Jack Falahee on ‘Mercy Street,’ Keeping ‘How to Get Away With Murder’s’ Secrets

Jack Falahee
Shane McCauley for Variety

Jack Falahee is best known for playing Connor Walsh, the smart and arrogant law student on ABC’s “How to Get Away With Murder.” Starting Jan. 17, he can be seen in a far different guise — as a Confederate spy on the PBS miniseries “Mercy Street.”

What drew you to “Mercy Street”?

It takes place during the Civil War, in Alexandria, Va., and the writers and creative team have done an incredible job of sewing together what it really was like. I play Frank Stringfellow, who was a real person. He wanted to fight for God and Virginia and his country. When we were down there, the Charleston church shooting happened, and it made me think that it’s an ongoing struggle that our country still hasn’t reckoned with.

Is working on a period piece more difficult than working on a show in the modern age?

For me, it is almost easier. You have to put on your uniform and you talk in a foreign accent and you’re on a horse and you’re shooting guns. It almost feels more real than when I get in my Prius and drive to Hollywood. Maybe because the horse does half the acting.

What’s it like working alongside Viola Davis?

She’s an idol of mine. When I was at NYU, I saw “Fences” on Broadway with her and Denzel (Washington). Flash-forward a year and a half, and I’m sitting at a table read for “How to Get Away With Murder.” You’re only as good as No. 1 on the call sheet, and she’s been a really fantastic leader.

Is it ever difficult to keep the twists and surprises a secret?

My mom is the one who really presses me for information. That’s the biggest burden I have — withholding secrets from my mother.

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