Switched at Birth is stirring up some new competition for Emmett (Sean Berdy)—let’s face it, Bay (Vanessa Marano) sets her sights on all the guys, right!?)—and that may just be in the form of new Carlton student Noah (Max Lloyd-Jones). How will he hold up against everyone’s favorite “bad boy” with the biggest heart, though? LA TV Insider Examiner sat down with Jones on the Switched at Birth set here in Los Angeles to learn all about this mystery man Noah that we’ll meet in the third episode of the season.
“I think he’s more the nice, sweet guy so far, from that I’ve seen, but he does have a secret that’s going sort of bubbling inside of him and makes him different than the hearing and the deaf kids. That’s going to come up in the next few episodes, and there’s going to be some confrontation, so I hope he stays the good guy through that!” Jones said about the character.
Yes, Noah is one of the new hearing kids who enters Carlton alongside Bay as a part of a special integration program. Unlike Bay, though, Noah doesn’t have any experience with signing, and that makes him feel like he’s been “thrown into the dragon’s den,” per Jones.
“He’s there to learn, right from the get-go,” he said, which is a feeling with which Jones is quite familiar. After all, he didn’t know any ASL before joining the Switched at Birth cast.
“I was thrown into it, too, after three days of knowing I was going to be on the show,” he said.
“I’m specifically learning what I need for my scenes, and then by proxy, I’m learning more, but I’m in no way fluent! You learn what you have to learn, and the other aspect of it is not playing it the way a deaf person would play the signs; there’s a whole slang to it, and like with learning any new language, there’s an accent you have to pick up.”
Switched at Birth comes with an added challenge for any hearing actor who didn’t grow up with a deaf person in the family, but the show isn’t stopping there. Jones may be able to ease into signing, as his character is just starting out learning on the show, he has another issue that requires just as much research and dedication to truthfully portray.
“It’s delicate, and it’s not something that you can just show up and give it a go; you research it and you finesse it,” Jones didn’t want to say too much about it.
“As soon as I got the first episode, it became clear what it was going to be, but it was not something I had any familiarity with. I was in Starbucks for a good five hours straight just making sure I knew as much about it as possible and talking to someone I knew who went through it.”
Jones called Noah a guy who is “kind of stuck in the middle between both worlds” when it comes to the hearing and the deaf communities, which puts him at a crossroads of sorts. Because he has other issues going on, he shared that we will learn it wasn’t entirely his decision to go to Carlton in the first place, so he isn’t thrilled to lumped in with a bunch of other kids who don’t know his story when some of the deaf kids get upset that their school is integrating.
“Any new group of students who come to a school like that are going to be seen as posers. There’s a line in there about ‘playing with the cute deaf kids’ because they’re kind of set apart,” he said.
“Bay kind of instigated it and wants everyone to come together, whereas he doesn’t even know if he wants to be there to start with. He’s not so dead-set on getting everyone to be friends with him; he’s focused on his own problems. They are both outsiders, and that’s very relevant in the first episode. She’s the main target, but he’s kind of lumped in next to her as a hearing kid who doesn’t understand and is prejudiced.
Noah and Bay will end up spending a lot of time together, and Jones felt that Noah is a positive change from the guys Bay has known. They both have a lot they can learn from each other, but they have a lot they can relate to each other about, too.
“She’s much more in depth in the whole deaf world than he is. He’s kind of thrown into it and a bit intimidated—he’s a bit scared of communicating and everything to begin with. I think they can both teach each other because he’s a good guy, a sweet guy to the bone, and she’s a bit more confrontational,” he said.
Switched at Birth airs on ABC Family on Monday nights at 8 p.m.
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