ABOVE: KRYSTEN RITTER (LEFT) WITH JAMES VAN DER BEEK IN DON’T TRUST THE B—- IN APARTMENT 23. PHOTO COURTESY OF RICHARD CARTWRIGHT/ABC
Krysten Ritter is a coltish brunette with eyes as big as two saucers of black coffee. You recognize her, surely, from her supporting parts in plenty a TV show (Breaking Bad, Gilmore Girls) and movies (She’s Out Of My League, 27 Dresses); now, she has her own starring vehicle in the impeccably titled Don’t Trust The B—- In Apartment 23, ABC’s foray into the increasingly crowded brunette-with-bangs-has-roommates genre. What separates Apartment 23 from the rest of the pack is its impeccable comic timing and dark comedic banter—imagine New Girl directed by Tim Burton—and a notable co-star in ex-Dawson’s Creek leading man James Van Der Beek, who plays a slightly sadistic (and perhaps not-too-far-removed?) version of himself.
She’s an incredibly busy gal, but we were lucky enough to squeeze in a few minutes of conversation with her on a busy Friday afternoon.
KRYSTEN RITTER: Hi Ned!
NED HEPBURN: Hey!
RITTER: I’m sorry I’m a little late, we’ve been shooting a promo for the show.
HEPBURN: I read you moved to Los Angeles from New York in 2007. You lived in Brooklyn for six years?
RITTER: I was in New York for about ten years. I lived first in the city, then I moved to Brooklyn, then I moved to the Lower East Side, then I moved back to Brooklyn. So yeah. I lived in Bushwick—I’m not kidding—in 2001. Like, before anyone else decided to live in Bushwick. From there I went to Williamsburg and I loved living in Williamsburg. It’s funny because all of my Manhattan friends would never come see me. And now every single one of them lives in Williamsburg.
HEPBURN: So it goes. Was Bushwick shady back then?
RITTER: I never really thought about that. I’ve never been a fearful person. When I was growing up, I wanted to be an actress, a writer, and a musician and I never really processed that those are the three hardest jobs—I just never even processed it. Same with Bushwick. I just didn’t process that wasn’t the safest place for me to live. Now, of course, it’s super-hip and everyone lives there; but at the time there were no little cafes, I had to walk about 10 blocks to the subway . . . the Marcy stop on the J-M-Z. And you know, I had roaches. [laughs] But I loved it.
HEPBURN: How did the show Don’t Trust The B—- In Apartment 23 come about?
RITTER: I was out doing this super-dark indie in New York, and I wasn’t really actively looking to do a pilot, and it turns out people really wanted me to be in their shows, which is just shocking and weird. A good friend of mine read about Don’t Trust The B—- on Deadline Hollywood, and said “Krysten! This show sounds really awesome, and you could be the bitch!”
HEPBURN: That must have been fun to hear from a friend.
RITTER: I read the character description and thought, “This sounds like fun…” and called my agents, and they said, “Actually they want you to do the show and want to meet with you tomorrow.” I was, like, “Okay!” I met with the showrunner and the director and was so on board.
HEPBURN: Did you have any hesitations about the character?
RITTER: My only concerns were that I wanted to make sure they weren’t going to soften her. I didn’t want to play this awesome character in the pilot who gets soft and becomes the nice girl. I don’t want to do that. If I’m going to do a show, it needs to be exciting and awesome and badass. And I’m really glad they held up their end of the bargain.
HEPBURN: When you lived in New York, did you have roommates like your character in the show?
RITTER: No, I didn’t, thank God. I was such a vagabond until the show got picked up.
HEPBURN: How so?
RITTER: I’ve always lived out of a suitcase. I was in a new city every three months. When I was a model, I traveled the world, and as an actor you’re traveling from movie set to movie set. So I’ve never been in one place long enough for anything super-bad to happen.
HEPBURN: What are you writing these days?
RITTER: My movie L!fe Happens comes out on Friday. We made the movie for nothing and sold it and now it’s gonna be in theaters. It’s crazy. I’m working on another pilot that Charlize Theron is producing.
HEPBURN: I have to ask about The Beek. How did Van Der Beek get involved?
RITTER: Funnily enough, I actually live in his house now (in Los Angeles). I was out in New York doing a play, and the show got picked up and I had no place to live in LA, so I sent out this email to everyone in my address book. He wrote back with, “I have the perfect place that has this great, great energy and I just moved out of it.” So now I live in James Van Der Beek’s old house.
HEPBURN: That’s fucking awesome. What a chap.
RITTER: Truly a case of life imitating art.
DON’T TRUST THE B—- IN APARTMENT 23 PREMIERES TOMORROW AT 9:30 PM ON ABC. L!FE HAPPENS IS OUT IN LOS ANGELES THIS FRIDAY, APRIL 13.