“SFist” — We don’t get too steady a stream of celebrities here in the Bay Area, but we do get some gracing our theater stages here and there. And with that in mind we’ll be kicking off a series of “exit interviews” with people here from out of town to tell us about what they love, and what they don’t love, about staying in San Francisco. Starting us off is Jonathan Groff, star of the HBO show Looking, which just wrapped shooting on its second season this week.
You guys have been here a long time for this shoot — significantly longer than last year’s shoot, am I right?
Yes. Well, last year the season was eight episodes but we’d already shot the pilot, so we were here for a period of time to shoot seven episodes. But this year we did a total of 10, and we’ve been here since the end of August, and I leave on Friday.
This is it, this is the end. I’m so bummed. Tomorrow’s my last day of shooting.
Where were you living this time during the shoot?
I am living in like the Castro/Mission gray area. I love it here.
What was your most fun shooting day this time around?
There’s been so many. The first episode was really fun because it was the first one back and we were all on location in Russian River. We were in canoes and hiking through redwoods and pretending to be on drugs at a party, and it was really beautiful. I’d never been up there before so that was really kind of an amazing experience.
Yeah it’s beautiful up there.
Would you say that was the best location you discovered?
We shot outside of the city a couple of times this year. We were in Russian River, and then we shot in Modesto, we shot in San Leandro, and Oakland a little bit. We were kind of spreading our wings a little bit exploring the Bay Area, more than just San Francisco which was kind of fun. I don’t want to give anything away but we’re sort of exploring different character areas, like where they’re from, and it’s interesting to see how the different parts of the Bay Area sort of informed us about different storylines and different characters in the show. And it was cool to be outside the city a bit.
So, I saw you perform at Cleve Jones’ 60th birthday. Had you ever met him before?
I met him when were here last year. Danny Glicker, the costume guy on Looking did the costume design on Milk, so he knew Cleve from that. So I got to meet him with Danny last year when we were here. And he told me that his birthday party was coming up, and I want to say in March he was planning it, and he said “save the date!” And I was planning on going to it and about a month before we had brunch and he asked me to sing at it. I was so excited. It was so cool, such a fun night.
Did you meet anyone else that night?
I met Armistead Maupin and his husband Chris and I’d never met them before. And we’re all such crazy Tales of the City fans. So that was pretty thrilling. And he had us over for dinner at his house we had The Comeback premiere viewing party and Armistead was there.
Sidebar: What did you think of The Comeback re-premiere?
Ohmygod it’s everything that I wanted and more. I’m a huge huge Comeback fan. I literally watch it so much that throughout the course of shooting this season they’ve had to tell me to stop saying my lines like Valerie Cherish. Like, “You’re line’s sounding a little Valerie Cherish can you just take it down a notch,” and I’m like, “Oh, right. Sorry sorry sorry.” Sometimes we’ll actually rehearse our lines as Valerie Cherish while we’re rehearsing a scene. We are all obsessed with the show.
I’ve seen you and Russell Tovey (especially Russell) out on the town a lot this trip. What have been some of your favorite haunts?
There’s this bar that was recommended to me that I’ve now been to a couple of times this year… Zeitgeist. I love Zeitgeist, with that back area. I love it because it’s like a mixed crowd, all different kinds of people. And because when I order a vodka soda and they’re so giant and cheap! Really good Bloody Marys, too. I’m all about an outdoor space at a bar. Bourbon & Branch — I went there for the first time a couple of weeks ago, and that was really good.
How about restaurants?
I always love Kitchen Story. That’s like my go-to. I went to Foreign Cinema a couple of nights ago, and it was beautiful. The lighting was gorgeous. I’m at Bi-Rite like every day. Starbelly I enjoy — but I’ve only had brunch there French toast. Tartine. Locanda I’ve been to a bunch of times. West of Pecos — I love it there. There’s so many good restaurants in San Francisco. You eat so well here.
It’s true. It’s hard to stay thin.
It really is!
Is it safe to say you’ve all fallen in love with San Francisco a bit?
More than a little bit. We are all so upset to be leaving. I love this town. It’s been so good to us. It’s been so generous and kind. Everyone’s been really sweet. Almost all of our crew is from San Francisco and they’ve just been the best. This year is different going to to restaurants and bars because last year the show hadn’t aired yet, and this year people have seen the show and there’s just been an amazing amount of people coming up to us and expressing their love for the show, and it’s been really awesome. Every week I go to Sit & Spin on 18th Street to do my laundry and get a coffee and learn my lines, and without fail somebody comes up — all different kinds of people walking by — somebody will come up and tell me something they like about the show, or talk about something they connected to, or they want to know about Kevin or Richie and they ask questions.
I noticed that night at Hi Tops when you were out a few weeks ago you were incredibly generous with your time talking to fans.
That was crazy! I’d never experienced anything like that before! I don’t know what was happening that night. It was like non-stop love. It was really amazing. Everyone was excited too because that was the night the Giants were going to the World Series. So that was part of it.
The show means so much to us, and it feels so real to us. Andrew Haigh, our executive producer and head writer and one of the directors on the show, his thing is always about trying to make it as real as possible, and a lot of the writers’ and actors’ personal stories end up in the show. So it feels really personal. And when people come up and say that the show feels really personal to them that just means everything to us. Especially when it’s people who live in San Francisco. That’s the most important crowd [to please].
Is there anything that’s annoyed you at all compared to life in New York?
Let me try and think. I guess it’s a good sign that I’m having trouble thinking of something. We have such a romantic view of the city because we breeze in for three months, right when it’s San Francisco summer, September, October, November, and then we breeze back out again. We’re all in love with getting to do the show. We’re lucky because we get this fairytale honeymoon experience of being here. I can list a hundred things I hate and love about New York City because I live there, but it’s harder to do with San Francisco. Because we have such a rarefied kind of existence here.
Do you have a go-to karaoke song?
I never do karaoke. I love going to see people do karaoke. I hate doing it myself. BUT, I will duet on “Islands in the Stream” if someone will be Dolly for me. I will totally whip out “Islands in the Stream” if I have to.
What can we look forward to on this season of Looking that’s different from last season?
Well, we’ve got 10 episodes instead of 8, so there’s more of it. And I think last year we spent a lot of time teeing up the characters and setting up the stories, and it was only toward the end of the first season that the complications came bubbling up. And this season we certainly dive right back in where we left off. One of the things I got most excited about as the scripts came in was that the writers didn’t avoid anything that was set up in the first season. They really dig and go deeper with all of the existing storylines. They weren’t afraid to get right back in where we left off. I hate it when I watch a show and you come back to a new season and it’s like they pressed the restart button. They certainly didn’t do that with this. They really get into the complications, and the love triangle between Richie and Patrick and Kevin is further explored.
There’s more story that happens this year versus last year, in a major way. There’s a lot more Doris which is always fun, because she became a season regular.
What are you off to next, project-wise?
I’ll just be trying to crawl out of the deep depression that I’ll be in after this show is over. I don’t know what’s next. I leave San Francisco on Friday and whatever will be will be. I have no plans. Looking for the next job I guess. That’s the thing about acting. You never really know what’s coming around the corner. Hopefully it’s Season 3 of Looking.
Well, you can always come back and visit. I hope you don’t miss us too much.
I will miss you very much. And hopefully we’ll be back again. Fingers crossed.
Season 2 of Looking premieres on January 11.
“Entertainment Weekly” — Looking, HBO’s dramedy about three gay pals (Jonathan Groff, Frankie J. Alvarez, and Murray Bartlett) living in San Francisco, returns for its second season on Jan. 11. The boys, in search of some peace, are hitting the great outdoors.
“All of them have been in flux since the end of the last season, and they’ve all been doing their own thing a little bit,” explains executive producer Andrew Haigh (Weekend). “This first episode is them being determined to spend more time together and go away to Russian River, which is, like, two hours outside San Francisco. It’s this really beautiful, tranquil place along the redwoods.” But there’s no guarantee of smooth sailing. According to Haigh, “they get outdoors. They go canoeing. Things happen.” We’re guessing they run into at least one or two bears.
What else can viewers expect from Season 2? “I would say it’s certainly bigger but still true to what the show was always meant to be which is an intimate look at these people’s lives,” says Haigh.
More importantly: Which of the guys was the best at canoeing? Teases Haigh, “I would say it was probably Jonathan. He’s a man of many skills. He grew up on a farm. He always surprises me how much he can do. Frankie was not so good.”
“Juanita Eats Out” — Jonathan Groff is an American stage actor and singer. I first jumped on the Jonathan bandwagon when he guest starred on Glee as the antagonistic character Jesse St. James. And then again when he appeared as Ian Todd in the second and final season of the TV series Boss. It was on this series that I became obsessed with everything Jonathan! We recently got to hang out while planning the birthday party for Human Rights Activist Cleve Jones. Cleve had requested Jonathan sing The Flesh Failures / Let The Sun Shine In from the musical Hair – which Jonathan played the role of Claude in the 2007 rival. I got to cook dinner for Jonathan and the boys that would sing backup with him and was delighted to see the table light up when the platters of food arrived. His voice is magic and it gave me chills to hear it live in my apartment. Jonathan is currently in San Francisco filming the HBO series Looking, in the starring role of relationship confused Patrick Murray.
What is your favorite dessert?
It would have to be my mom’s pumpkin pie that she makes every Thanksgiving. We finish shooting season two right before Thanksgiving, so I’ll be eating a lot of that pie as I try to climb out of my post Looking depression…
What restaurant would you call your home in San Francisco?
That’s a tie between Kitchen Story, The Grind, and Bi Rite.
What is the strangest or most inspiring thing you’ve ever eaten?
Eating cakes from Sweet Inspiration at night inspires me to exercise the following morning.
What was your favorite breakfast cereal as a kid?
Golden Grahams. And I loved brown sugar pop tarts.
What is your favorite food to pig-out on after the club?
A cheeseburger with sweet potato fries, a side of mayo, and a bottomless diet coke.
Just days after releasing the premiere date, HBO has released the official teaser promo for the 2nd season of “Looking.” You can check out the teaser below. Stay tuned for screen captures of Jonathan from the teaser in our photo gallery!
The second season of “Looking” premieres on Sunday, January 11, 2015 at 10PM on HBO.
It’s been a long time coming, but HBO has finally set the premiere date for the 2nd season of “Looking.” The season premiere is set for 10PM on January 11, 2015 for their 10-episode 2nd season. Less than two months! Exciting, isn’t it?!
“Deadline” — HBO has set back-to-back January premieres for the return of comedies Girls and Looking and new series Togetherness. Lena Dunham’s Girls will kick it off at 9 PM on Sunday, January 11 when it returns for its 10-episode fourth season. It will lead in to new comedy Togetherness at 9:30 PM. The eight-episode series from brothers Jay and Mark Duplass follows two couples living under one roof on the fringes of Los Angeles. And Looking‘s 10-episode second season debut follows at 10 PM. Created by Michael Lannan and executive produced by Andrew Haigh and Sarah Condon, the show revolves around three friends in San Francisco who explore the varied options available to a new generation of gay men. Jonathan Groff, Frankie J. Alvarez and Murray Bartlett star. Raul Castillo, who recurred on Season 1 as Richie Donado, has been upped to regular for the second season.
Hey everybody! Jonathan Groff attended the SF Special Screening of “Pride” last Sunday (September 21) in San Francisco, California. Also in attendance were his “Looking” co-stars Frankie J. Alvarez, Murray Bartlett, Raúl Castillo, and Russell Tovey. You can check out 10 medium quality photos in our photo gallery. Enjoy!
Public Appearances > Events from 2014 > Sep 21: SF Special Screening of “Pride”
An interview with stage, screen and TV actor Jonathan Groff, a Lancaster County native, is part of a television program that will take viewers behind the scenes of a popular Disney movie.
“The Story of Frozen: Making a Disney Animated Classic,” premieres from 8-9 p.m. Tuesday on ABC.
The show looks at the origins and production of the musical film “Frozen,” which won the Oscar in March for best animated feature.
Groff, 29, who grew up in Ronks and graduated from Conestoga Valley High School, voiced the character of Kristoff the mountain man in “Frozen.”
Tuesday’s program is hosted by Josh Gad, who portrayed the comical snowman, Olaf, in the film.
The film also starred Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel as sisters Anna and Elsa. Both actresses will also be interviewed on Tuesday’s show, as will Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios chief creative officer, John Lasseter.
According to Disney Animation Studios, Tuesday’s program will take viewers behind the scenes at the studio, and reveal how the creative team behind the film was inspired by the 1844 Hans Christian Andersen story, “The Snow Queen,” and by landscapes in Norway that served as templates for the land of Arendelle featured in “Frozen.”
Since his work on “Frozen,” Groff has been starring in the HBO series “Looking,” and had a role in the network’s Emmy-winning TV movie, “The Normal Heart.”
He has been featured in such TV shows as “Glee” and “Boss”; received a best-actor Tony nomination for the musical “Spring Awakening” on Broadway; has done stage work in London’s West End and in Los Angeles; won an Obie Award for his off-Broadway work; and has appeared in films including “Taking Woodstock,” “The Conspirator” and “C.O.G.”
Groff introduced fellow “Frozen” star Idina Menzel at this year’s Tony Awards, and was a presenter at last month’s Creative Emmy Awards.
Before heading to Broadway after high school, Groff performed in local theater productions at such venues as the Fulton Opera House and the Ephrata Performing Arts Center.
Tuesday’s “The Story of Frozen” program will also delve into future plans for the “Frozen” story. It will include a preview of an upcoming appearance by “Frozen” characters Anna, Elsa and Kristoff on an episode of the ABC program “Once Upon a Time.”
“Frozen” producer Peter Del Vecho also said last week that a stage musical adaptation of the film is being developed.
The musical will feature a score by Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, who won the Oscar earlier this year for best song for the film’s power ballad, “Let It Go.”
“The Story of Frozen” is scheduled to air Tuesday at 8 on WHTM, channel 27; WPVI, channel 6; and WMAR, channel 2.
Jonathan Groff stopped by the “Variety” Studio on Wednesday (May 28) in West Hollywood, California. Jonathan was joined at the event by actors Thomas Middleditch, Will Arnett, Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Josh Radnor, and Uzo Aduba. You can check out 32 HQ photos of Jonathan at the event. Enjoy!
Public Appearances > Events from 2014 > May 28: Variety Studio Powered By Samsung Galaxy – Day 1
Hey everybody! As most of you know, Jonathan had a part in HBO’s adaptation of “The Normal Heart,” which premiered this past Sunday night. Jonathan didn’t have a huge part, but he nonetheless had an important part. Because of the fact he didn’t have a big part, I capped a little more than I usually would. It ended up being a ton of captures, but I figured maybe you guys would enjoy them. So you can now check out 296 HD screen captures of Jonathan from the TV movie. Enjoy!
Movie Productions > “The Normal Heart” (TV Movie) > HD Screen Captures
Hey everybody! I want to apologize for the lack of updates around here. Renee has stepped down from the site and has kindly allowed me to take over as the full owner. I have been working a lot behind the scenes, which is part of the reason why there have been no updates. However, I am back and I have ready to get all caught up.
To start off, I decided to upload all the 2014 public appearances that I have missed. You can check out 247 MQ and HQ photos of appearances Jonathan made from March through May. I hope you enjoy all the photos and keep checking back for all the new updates and surprises I have in store for the site.
Public Appearances > Events from 2014 > Mar 01: 2014 Film Independent Spirit Awards
Public Appearances > Events from 2014 > Mar 02: 22nd Annual Elton John AIDS Foundation’s Oscar Viewing Party
Public Appearances > Events from 2014 > Mar 02: 2014 Vanity Fair Oscar Party
Public Appearances > Events from 2014 > Mar 06: Jonathan Groff Visits SiriusXM Studios
Public Appearances > Events from 2014 > Mar 22: “Adoration Of The Old Woman” Show – Backstage
Public Appearances > Events from 2014 > Apr 08: 92nd Street Y Presents: Lyrics And Lyricists – Rodgers And Hammerstein
Public Appearances > Events from 2014 > Apr 12: LACOSTE Beautiful Desert Pool Party – Day 1
Public Appearances > Events from 2014 > Apr 29: 68th Annual Tony Award Nominations
Public Appearances > Events from 2014 > May 03: 2014 Annual Garden Brunch
Public Appearances > Events from 2014 > May 03: 100th Annual White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner
Public Appearances > Events from 2014 > May 12: “The Normal Heart” New York Screening
Public Appearances > Events from 2014 > May 21: Lea Michele Signs Copies Of “Brunette Ambition”