Ryan Guzman on Playing Bad, Upcoming Richard Linklater Baseball Comedy (Video)

“Boy Next Door” star taps into his own experiences as a collegiate baseball player for “Boyhood” director’s upcoming movie “That’s What I’m Talking About”

Last Updated: March 21, 2015 @ 9:05 AM

Ryan Guzman talked about going dark for his role opposite Jennifer Lopez in Rob Cohen’s “The Boy Next Door” and then showing his lighter side in an upcoming baseball comedy written and directed by Oscar-nominated Richard Linklater (“Boyhood”).

Guzman became known for roles in the “Step Up” films and on the ABC Family television series “Pretty Little Liars,” but “The Boy Next Door” offered him a chance to delve into a different place as an actor.

“I’m not trying to say anything about about ‘Step Up’ or ‘Pretty Little Liars,’ but being the good guy and always doing the right thing can get a little boring,” Guzman told TheWrap’s executive editor Joseph Kapsch. “This offered an opportunity to show not only the people who have seen me in ‘Step Up,’ but an audience who hasn’t seen me in anything else, the diversity I have in my acting.”

Guzman plays a young man who shares a steamy intimate evening with Jennifer Lopez in “The Boy Next Door,” only to became dangerously obsessed with her afterward. He admitted that he used Mark Wahlberg‘s 1996 thriller “Fear” character as early inspiration for his own performance.

“This character was unbelievable,” Guzman said of his role. “Going to depths that I never thought I would, doing crazy things that I never thought I could, just gave me so much more of an opportunity to have fun in this kind of role.”

The actor just finished tackling a different kind of fun in Texas, wrapping a shoot with “Boyhood” director Richard Linklater on the comedy-drama “That’s What I’m Talking About.”

“It’s a 1980s collegiate baseball film,” Guzman said. “It’s an ensemble cast — 12 guys. It’s about this team and this young man, freshman, who’s coming into these two households of these crazy baseball players. A lot of it is true to its nature, because I played collegiate baseball, I know a lot of the stupid things that are done in that film are true. A lot of it’s embellished as well.”

Guzman even slipped on his marketing and promotions hat for a moment, likening his upcoming project to a 1990s film classic.

“If you liked ‘Dazed & Confused,’ you’re going to extremely love ‘That’s What I’m Talking About,'” he said.

Watch more of Guzman’s interview with TheWrap:

Watch Ryan Guzman’s discussion about playing bad and working with Richard Linklater here.

“The Boy Next Door” co-stars Jennifer Lopez and Ryan Guzman. It was directed by Rob Cohen from a script by Barbara Curry. Produced by Lopez, Jason Blum, Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas and John Jacobs, Universal Pictures will release the film to theaters on Friday, Jan. 23.