Matthew Settle plays Rufus Humphrey, the rock star turned art gallery owner turned kept husband on ‘Gossip Girl.’ On the CW show, Rufus recently married his first love Lily, played by Kelly Rutherford (whom Settle has been rumored to be dating off screen). Settle discussed the impending arrival of Serena’s Dad, what it was like to work with Sonic Youth, and Rufus’ rather unusual affection for waffles.
How is the arrival of William Van Der Woodsen, Serena’s Dad, going to impact Rufus and Lily’s relationship?
It’s definitely a threat to their relationship. They’re in a triangle of tension. He wants back into her life without a doubt. He’s on the move, trying to get what he can. You’ll have to watch to see if Lily and Rufus’s love can overcome it.
What was it like working with Billy Baldwin, who is playing William?
He’s great. Really professional. His brother [Alec] works next door to us, the next stage over, at 30 Rock, so I guess he’s really comfortable there. He fit right in.
There was a hint in a recent episode that Lily might be sick, not CeCe.
I would love to tell you everything I know, but I don’t have a judge card in front of me about how well I do with confidentiality agreements. You’re going to have to watch.
Why does Rufus like waffles so much?
I’ve always kind of joked with the producers about that. I think what happens is there’s a character breakdown each of the writers get and somehow it just stuck that he likes waffles. Everyone writes it into the show. Hopefully next year they’ll move away from waffles but I try not to get annoyed by it and just enjoy it. In the beginning Rufus seemed to be somewhat of a chef but it became too complicated to set up those sort of dinners on episodes other than Thanksgiving. Maybe it’s just a way to simplify the show or maybe it’s a running joke the writers have. He certainly does love waffles.
Other than eating waffles, what is Rufus going to be doing for the rest of the season?
He has issues with his kids because there’s some wild dynamics that are going to come into play. Also, he’s struggling with his marriage.
Is it strange sometimes playing a character who is supposed to be a great Dad but never has any idea what is going on in his kid’s lives?
I think it’s the perfect set up in the future for Rufus to [turn out to] be Gossip Girl.
What would you like Rufus to be doing next season?
I always thought it would be fun if he got back into the art world, maybe authenticated a painting, discovered a Jackson Pollock in the garage of some house upstate. It would be fun if he discovered a really beautiful large painting, came into money and then would discover the issues that people with money have.
A lot of fans joke about this: does Rufus have a crush on Vanessa?
People have said that. I think it’s odd because the moment you put two people in a room the audience will project their notions on to it. He thinks of Vanessa as sort of a surrogate daughter. The storyline on Thanksgiving when her mother comes down – they have an old friendship. She was like a sister to Dan and now they’re involved. I think Rufus sees her as a potential daughter-in-law.
What was it like working with Sonic Youth on the wedding episode?
It was fun. There they were, in my living room, the Humphrey loft. They’re cool people. I had run into [Kim Gordon] at the Marc Jacobs show a year earlier and found out that she was a huge fan of the show, that she watched it with her kid. So there we were a year later, on the show together.
Do you worry that Rufus and the other adult characters on the show will be marginalized now that most of the characters are in college?
You’ll find out in the next episode that they find a way to integrate it fully. It’s not been tough at all. In fact, Kelly and I have been working more than ever in these last few episodes.
What have been some of your favorite New York locations where the show has shot scenes?
We just shot in Riverside Church, which is the tallest spire in North America. It’s fun to shoot at the museums. It’s fun to shoot in some of these old banks that have been converted to ballrooms. The most fun I think is shooting outdoors on a street when the weather’s good and we get a crowd watching. It’s kind of like doing theater.