In December 2017, Adam Huber was shooting a beer commercial in Mexico when he received a call from his agent and manager, telling him that he had booked the role of Liam Ridley on The CW’s modern-day reboot of Dynasty. Within a matter of weeks, he found himself in Atlanta, playing the enigmatic foil and legal husband to Elizabeth Gillies’ Fallon Carrington.
But while Huber emerged as an immediate fan favorite, he was never planning to stick around beyond his multi-episode arc in the show’s freshman season — so much so, he jokes, that Gillies didn’t have a serious conversation with him until their third or fourth episode together.
“I admittedly didn’t really put in the time or the work with Adam for a while, because they didn’t tell me who he was,” Gillies quips in a recent Zoom interview with Observer. “I’m on a soap opera and people die and get fired suddenly. I was sensitive. I didn’t want to make a connection that was, maybe, gonna be gone in a week.”
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Three seasons later, Fallon and Liam have survived a series of soapy roadblocks: a fake marriage, a fake divorce, a love triangle with Culhane (Robert Christopher Riley), a potential drowning, a bout of amnesia and a number of wealthy family members who have attempted to tear them apart. And in last week’s episode, the power couple got married for the second time in an intimate ceremony officiated by Sam (Rafael de la Fuente), marking the start of a new chapter that will test their love like never before.
In their first-ever joint interview, Gillies and Huber speak exclusively with Observer about their close friendship, the development of their beloved (albeit unconventional) onscreen relationship, and the benefits and pitfalls of using social media to connect with an extremely passionate international fan base.
Observer: When did you both realize that Fallon and Liam’s relationship on the show was going to be more than just a multi-episode arc?
Elizabeth Gillies: The fans really took to it, and that’s how you can really tell. They just got obsessed with this storyline and these two characters. I think the writers took notice of that and they were liking it a lot as well, and I think that’s sort of when we realized, “Okay, this is for keeps. This is a thing that’s gonna continue on.” And, of course, now we’re on Season 4 and getting married.
Adam Huber: I think, for me, it’s Season 2 when we’re married through a contract and we had to stay married for my family’s deal to go through. When they were doing that whole Culhane divorce party, that’s when I was like, “Okay, this is gonna be a storyline that’s gonna stay around for a little bit.”
As someone who began watching this show in the middle of Season 2, I have to ask: Liz, do you think Fallon was wrong to choose Culhane over Liam at the start of Season 2?
Gillies: No, because Culhane is somebody that she had known for such a long time and she had been through so much with him, and there was a real love and connection there. He was older and wiser than her, so he was a very important person in her life. He’s not somebody who she could just toss away. It had to be for a very good reason, and I think, as she grew up, she matured and realized she wanted different things and maybe he did too, and those boxes were checked in Liam. I think she just evolved out of that relationship and into a new one. Of course, they’re still friends, but I think it was a very hard decision for her and some of the fans. There’s some people who still want me to be with Culhane; there’s some people who still want me to be married to my cousin [Jeff Colby, played by Sam Adegoke]! (Both laugh.)
How much have you guys known about the trajectory of Fallon and Liam’s relationship?
Huber: We see episode by episode. We get one script, we’re shooting it, and we’re waiting for the next one to come. So, we could be thrown a curveball and we could be like, “Wow, okay. I guess this is happening right now,” and that’s just kind of how it’s been.
Gillies: There’s so many curveballs in this season, especially. Now that they’re married, there are all different challenges and problems, and we certainly explore them this year, and things get very complicated for the two of them. Will their love prevail? Will it not? We don’t even know. I’m telling you, we experience it along with all you guys, but Adam and I have a really fruitful season, and we’ve had some really interesting and intense storylines, so I’m very excited for the fans to take that ride, because it’s intense once it gets going.
In the last few years, you guys have also gotten really close in real life. What are some of the biggest lessons that you have learned from each other?
Huber: This is my first time being a part of a show, and Liz has been doing this for such a long time, so I’ve learned a lot of stuff from her. She’s a seasoned vet, and just watching her do her thing and how she goes about finding the things in her character is really fascinating. And I trust Liz’s opinion, so I will ask her, “Hey, is this sounding right? Is this not sounding right? Do you think we should try it this way?” She gives me her honest opinion, and she’s helped me grow a lot. I think that our friendship off the screen has also translated to on the screen. We trust each other. We both want the same thing out of a scene, and I think we’re both pretty giving with each other as actors. When it’s not my coverage, I’ll try to give her what I can that’s gonna help her and vice versa.
Gillies: Yeah, I totally agree. I think what’s been really interesting with Adam is that I probably spend more time with Adam than anyone else in my life.
Huber: Yeah, me too!
Gillies: It takes a long time to shoot one scene, and we’re pretty much in every scene together. Adam and I work so differently. I, like he said, have been doing this since I was a kid, so I’m jaded a lot. (Huber laughs.) I’ll look at a scene once and then, whatever I think the lines are is what I’ll say, which is not really good. Adam takes his time, and he does a lot of work outside of showing up to set and knowing his lines. He does a lot of character work, and I tease him about it only because I’m so incredibly opposite, in a bad way. He makes me want to take more care and time and look at what I’m doing in a different way. I know if he tells me “that was good” after a dramatic scene, I’ll know I did a good job because Adam knows that stuff, and I know that he wouldn’t just say that. And we have a short-hand with each other, so I think we’ve learned a lot from each other.
I also learn things about Adam every single day that he never told me. He was over at my house until 2:30am the other night, and then the next morning, I found out it’s his birthday, and he didn’t tell me? He was at my house two hours into his birthday! He’s like a flower; he just keeps opening up. I keep learning more and more things about Adam every day. I blurt out everything about me in the first five minutes; Adam, I learn, over the course of four years. (Both laugh.)
Liz, you’re obviously no stranger to starring in big shows, but in many ways—and Adam has said this before—Dynasty is your show, because you’re pretty much No. 1 on the call sheet now. Has your approach to acting changed at all, knowing that you have to shoot such long seasons?
Gillies: Yeah, it’s a mental challenge for all of us to wrap our heads around that. On one hand, we are the luckiest people in this industry to have such solid work, and on the other hand, it’s a lot. You have to have a lot of stamina. Our days are very long, we shoot five days a week and we shoot nine months out of the year.
I think the blessing with this show and with this character has been that the writers really pay attention to who we are as people, and they do infuse that into our character. At this point, Fallon and I have such a wonderful symbiosis. I won’t say we’re similar, but I understand her so well and they understand my strengths and weaknesses and the way I speak. We’ve lived together for four years, and I have a very deep understanding of who this chick is and what she’s gonna say most of the time. I know I’m in a lot of the show, but it really is an ensemble and we have such a large cast. Every time we lose or add a character, it changes the vibe of the show so much, so it is a really intense group effort. It’s an intense one, man. This show is crazy. (Laughs.)
“You have two people that came from very eccentric, wealthy and troubled families, and they understand each other because of that. But they also fell in love.” –Gillies
A drama-free couple just can’t exist in the Carrington-Colby world, but I know it has been extremely important for both of you to create a realistic and relatable couple that people can look up to. How much does this on-screen relationship mean to both of you?
Gillies: I think it has to mean a lot, right?
Huber: Yeah, absolutely.
Gillies: It’s the majority of our day; it’s the majority of our life. If it didn’t come from a place of reality, I think it would have been dismissed a long time ago. The problems they’re having now in their marriage—even though it’s a soap and it’s elevated, funny, wild and campy—we’ve made sure to keep this as real as possible and to keep their challenges as a couple as relatable as possible. Adam always says he wishes we could have a scene where we’re just eating snacks in bed and watching Netflix. (Laughs.)
Huber: Exactly. We have to bring that realness to everything. It keeps it grounded. There’s a reason that people take to our relationship, and it’s because they see similarities in other relationships they have that they latch on to.
Gillies: Yeah, even the stuff with Laura Van Kirk (Sharon Lawrence). Sharon plays this dramatic and intense character that does these crazy things, but at the end of the day, it’s this couple trying to deal with a mother-in-law.
Gillies: And a son dealing with a mother—what’s more relatable than that? Everybody deals with that. If you whittle down the decoration on everything, you will see that the root of everything is really relatable.
We also have a responsibility to the rest of the fans because they love this couple so much. Like so many shows, they “ship” us so hard, as the kids say. (Both laugh.) We have a responsibility to show up every day and really try to not phone it in. This storyline in particular is like [their] little baby, but it’s my baby too. It’s my favorite side of [Fallon] and my favorite emotions I get to play and my favorite thing, and we’re very particular about it, and we care a lot.
There is a huge subset of fans who watch specifically for Fallon and Liam, and that certainly applies to the international fans in countries like Brazil who have rallied behind the show on Netflix. What has it been like to be on the receiving end of such overwhelmingly positive support?
Huber: It’s amazing.
Gillies: It’s so exciting.
Huber: No one tunes in to watch TV right now. Everybody wants to binge it, and overseas, they love the whole rich American storylines, like Desperate Housewives. It’s been something really, really special to see how it’s evolved and the fan base that’s been created and that is just obsessed and just loves the show… Because without them watching, we still wouldn’t be on the air.
“I don’t have a Twitter anymore. For me, I went from having 5,000 [Instagram] followers, less than 4-5 years ago, to now almost a million, and I’m like, ‘Whoa.’ You kind of just get used to it.” –Huber
Gilles: No, we wouldn’t have jobs, so we’re so thankful that they love it. This season’s so crazy.
Huber: So crazy. This season, the storylines and the things that are happening—because we couldn’t have these big Dynasty events that take place and where the drama happens—have really evolved. This season, I think, is one of the strongest ones for all the characters.
Gilles: It’s more internal. The problems are deeper and more intense because we couldn’t go out. I think we went in. I think the writers—anybody, really—after a year of solitude, their brains are different. You’re thinking about deeper things, so I do feel we treaded into darker, more emotional and sentimental territory than we have in a long time, if not ever. I’m really excited, especially halfway into the season. It just really goes off in an incredible way.
There are obviously a lot of pros and cons that come with using the platforms that you have on social media, so how have you both been able to navigate all of that positive and negative attention? Have you talked about that at all?
Huber: We talk about it a lot. (Both smile.) Liz is a seasoned vet, and navigating social media and that kind of stuff is something that I have learned from her. It’s why I don’t have a Twitter anymore. For me, I went from having 5,000 [Instagram] followers, less than 4-5 years ago, to now almost a million, and I’m like, “Whoa.” My friends back home are like, “A million people follow you and listen to what you have to say. That’s 1) hilarious and 2) amazing.” (Gillies laughs.) You kind of just get used to it, and I appreciate the fans wanting to know what I have to say and stuff.
Gillies: I was lucky and unlucky—I do think it’s both—to come up in this industry at the same time as social media was coming up. I was told I had to make a Twitter; I was told I had to make an Instagram. And I didn’t want to make either of them. I’m a very private person. But because of that, I learned all the pros and cons that come with this at such an earlier age. I learned about internet hate when I was a teenager, so I know how I deal with it, how I don’t pay attention to it. I’m not a big comment reader. I don’t get particularly upset about anything I read—I don’t know if that goes back to my personality or because I’ve been doing this for so long—so I actually can’t imagine coming into this as an adult and reading strange things about yourself when you’re not used to anybody weighing in on you other than your friends or people that you know. I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone.
I think Adam’s done a good job because people get very intense about their opinions of the show, and they’re very, very protective. He’s had some really incredibly bitter and angry groups of people come towards him, and it’s unfortunate. I have to remind him: These are children—even if they’re not, they are. It means you’re doing a good job. I think when people have no reaction, that’s when you should be very, very worried.
Huber: Yeah, look, people want to get a rise out of you. They want you to recognize their comment or like it, because they’re like, “Great! I got him.”
Gillies: The shock factor. They want to say something shocking to get a reaction out of you.
Huber: Yeah. At the beginning, I did read some of the comments. It’s kind of exciting, I’m on a show, it’s like, “Wow, oh, people like me. This is going good.” And then you’re like, “Oh, wow,” and they drop the hammer.
Gillies: And I see everything. If I ever see him write back to somebody, if I ever see him delete his Twitter, I’ll call him and ask, “Adam, what’s going on? What’s happening on the internet today?” He’s like, “Ugh, you saw it.” Our show’s incredibly popular and we have fans around the world, so they’re very vocal, they come in groups, they say how they feel, they attack people when they want to, or they can be very loving when they want to. I give Adam a lot of props and a lot of credit, but at least we know the people who adore Adam and Liam—the numbers are far, far higher than the few that want to give him trouble to get noticed. They probably have a crush on you, Adam! (Both laugh.)
Do you guys have a favorite Falliam scene from each season?
Gillies: We were all obsessed with this green dress I wore [in Season 1, Episode 18]. At the end of the night, Fallon and Liam kissed when they were saying goodbye. And I remember Fallon was like, “What?”
Huber: Yeah, that was also a moment where we were like, “Where are they going with this?”
Gillies: I was like, “You’re having me kiss this guy now. I don’t know what’s going on. Is he staying?” And then I made him do a self-tape with me during the finale while we had a break. I was like, “Can you film my self tape? I’m so sorry I haven’t been nice to you, but can you film my self-tape?” (Both laugh.) Not only did I not get the part, but Adam filmed my self-tape really well, and we became friends after that. And then, [in] Season 2, I think the pillow fort.
Huber: Oh yeah, the pillow fort, the whole tennis episode, the first time we meet Laura Van Kirk. The tennis was so much fun. The guy who played my stepfather was hysterical. We had such a good time. The pillow fort was the first moment they had where the world stopped and they listened to each other.
Gillies: Yeah, it was the sweetest scene, and David Israel, one of our writers who we adore, wrote that scene, and he’s a huge champion for Falliam storylines in general. I feel like he’s a huge part of the trajectory of their relationship, and that was the first time we saw Liam’s world, and we learned more about him.
Huber: The black-and-white episode [in Season 3] was fun.
Gillies: Yeah! I loved that, and then the proposal in London.
Huber: I mean, that’s the same episode.
Gillies: It’s David again! (Both laugh.) We love that episode. The black-and-white stuff and then everything on the plane. Fallon was being grumpy and such a bitch because she wasn’t getting what she wanted, and it was all a complete ruse so that he could propose to her, and it was really special. And this season, we have a ton, but they’re intense.
Huber: Yeah, they’re comfortable with each other now, so people fight and people get in arguments. There’s a lot this season.
Gillies: Fallon is a selfish person by nature, and I think we find out about that. Does that work in a marriage? Is that okay when you’re with somebody who’s also ambitious and also has goals and dreams of his own? Can you be as selfish? The song that I wrote for the show that I sang in the wedding episode, it’s about that. It’s about her selfishness vs. her selflessness, and can she do it? Can she love [someone else] more than she loves herself? It’s been an interesting journey about toggling that power struggle between the two of them and the home-work life balance.
Liz, I heard you’re about to make your directorial debut in episode 18.
Gillies: I start next week! I’m nervous, but I’m very excited. Hopefully, [the cast] won’t mess with me too much. We just had our dear Grant [Show] direct us for the last week and we’re so proud of him, and it was nice to have one of our own leading the charge, so I’m very excited to do it.
What inspired this interest in directing?
Gillies: I won’t say I’m bossy, but I am a leader by nature. (Laughs.) I have a clear vision for things, and I always wanted to direct, and I was always wondering: “How am I gonna get my first directing job?” When I realized I had enough seniority on the show to ask and see if they would humor it, I did and they said yes, and I’m so thankful because this is the perfect medium for me right now. And of course, I couldn’t be more comfortable with this cast and the crew—they’re all like my family—and I hope it’s the start of a long and fruitful relationship [between] me and directing.
There are two things that a lot of fans wanted me to ask you: Will there ever be any Carrington-Ridley children? And will we ever see you guys do a duet on the show?
Gillies: Okay, so really quick: my husband and I wrote a song for Liam to sing that we pitched to our showrunner because I want Liam to sing. I think Adam is a great singer. I’ve never really heard him sing, but I did the other night and I know that he can sing now. Sometimes, he drives me home and sings in the car, and he has a really good voice. So, we wrote the song for him and I pitched it, and it turned out to make absolutely no sense this year with the storylines. (Both laugh.) But I got positive feedback on it, so perhaps next year, we will get to have that Liam singing moment. And of course, I’ll duet with him whenever.
And children… yeah, they’ll probably have a kid at some point, right? Maybe? I don’t know. I can’t make predictions with this show, man. We have a whole different cast now than Season 1. We can’t predict if we’ll ever have children!
Huber: The singing thing, I need to go over. (Gillies laughs.) I’m so nervous about the whole entire process, but I’m also kind of excited about it. I think, if that happens, that’ll come in Season 5. And then the baby, like she said, who knows? Filming with children is really hard. You can only get them half the day—
Gillies: Oh, you mean logistically? Connor [Liam’s alleged son who actually turned out to be his half-brother] was cool.
Huber: Yeah, logistically, it can be tough scheduling-wise and it’s a lot to do, and I don’t know if that is possible. But who knows?
In the season premiere, Fallon and Liam talk about being able to clean up all of life’s messes together, both literally and figuratively. But do you both think they have what it takes to survive whatever life throws at them? Do you want them both to be endgame?
Gillies and Huber: I do.
Gillies: Can they? I have no idea, man! (Laughs.)
Huber: Look, I think they have to, and then, when the show ends, it’s always gonna leave you on a cliffhanger, so you’re gonna want to keep thinking, Did they, later down the line, stay together? Who really knows? I want them to be, for sure. I think they have to be. It just makes sense. They go through their struggles, and they might leave each other for a little bit and they might come back.
Gillies: You have two people that came from very eccentric, wealthy and troubled families, and they understand each other because of that. But they also fell in love not knowing that, which is so interesting because [Liam] had this whole alias in the beginning. It’s almost a bonus that they had a similar upbringing because they actually just had an attraction in the beginning and fell in love with each other’s character. I think they’re working hard to make it work, and the love is there, and the determination is there, and the connection is there, so my vote is yes and yes.
This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.
Dynasty airs Fridays at 9pm on The CW and is available to stream in the U.S. on The CW App. The first three seasons are also now streaming on Netflix.