AMC's newest show Dietland is based on a novel of the same name and it's feminist take is, well, different from anything you've ever seen before. It's a super stylized dramedy with an amazing cast, and most of the actors are pretty well known. But who plays Ben on Dietland? The café employee, who seems to have a bit of a crush on Plum, plays an important part in the story overall.
The young actor is still making a name for himself in the movie business as both an actor and director. Will Seefried is best known for his theater work as The Porter in Punchdrunk’s Drama Desk award-winning production of Sleep No More. Recent credits include Boy at the Edge at Lincoln Center, Sarah Ruhl’s Scenes from Court Life at World Premiere; and workshopping The Inheritance with Stephen Daldry. He's had parts in HBO's The Deuce and Swan Song, and just finished directing Sink Sank Sunk, in which he stars opposite Laura Linney. And now here he is with Julianna Margulies, Tamara Tunie, and Joy Nash, among others.
Dietland is an adaptation of Sarai Walker's 2015 satire of the same name and revolves around Plum, a woman who works as a ghostwriter in the beauty industry and is struggling with her body image in preparation for a weight-loss surgery. According to AMC, "At the same time, everyone is buzzing over news reports about men, accused of sexual abuse and assault, who are disappearing and meeting untimely, violent deaths." Let's hope one of them isn't Ben, her genuinely sweet co-worker at a local cafe.
Everyone who's worked with Seefried before has only the kindest things to say about him. James Franco worked with Seefried when he was a stand-in on the set of The Deuce. Franco told New York Magazine's Vulture, "We had this great guy who had just graduated NYU with a degree in acting, Will Seefried. When I would come in as Vincent, he’d be dressed up as Frankie. As an actor, it was invaluable because I had somebody there to act off of." It sounds like things were pretty complicated on that set, so you know he has skills. This role is likely a lot more straightforward for the actor, though it seems to really have affected him.
Marti Noxon is the showrunner for the dark AMC comedy, and she discovered the book through Audible. Noxon used to be a writer on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and created the totally underrated Bravo comedy, Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce. She was also a co-creator of UnREAL, which she left after the first season.
Seefried wrote in a caption of a picture he posted to Instagram on the last day of filming Dietland:
The brilliant team behind this thing has taught me so much. Especially about the nuances of gender and power in our current climate. Like many men, I’ve been asking myself, what is my place in this movement? We all know the guy who overcompensates with phony feminism ("ugh, men. Am I right?"), the guy who gets defensive ("well I’M not like that"), and the guy who just shuts up and pretends it isn’t happening. I don’t want to be any one of those guys.
He continued in the lengthy post about the lesson's he learned on set from all the powerful women around him:
Women's stories need to be front and center. In these stories, we need to see representations of men who embody the problems, and men who model possible solutions. I'm so proud to be a part of a show that does this and a part of a team that strives for something epic. As I've said many times, "I finally get to be a man in a woman's world," and let me tell you, it's a wonderful world to be a part of.
It's pretty powerful that working on a show like this could change the point of view of one of its cast members. Hopefully all the fans out there invite their male friends along for the viewing parties.