ABC Family is taking a good choice in stride by holding onto Baby Daddy’s Jean-Luc Bilodeau.
After all, the channel gave the Vancouver-native his first major acting gig (a supporting role in the fan-favourite Kyle XY) when he was just a teenager. Fast forward a few years and the same channel would offer him a starring role on Baby Daddy — a sitcom about a 20-something bartending bachelor who becomes a single parent overnight.
“I have to credit [ABC Family] for putting me in Kyle XY; that’s what kind of made me an actor,” Bilodeau told ANDPOP over the phone from Los Angeles.
It’s just organic, it’s real. [The cast] all really love each other and we hang out a lot—on and off set. I live with Derek Theler, who plays my brother, [so] we spend just about every moment together.
Up until that point, the Canadian was mostly doing commercial work and never really thought of acting as a real career. In fact, he believed he would grow up to be a mechanic. Alas, the then-16-year-old Bilodeau caught the acting bug with Kyle XY and it hasn’t left.
Once the show completed a successful run, he booked projects with Disney and Nickelodeon before he scored the lead role in Baby Daddy. “The whole vibe around Baby Daddy is really positive,” he says. “They want us to keep going and we have a strong team backing us, so it’s no surprise that we’re into our third season.”
Bilodeau thinks part of the show’s success (it’s ABC Family’s No. 1 comedy) has to do with the chemistry between the cast and the writers. “It’s just organic, it’s real,” he says. “We all really love each other and we hang out a lot—on and off set. I live with Derek Theler, who plays my brother, [so] we spend just about every moment together.”
The Teen Choice nominee has worked with some of young Hollywood’s biggest names, including Miley Cyrus, Debby Ryan and Lucy Hale — not too shabby for a guy who’s just 23. But it wasn’t all smooth sailing for Bilodeau. According to the young actor, his transition from Vancouver to Los Angeles was “tragic” mainly because he’s obsessed with Canada.
“It was only smart for me to come out here,” he admits, referring to the opportunities in Hollywood. “I love home so much, but L.A. has been really good to me, so I can’t complain too much.”
And while things may be better now, he hasn’t forgotten about the Great White North. “I miss the climate, I miss the people,” he says, adding that he still drinks Tim Horton’s coffee in his new hometown. “I miss downtown, I love Vancouver, I love the hockey – I’m a huge Canucks fan. I’m into the whole Canadian vibe, man. That’s why I go back so often, to get my fix of the Canadian feel.”
Although he’s still quite young, things are starting to come full circle for Bilodeau. A few weeks ago he bumped into an over-the-top fan he met when he first came down to L.A. at the age of 16. He was also reunited with his old Kyle XY co-star Matt Dallas when the 31-year-old did a recent guest stint on Baby Daddy.
With his show on hiatus, Bilodeau is hoping to expand his roster and do some more film work. He’s already booked a new project, an untitled indie movie that’s “nothing like Baby Daddy.” He also wouldn’t mind doing some theatre; the last play he was in was his seventh grade production of Joseph and the Technicolor Dream Coat.
Considering Baby Daddy is taped in front of a live studio audience, theatre isn’t a far-fetch goal. “From day one when I saw the script, I knew the potential it had to be really great,” he says of his hit show.
It looks like ABC Family agrees; the network recently gave the sitcom a green light for season four, meaning there’s only more Bilodeau to come.
Feature photo by Lesley Bryce.