After seven seasons playing Daisy “Skye” Johnson on Agents of SHIELD, a recurring role on FX comedy Dave was a big change of pace for Chloe Bennet — especially when she’s playing Lil Dicky’s love interest and the show’s star and creator, Dave Burd, is one of her best friends.
Season three sees Lil Dicky on the road on his “Looking for Love Tour,” during which he meets Bennet’s character, a photographer named Robyn. In episode seven, which aired May 10, Robyn comes to L.A. to visit Dave and is faced with one surprise after another. First she learns is it’s his birthday week, then she’s been tasked by his friends with tricking him into showing up at a party at the beach where she’ll meet his parents — and on the way there, he admits that he can’t ride a bike and, more importantly, that he didn’t immediately correct rumors that he died in a tour bus explosion. (She handles it all surprisingly well.)
“This character means a lot to me because Dave is such a brilliant show, but what I’ve loved about this season is that it’s really reflective on various degrees of men’s relationships with women,” says Bennet. “It was a really special experience to work with all of the women on set and watch Dave navigate how thinks of himself in those relationships.”
Ahead of the episode’s release, Bennet talked with THR about watching Burd’s rise, working with friends and what’s in store for her character this season.
How did you get involved with Dave?
Dave and I have actually been friends for years. So it always just felt like, when was going be the right time to engage with the show? Because I was always kind of a part of it tangentially on the sidelines rooting for him and watching the show and its success. It’s been really special to be a part of that just as a friend from the beginning, and in season three there was actually space to push up my sleeves and get involved. The way my schedule opened up and the timing of it all seemed to be pretty kismet.
What I love about this season, and what I love about his relationship with Robyn, is it really just forces Dave to examine his relationships with women, or lack thereof. How his neuroses can be so beneficial to art and to success to a certain degree, and how we see that work against him in certain ways when it comes to romance and with his relationships with women. So I always kind of am more interested in that side of things, and especially being friends with him for so long and seeing that in real life and having that be an interesting thing to watch as a friend from the sidelines. It’s been cool to be a part of that on screen.
How was working on Dave compared to your previous series?
It’s so different. I think Dave, just in general because of who he is as a creator and as an artist, his set is always going to be kind of an anomaly. With him being a rapper and a creator who’s so deeply independent, it’s interesting to watch that process kind of shake up the system in which we actually create TV shows. He has a fresh way of getting things done and making things. In contrast to SHIELD, they could not be more different, but it’s really exciting as an actor to get to do something different. There’s certainly a freedom with Dave. Obviously it’s a lot more edgy and there’s a lot more room to play on the day. And also, Travis Bennett, Benny [Blanco] and Dave, they’re all close friends of mine in real life. So a lot of that [in episode seven], we were shooting down the street from Benny’s real house, and it just felt like we were a bunch of friends hanging out. So to get those relationships on camera and have people kind of have a little window into what life is really like has been fun.
How would you describe Robyn?
I think Robyn is an extremely relatable modern young woman. Playing this kind of relationship to a man who prioritizes to an extreme degree his career, I think a lot of women can relate to the struggle of being a professional and being a woman in a workplace, but also trying to keep up with the full-time job that it can be to date men and date other creators. Robyn is a photographer. She’s an artist, and I think what this season does well is you see how a lot of women have to compromise with romance and with their professional lives. I think we tried to explore that as much as possible in this season.
What was it like filming the scene in the latest episode where he admits that he didn’t correct the reports that he was dead right away?
Filming that scene was crazy. Not just because of that, but because in real life Dave really actually doesn’t know how to ride a bike. So that day of filming was Dave pretty much just doing exactly what he was doing on camera and me just being like, “Dave, just like break.” Aside from like the logistics of that, that was pretty funny to shoot. But, in that scene, I think that’s where her and Dave are actually quite compatible. I think she kind of just gets him and I relate to that being friends with him for so long. I think she kind of gets the neuroses that he has that led him to that point where he didn’t say anything and him being so stressed about it. I like to think of that as like a deep moment of acceptance without him having to over-explain himself. This would be something where other people would be like, “Wait. What?” I think she just kind of gets it, maybe she doesn’t get all of it, but she understands his perspective as to why he could get wrapped up in everything and then ultimately not say something.
What were some of your favorite moments filming this season?
I’ve lived in L.A. for 13 years and all of my friends pretty much work within the industry, and it’s always just really special to get to work with people that you are friends with and experience them in a professional setting and get to collaborate — especially with someone I deeply respect creatively. To have watched Dave grow from where he was when we first met, almost exclusively just a rapper, into this producer and writer and creator of this TV show in a new medium, it was really special to just watch him as a friend get to do his thing. So to get to see him in that position was cool, and then get to collaborate and be a part of a season that I truly think is their best season — but it’s also fucking weird, man. Like, the season goes hard.
Do you have a favorite episode from this season?
[Episode] nine goes really fucking crazy. This season is wild. Dave’s brain is one of my favorite brains. He’s hyper-creative and he just really never ceases to amaze me how his brain takes in information and how against the grain he tends to think of things. In season three, each episode is its own bag of weird and I love it. I think it ends in a way that even fans of Dave will be surprised by. I really enjoyed making nine, and I don’t want to give it away, but it’s interesting.
How would you describe where your character goes from here without giving too much away?
I think It’s clear they have really great chemistry and Dave, the character, he’s looking for love. This whole season is about him looking for love, and he has a real opportunity and let’s see if he doesn’t fuck it up. Is he really looking for love? Love is compromise, right? And Dave the character has established himself as this self-centered person who is building his career. You can want something, but are you willing to compromise? Are you willing to actually do it? I think that’s a really relatable fight right now for any young professional, and we watch him try to navigate that.
What’s up next for you?
I’m shooting right now this show called Interior Chinatown, which has been really exciting. Taika Waititi did the pilot and is executive producing and that has been really incredible. Going from Dave to that has been very different, but equally fun.
Interview edited for length and clarity.
Dave releases new episodes Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on FXX and streams on Hulu.