte to New York who gets stuck rooming with a crazy b****, Chloe (Krysten Ritter). With help from Chloe’s best friend, James Van Der Beek (as himself), the show focuses on the awkwardly adventurous lives of the mismatched trio, in what we’d describe as a mash-up of Friends and Mean Girls but with more sex, booze, and laughs.
Fresh off the show’s stellar premiere last week, we got the chance to hunker down with Dreama to chat about being the sane one on set, her upcoming psycho-thriller film Compliance (for which she was named one of Sundance’s 7 Fresh Faces in Film), and the finer points of sharing an apartment…such as how to kill your roommate’s pet.
Playboy.com: Tell us how you got started in show biz?
Walker: That was such a long time ago! I was singing and dancing from a really young age and doing community theater. I loved to be on stage. Long story short I started off in a girl group when I was 15 cause it was cool…I swear it was cool then [laughs]. I had never really thought about being an actress, it was obviously something that I loved. But it really wasn’t something that I thought I would pursue. But I got to New York, and there were a lot of wonderful projects happening, and I really fell in love with the idea. Then about three-four years later I started being a working actress…instead of just being a waitress!
Playboy.com: Tell us about your character June in Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23.
Walker: She’s basically, maybe, definitely a large sliver of myself. She’s very naïve, very trusting, very empathetic. Kind of a Mary Poppins character…modern day. She’s basically like me in the sense that whenever I do something wrong, or slightly mischievous, I get in trouble ten fold for it. So I just stopped trying to break the rules all together in my life.
Playboy.com: Are we going to see you corrupted as the series goes on?
Walker: Oh definitely. I definitely try to be a little bit more like Chloe, and she kind of takes on my behaviors. For the most part though, it’s us thinking “oh we can trust her, she’s ok.” To being, “we totally can’t, what were we thinking.” [laughs].
Playboy.com: James Van Der Beek is playing…James Van Der Beek in the show. How does that play into things?
Walker: [Laughs] He’s like an egotistical, narcissistic, single version of himself working in New York. James is not like his character at all. But he’s just the kind of person who is very self-centered. He can’t stand when people aren’t talking about him—it’s really funny to watch because Chloe is very similar and a total sociopath. They’re just this crazy straight girl-straight guy platonic relationship that’s just this force!
Playboy.com: Is Dawson’s Creek fan fever going to persist for June past the first episode?
Walker: June definitely is a huge Dawson fan and has worshiped and adored James for a very many years. There are definitely some references to that in many episodes.
Playboy.com: Do the cast go out to the bar after filming? Anything you can tell us?
Walker: Yeah! When we’re in New York… I’m a big fan of Picklebacks. Which is a fantastic shot that I found in Brooklyn a lot, have you ever had one?
Playboy.com: Never, what’s it made of?
Walker: It’s basically a shot of whisky with a pickle brine chaser. The acidity in the vinegar of the pickles basically eradicates all traces of the whisky. I’m not a big whisky drinker; I wish I was because that would be cool! It’s delicious and it goes down so easy. We’re actually going to New York for a premiere party next week, so I’m planning on getting everyone hammered on Picklebacks!
Playboy.com: When you were living in New York, did you have roommates yourself?
Walker: Of course! At one point I lived in an apartment with six people and there was only one shower. It got to the point where I was literally wearing my flip flops because I was like, “I can’t go into here barefoot. It’s disgusting.” I definitely had my share of roommates, some wonderful ones, some maybe not so wonderful…
Playboy.com: Oh yeah? Do you have your own roommate horror story?
Walker: Just one…I had a girl living with me and she was very sweet and very kind. But she had two parakeets, and I’m pretty afraid birds. Probably to the point that if one flew at me I might scream. So she said, “I’m going out of town for two weeks, can you watch my birds?” I’m a big animal person so I said, “Absolutely, I’ll totally conquer my fear and take good care of your birds.”
About day six or day seven, I go in to feed the parakeets and one of them is dead…and the other one is sitting on its swing making crazy noises. I’m like, “Oh my god, I don’t know how this bird died. I need to get it out so something gross doesn’t happen. Shit! I don’t even like birds, and now I have to touch a dead one.” So I go get a plastic bag, kind of like how you pick up dog poop, and am like [Singing] “going to go in there, get the dead bird”…and literally, the bird that’s alive makes a crazy, Evel Knievel, kamikaze dive towards my hand. It repeatedly starts jamming its head, flapping its wings, and screaming at me. I’m like, “I don’t know what you want me to do? I’m trying to bury your friend!”
So I shut the door to the cage and thankfully didn’t have my eyes pecked out. It was awful, and I had to dispose of the bird and break the news to my roommate, who of course was like, “did you forget to feed them?!” There was always this air of suspicion because she knew I didn’t like birds. I never thought that I’d be telling a story of how I was a terrible roommate.
Playboy.com: Hey it’s not your fault that you killed you roommate’s bird…stuff happens.
Walker: Oh my god [laughs]! I feel so bad!
Playboy.com: You took part in Sundance for the first time this year; can you tell us about your film Compliance?
Walker: Woo! It’s very much like Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23, it’s hilarious! No it’s not, I’m just kidding—there’s nothing funny about it. It’s one of the darkest, most emotionally disturbing, psychological thriller movies I have ever heard of. It’s even more frightening since it’s based on true events. It makes every person think about the relationship between authority and, you know, how you react when someone who is an authority figure tells you to do something. It was really cool to do something so completely different from the series in the same year. I have two projects coming out that shed me in completely different lights and versatility.
Playboy.com: Have you ever had a run in with the police before?
Walker: God no. I’ve only ever had to call them because I’ve had a problem , thankfully I haven’t had any run-ins!
Playboy.com: What was your first time reading Playboy?
Walker: Ooohh! Let me think. I mean, I don’t know if I was ever “reading” Playboy’s…I think my first memories of Playboy were actually looking at them [Laughs]. It’s something you hear about as a little kid and are like, “oh, it’s so risqué!” So I remember hearing about it as a little kid and being fascinated with it.
Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23 airs on ABC Wednesday nights 9:30/8:30c.
Follow Dreama on Twitter @PrimaDreama