Star in a Northern Maine production of “Huckleberry Finn” or audition for a pilot now known as “CSI: Miami?” Easy decision, right? Right.
After pal John Krasinski (a fellow Brown University alum) helped Chestnut Hill native David Walton land an agent a year out of college, Walton made the call to drop “Huck” and audition for the CBS pilot back in 2002. Although he wasn’t picked up for the drama, his star began to rise.
Over a decade later, the father of two has his hands full gleaning parenting lessons through the portrayal of his character, Will Freeman, on NBC’s “About a Boy.”
“I know exactly what not to do now,” Walton joked during a phone interview. “My character is making all the mistakes for me.”
In “About a Boy,” Freeman is a playboy living off of the royalties of a one-hit wonder when his life gets turned a little upside down by a neighboring 12-year-old named Marcus Brewer. If the names and plot sound familiar to you, it’s because they probably are. The story originated a 1998 novel written by Nick Hornby that was eventually adapted into a film starring Hugh Grant in 2002.
“It’s so fun playing this character,” Walton said. “He changes and becomes mature and all these things, but at his core there will always be this youthfulness and immaturity and selfishness perhaps.”
Walton’s take on Freeman is pretty true to the book, but the storyline develops past the scope of the novel (and film), showing measurable growth in his and Marcus’s characters in each episode.
“What’s so cool about Jason’s style and what this comedy will end up being is that there’s really a lot of evolving with these characters.”
Off screen, Walton has hopes of guiding his 5-month-old son Louis “into his manhood,” like his character does for Marcus, and of someday owning a home in his native state.
“I love Boston and at some point my plan is to have a home back there,” Walton said.
Maybe someday we’ll catch him teaching a lesson to Willy or his now 2-year-old daughter, Cecilia, while chomping on some pizza at Pino’s in Cleveland Circle — his favorite local hangout. Until then, you can catch Walton on “About a Boy” on NBC, Tuesday nights at 9 p.m.