PRINCE OF COMEDY. Modest yet arresting, Jean-Luc Bilodeau leaves his mark among the list of TV’s good guys as Ben in the hit series “Baby Daddy.” To DA MAN, he chats about working with babies, being in a love triangle and his childhood obsession with Ace Ventura.
Walking in with a spring in his step and a big smile on his face, Jean-Luc Bilodeau is the guy you’d want to crack open a can of beer and hang out with. With his easy manner and a frank demeanor, the comedic actor talks openly about his modest family upbringing, which contributes to his disciplined work ethic and an ability to remain grounded amid the heady attention that surrounds him. His early experiences as a dancer undeniably take part in building his confidence. After stints in Nickelodeon and Disney Channel’s young-adult series, Bilodeau’s big break came around when roles such as Josh Trager in “Kyle XY” and the latest, much-beloved Ben in “Baby Daddy” landed on his lap.
“Baby Daddy,” as a matter of fact, reveals a grown-up side of the dancer-turned-actor. A story of a twenty-something single father coping with the responsibilities of raising an infant daughter, the on-screen duties spill out to life off-camera with Bilodeau’s preparation in working with the child actresses who play his daughter. Facing the challenge with good humor, the stylish thespian views the experience as an organic source from which he draws a realistic portrayal of a struggling father.
DA MAN: Hi Jean-Luc, how are you? We’re fans of your show, “Big Daddy.” You play a single twenty-something father in the show. How similar are you to your character?
Jean-Luc Bilodeau: Very similar. We have a lot of common interests. I somehow incorporate my personality into every character I play, so after a few seasons, my character eventually becomes me. It’s just easier that way.
DA: What made you like this character?
JLB: This project didn’t take much convincing. I knew it had a ton of comedic strength, and I know Ben. I’ve met this guy before, and I sometimes see him in the mirror. At my early age, I figured the opportunity to work with babies would be rare, so I worked my butt off to get the role.
DA: It’s tricky for a guy in his early twenties to play a father, especially if you’ve never experienced that before. How do you prepare for this role?
JLB: Prior to season one of “Baby Daddy,” I had never picked up a baby. I loved not knowing because it made Ben’s transition into fatherhood so organic. There are early scenes of Ben struggling to comfort the baby, and realistically I was also struggling to comfort her. So my preparation was minimal, but it made the whole thing more real.
“Prior to season one of ‘Baby Daddy,’ I had never picked up a baby. I loved not knowing because it made Ben’s transition into fatherhood so organic.”
DA: Has playing a single father changed your perception of parenthood?
JLB: Yeah. Working with babies every day made me realize that it’s one of the hardest jobs out there. I always knew it wasn’t a piece of cake. They are attention-suckers. I always thought I’d be a young dad, but this show was a reality check.
DA: What kind of dad would you be?
JLB: I’ll be as cool as my dad was with me. He let us make mistakes, and as long as we learned from them, we were okay. I hardly got spanked, grounded or punished at all, but I had respect for my parents, and that’s worth way more than just following their rules. I want my kids to be comfortable around me at all times and not afraid to tell me anything.
DA: In the show, you have a tight-knit group of friends who watch out for each other. Are you, Taj Mowry and Derek Theler also close outside of work?
JLB: Very close. So close that me and Derek actually live together now. I feel like our real chemistry is why people enjoy watching our show. It’s uncommon for a cast to work this closely week-to-week and still love each other. Our friendships will last much longer than the run of “Baby Daddy.”
DA: The show has a strange love triangle between your character Ben, Riley and Danny. How would you handle a love triangle in real life?
JLB: I’d just wait it out. I don’t like to fight for a girl. If she likes me and I like her, game on. If she has feelings for someone else, I’m not interested. I guess I’m old-fashioned that way.
DA: It must be difficult working with children in the show. How do you handle that? Do you have a good chemistry with the actresses who play your daughter?
JLB: Working with the girls is great. We re-cast Emma every season to keep her young, so the first few episodes working with new babies are always a little nerve-racking. But they don’t fuss too much, and I don’t have to change diapers or put them to bed… So, for that I am thankful.
DA: What can we expect from season three of “Baby Daddy”?
JLB: We pick up right where we left off in season two. The baby mama comes into the picture literally right after Riley and I share our first kiss. Ben is forced to entertain the idea of getting back together with Emma’s mom, which halts Ben and Riley’s progress. Along with our usual antics, Emma is beginning to walk and talk, so new unique challenges are presented.
“I would love to play Jim Carrey’s son in a comedy. He’s the reason why I am an actor.”
DA: You were a dancer before you were an actor. What genre of dance were you studying?
JLB: I was a hip-hop dancer for nearly ten years, along with a few years in tap. I still love dancing. It’ll always be a big part of me. Actually, one of my 2014 resolutions is to get back into dance.
DA: Has dancing helped at all with acting?
JLB: Definitely. Mostly with confidence. Competing in dance has you perform multiple times a week in front of a large audience. It’s a good training, especially for someone in my line of work. I’ve actually booked jobs because of it. Writers and producers love dance sequences.
Coat by Burberry Brit
DA: You started out as a dancer but switched to acting. What made you want to become an actor?
JLB: As a kid, I got a lot of attention as being the “actor guy,” which I liked. And I got to leave class to go to auditions or film commercials. When I booked “Kyle XY,” that’s when I knew it wasn’t just a hobby anymore, but a possible career. I love my job, and I’ll always enjoy the spontaneity of this life. It’s something you don’t get anywhere else.
DA: What would your ideal project be, and who would be in it?
JLB: I would love to play Jim Carrey’s son in a comedy. He’s the reason why I am an actor. My mom got me an agent because I would constantly walk around the house imitating Ace Ventura. I think comedy is where I’ll stay for a while.
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