Younger: Hilary Duff and Charles Michael Davis on Chemistry, Competitiveness, and More!

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Younger Season 5 begins airing on TV Land Tuesday, June 5 at 10/9c, and there are some changes afoot! 

One we can talk about brings The Originals Charles Michael Davis back as a series regular, and if you've been watching (for shame if you haven't) you know that has to mean exciting stuff with Hilary Duff as her character, Kelsey, has been fascinated and frustrated with his character, Zane Anders.

We had the opportunity to sit down with Duff and David recently, and they get along off-screen as well as they do on screen. Pepper the conversation below with a lot of laughter to give it the right flavor and prepare for the premiere!

Equals at the Office - Younger Season 5 Episode 1

TV Fanatic: Okay you guys, so I have to ask. From the first moment that you two were on screen together, there was, obviously, chemistry between you. Did you feel it? Did everybody feel it? Is that how you ended up here?

Charles Michael Davis: Yes, I was working with a Shamanic healer on my presence, my qi. And I noticed that her qi was really strong, so her qi actually brought out my qi, and that's what you're seeing on screen.

TVF.: Lots of qi.

Hilary Duff: Your qi is your calmness, by the way. Don't believe anything he says-

CM: She complements me so well.

HD: No...

CMD: Your qi is your calmness.

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HD: No, we're talking about the fire, not the calmness.

CMD: Ah right, yeah. What brought out my fire qi? There is a ... what is it? Your...

HD: Chakra?

CMD: Chakras. That's what it was.

HD: He needs so much help.

TVF: He does. But it doesn't seem like you two need help when you're on screen together.

Hilary Duff as Kelsey Peters - Younger

HD: No, no we don't. They definitely have that chemistry. I think they write really well for us but also we happen to be competitive, and both like competitive-type people, and we have a lot of fun.

CMD: So, you are competitive in real life as well as your characters' then?

HD: I am. Yeah. I think you are too.

CMD: Oh very much so. Yeah. I mean I was an athlete in college, and I played sports growing up before I ever did acting, so that's how I learned to act was by relating it to sports. Everything to me is like...

TVF: Do you two do a couple jogs up and down the stairs in between takes?

CMD: Shadow-box each other.

HD: I think we went once with these before, that's for sure.

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CMD: Yeah, yeah.

HD: That's for sure. We'll always try to walk out of the room faster than the other, beat the other to the door frame.

CMD: Yeah, yeah. Yeah definitely try to get one up on each other. I think that's what our relationship is-

HD: I always win.

CMD: It's like this.

TVF: And that's funny because one of my questions actually is that Kelsey and Zane are always sparring, and it drives them, I think, to further professional heights?

CMD: Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Equals Out of the Office - Younger Season 5 Episode 1

TVF: But there's also that possibility that ... could that possibly turn the tables in any way, especially with the #MeToo situations going on now, and which is going to be addressed on the show in some manner. Is there a possibility that there could be conflict in the future?

CMD: Not from the #MeToo perspective. I think you see Zane's careful and puts his cards on the table especially during the sexual harassment meeting by asking, "What about past relationships? Is it okay to date someone?"

HD: I think you just did that to get under my skin.

CMD: That too. But also I'm really curious about the answers, and we find out, in this scenario, that it's okay to be on the same hierarchy, same level. So that's like she gives him the okay to pursue Kelsey again.

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HD: And I think they're both aware, you know, it's obvious that they're both interested in one another, even though it drives them crazy but they can't help themselves. It's very double-sided, you know?

TVF: Like, you can't help yourself?

HD: Yeah, well neither can he too.

CMD: It's really the moth to the flame.

HD: I will. But, you know our relationship is fun, and we do kind of drive each other, and then something interesting happens where he kind of, he's been the jerk, kind of not taking her that seriously.

And you see that shift in her kind of being in the driver's seat at that for a little while, and he gets a little more sensitive and a little more caring about her.

And you just wonder, you know, he's very much a mystery. You don't know if he's doing this to get ahead, or if he is really seriously involved, or if he's just having fun. It's very hard to read him, and Kelsey starts to be like, "Fine, I'll stay here for a little bit, but I'm not taking it that seriously and I can explore other things."

Charles Michael Davis as Zane Anders - Younger

TVF: You know what's interesting? I thought when your character first came on, that there was more depth to him. And then they kind of did an about-face...

CMD: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

TVF: -and pulled him back a little bit, so that there was more mystery between...

CMD: Yeah, you're exactly right.

TVF: ...between the characters, and I was just fighting...

CMD: Yeah.

TVF: ...I was fighting for him, for Zane to have that ... you know, get back there...

CMD: I appreciate that.

TVF: Call Kelsey! There's something we're missing something here. It didn't feel true to the character so whenever you got brought back on...

CMD: Yeah, I think...

TVF.: Did you sense that?

Shock and Awe - Younger Season 5 Episode 1

CMD: I not only sensed it, but I was very aware of it, especially when we would get some of the scripts. There would some things in there that were very revealing and let you into Zane's world. But then they got cut out.

I think, from my perspective, it's one because it's more about Kelsey and it's more Hillary's show than it is about me. And the other perspective is that you don't want to bring them together too fast, too soon, because then there's nowhere for them to go. So you need to kind of pull them apart.

So if that comes at the expense of the audience really feeling connected to my character, then so be it.

But it means there will hopefully be a payoff down the road, so that also the audience can go, "Oh man, I judged that guy, and that guy kind of reminds me maybe of somebody I know, but he didn't turn out to be what I thought he was, and now I relate to him." So maybe it will help the way they look at other people that they may judge in real life.

TVF: I would have expected Kelsey to pull back, regardless.

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CMD: Mm-hmm (affirmative), right.

TVF.: Just because of everything that she had been through.

HD: Uh-huh (affirmative).

TVF.: Personally, and with her new best friend, and at the office. I mean, she's just gone through so much in the past two years, it would be impossible not to...

CMD: You think she has trust issues.

HD: I think she doesn't trust him. You know, she's like, "You wormed your way into my company now?" Like, "You lost your job. You did all these things. You don't have a Buckhorn author, and you haven't had one.

Now you've wormed your way into Empirical and for... I don't trust... and you know she likes being with him, and she likes to hook up. She does think he's smart and has potential, but I think she's like, "Where's your work?" Or are you just positioning yourself kind of thing.

CMD: Yeah.

HD: And she's feeling intimidated by his closeness with Charles right now because her and Charles are a little bit at odds, with him not really giving control to her with what she sees for Millennial. And so it's very heightened right now.

Teachers: Exclusive Key Art for Season 3!

TVF: And my last question, kind of for both of you ... Any outside family, friends, anything like that coming into the picture for either of your characters? I still feel like we don't know enough about Kelsey and what makes Kelsey Kelsey.

HD: No, actually we haven't. Someone just asked me, "Who would you like to play your mom on the show?" And I was like, "I'm obsessed with Jane Fonda." And I know the age thing is a little off but she's so amazing, and she would be...

TVF: You could be adopted.

HD: ...She would be so killer on this show. I know. I would love that. And yeah we haven't ... she's really the only ... and we even know Lauren's family. It's like we need to...

CMD: Josh doesn't have a last name.

HD: Josh still doesn't have a last name. Isn't that funny?

TVF: It is.

CMD: Yeah.

HD: You even have a last name, don't you?

CMD: I do. Zane Anders.

HD: Yeah.

TVF: Well I really look forward to seeing the rest of the season. Thank you guys so much for speaking with me.

HD: Yeah, thank you. It was a lot of fun.

TVF: It is.

CMD: Great chatting with you.

Don't forget to tune in on Tuesday, June 5 at 10/9c for Younger Season 5 Episode 1, and if you need a refresher, watch Younger online to get caught up on the finer points of this tremendous series.

You don't want to be caught unaware when the chatter starts on Twitter!!

We'll have the show covered from all angles here, and there are four more interviews on the way before the premiere. TV Fanatic has you covered!

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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Younger Quotes

Dreams we have as a child, dreams we pack in a box for college, dreams you unpack when you move into your first apartment, who you’ll meet, where you’ll work, who you’ll fall in love with. Think you have it all figured out. Life has better ideas. A bigger imagination takes bigger chances than someone like me a year ago moving through her forties in a cloud of old ideas. Life gives you more than you thought but maybe not in the package you expected. It’s deeper than that. It’s what you need underneath the want. It gives you what you can’t breathe without. So go ahead and plan, just know when all your scheming, and planning, and hoping is done, life plans back.


It's like Goodnight Moon for adults. With blow jobs!