» Slideshow: Ed Westwick Gets Dressed 

First and foremost,  Ed Westwick is not a scumbag—he just plays one on TV. He’s probably not hurting for beer money, but he isn’t carrying around Chuck Bass coin. And he’s British. Essentially, Ed Westwick is not his Gossip Girl alter ego.

“I think there have been a couple of fans that were a little bit let down,” says Westwick, 23, of people’s reaction to meeting him and not hearing that distinct Chuck Bass voice. “I guess sometimes people are a little freaked out that I am not a meanie completely. I mean, I can be bad at times. I can have my mood swings.”

GOTHAM: The European mentality about sex on television is so different from America’s. Were you surprised by the uproar that Gossip Girl created when it first launched?
ED WESTWICK: I thought it was great! I remember the big OMFG campaign—there were all these billboards around with me and Leighton [Meester] kissing and sound bites from critics or parents associations that were disgusted at our show, and I found it quite hilarious really.

Is it weird reading every aspect of your life in tabloids?
EW: It’s a very weird thing. I’m still a young guy so when things happen, I know that in some measure it’s going to be out there. It can be annoying at times, but it’s just something that comes with the territory. Now I’m at the stage where I’m brushing things off.

What’s the paparazzi situation like in the UK versus here?
EW: Here there are always two dudes lurking down in the Meatpacking District right outside the Gansevoort. You know the places that might phone someone to come snap you coming out, as opposed to in London, where I haven’t experienced that yet. The nuttiest ones were in Paris, when we were shooting there at the start of the season. I remember at one point the paparazzi picked this kid up and threw him.

What you wear on Gossip Girl is analyzed endlessly. How would you describe your personal style?
EW: Because we’re always dressed to the nines on the show, I’m a lot more relaxed in my day-to-day life. Obviously I’m not called on to wear a tux every day. I’m comfortable in my jeans and T-shirt. I’m big into my bracelets, my necklace, the Ray-Ban aviator sunglasses—cool little quirky things.

How does your style translate in your bachelor pad?
EW: There’s a place down on Houston Street that has loads of weird stuff, like this trunk from 1912 that the guy said used to belong to an aristocrat from Europe, which is one of my prized possessions.

Is there someone whose career you emulate?
EW: Well, you can look at the coolest people on earth, like Johnny Depp—the guy’s got an island and gets to spend four months in the Caribbean running around like a mad pirate, so things like that are pretty attractive to a young actor. And then being from England, I look at people like Daniel Craig, who gets to play an iconic British character, James Bond. Any English guy is a fan of being a spy for her majesty’s secret service.

Bond and not the villain? Really, you must do something bad.
EW: Oh my god, I don’t ever do anything really bad. I probably picked up my friend’s guitar and smashed it or something in a moment of rage. But I’ll get him a new one at some point, I promise.

Come on, this is New York—there’s so much you can get into.
EW: I’ve stolen road signs. I’ve got a cone in my apartment that I stole from the street the other night.

There you go. You’re a rebel.
EW: Yes, I stole a cone. I’m a rebel.

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