“I had a lot of independence when it came to finding Toby.” Zac Looker talks getting into character as Toby Pilgrim in Geek Girl

In the new series Geek Girl, a teen embarks on a life changing journey of self-discovery as she balances high school and the world of high fashion. Geek Girl is based on the novel of the same name by Holly Smale, and was released on Netflix on May 30. Before the series premiered, we got to chat with Zac Looker, who plays Toby Pilgrim to learn more about his character, his firsts while on set, and what he hopes audiences take away from the show.

Geek Girl follows the story of Harriet Manners who has spent her whole life trying to fit in. But during a school trip to London Fashion Week, her world takes an unexpected turn when a modeling agency notices her. Harriet must navigate school and fashion as she undergoes big changes in her life. Emily Carey, known for her role in House of the Dragon, plays Harriet, and in addition to Zac, the cast also includes Sarah Parish, Jemima Rooper, Tim Downie, Rochelle Harrington, and more. 

“It felt like something I could bring something to and I really connected with [Toby] and how he was described.”

Zac has already showcased his range and versatility as an actor through multiple independent films and also his performance in the series Professionals, alongside Brendan Fraser and Tom Welling. He also had roles in the shows A Kind of Spark and Invasion

Zac said his favorite thing about Toby is how thoughtful he is, even though it is sometimes to a fault. He said he was able to have free rein over how he portrayed Toby which was sometimes a challenge, but he also enjoyed having fun and trying new things while being supported by the cast and crew. Zac said the cast bonded off screen and he developed close friendships through going to many dinners. 

“I think my favorite thing about Toby is that he is very thoughtful.”

“I had a lot of independence when it came to finding the part, finding Toby and where he fits into the larger story and also his connection with Harriet.”

We asked Zac about his first on set of Geek Girl, and he said this was the first time he really got to play with integrating props into his character. Toby is often seen riding a scooter and carrying a pocket watch and Zac had fun with playing with these props off set.

“It was the first time I really felt able to integrate many kinds of props and external accessories into the character. I wanted to make sure they all kind of felt like extensions of [Toby].”

While watching the show, Zac said he hopes audiences take away a theme of hope while watching Toby in particular. Zac said he realizes high school can be a difficult and strange time to find yourself, but Toby provides that hope that things will and can get better. 

“So many of the people that I was working with just had a calm grace to them, where it just felt like even times where we were up against it, when we were running out of time, there was a calm to the people which made the process a whole lot easier.”

Thank you, Zac, for chatting with Young Entertainment. Watch the rest of the video where we ask him more about Toby including what he would wear at a fashion show and what songs would be on his playlist, working with his castmates, and watch till the end for a round of rapid fire questions. 

Consider this:

  • Take the time to build relationships with your costars. You aren’t just acting partners, you become part of a family while filming a project.
  • Take the time to get into a peaceful headspace before filming. When everyone is calm on a set, it makes the filming process that much more enjoyable and less stressful. 
  • If your character has a special talent or uses a specific prop a lot, spend time playing around with that prop or learning the skill off set. 

Previous article

New Book Tuesday: May 28th

Next article

Geek Girl Playlist