Michael Evans Behling Chats ‘All American’ Season 5 (& Reveals Whether He's Team Simone or Team Layla)

“I think that my dream role would probably be somebody who is a terrible person. Like an evil character,” Michael Evans Behling said thoughtfully while chatting with PureWow on a video call. 

“I know that sounds crazy,” he continued with a laugh, “But to be able to portray somebody who's evil, like Dr. King Schultz, ​​Calvin J. Candie from Django Unchained or Hans Landa from Inglourious Basterds. Those are diabolical characters. And to be able to portray those—I think it's very, very powerful.”

We couldn’t agree more with the 26-year-old actor, who you might recognize as star athlete Jordan Baker from The CW’s All American. But as curious as we are to see him channel his darker side, we’ve already taken a liking to his stellar comedic chops on the CW drama, which is now in its fifth season. In fact, the actor revealed that it’s fun to explore the humorous side of Jordan—so much so that he’s also open to taking on comedy roles in the future.

He told us, “I've really enjoyed the comedy scripts. So if there's an opportunity for a comedy film to come my way, whether it's a slapstick type of style, or whether it's more advanced humor, if you will, that would be a lot of fun.”

michael evans behling 1
Michael Evans Behling

It sounds like Behling, who’s now in a partnership with Irish Spring, already has his sights set on bigger roles. But for now, he’s winning fans over on All American, which follows a gifted young football player from South L.A. who gets recruited to play at Beverly Hills High. Behling stars as the charming but headstrong quarterback, Jordan—a role that hits pretty close to home for the actor.

"What initially drew me to the character [were] the similarities that he and I shared," he told PureWow. "Just the competitive aspect and playing football. I grew up playing football until my junior year of high school."

Behling also noted that his personal experiences as an adopted biracial child helped him connect with the role. He said, "In the pilot—I think they had rewritten something— but in the original pilot, he was struggling with his identity already, especially when Spencer came into the picture. So, being a biracial kid from the Midwest, and also being from an adopted family in a predominantly white area of Indiana. I resonated with those traits in Jordan."

Jordan may have had a rough start in season one, but anyone who's been following the show religiously can attest to his amazing character development throughout the series. 

all american 3
Troy Harvey/The CW

When asked about Jordan’s journey, Behling said, “He's shown tremendous growth, especially maturity-wise. He's still a little bit of a hothead. He's been working on it, and you'll see in the second half of season five that he's trying to make a conscious decision to not use his fist to deal with his problems. I think what we all have to remember is that he's still a 19-year-old kid. So the immaturity aspect, as far as wanting to jump in with the two hands and throw the fists, it still makes sense to a degree for him.”

Fortunately, in part two of All American season five, fans can expect to see Jordan work through his weaknesses and, of course, add some comic relief. Behling continued, “Obviously, his counterparts aren't throwing hands like he is, but it's just been fun to kind of play around and try to build him up to be more mature. To be a little bit more of a humorous character. There's a reason for that, and you'll see in the second half of the season, I wanted to be able to showcase both sides of him.”

“We're going to see him connect a little bit more with his sister, and connect a little bit more with his family. And although we've seen that before, I think that's something that he can struggle with. Sometimes he can be selfish, and I liked the fact that [in] the back half of this season, we're going to have to see him become very selfless and put others first over his own needs and his own priorities.”

all american jordan layla
Troy Harvey/The CW

As for Jordan's romantic life on the series, it's clear that the chemistry between him and Layla is at an all-time high. And Behling is well aware that some fans are still rooting for Jordan and Simone—even despite their complicated history. But make no mistake: Behling is now 100 percent Team Layla.

He said, "I have to be team Layla. No, let me rephrase, I don't have to be anything. I am team Layla. I believe that Jordan and Layla is probably the healthiest relationship that we have, maybe besides Asher and Jamie, on the show. I love Simone. I love Jordan and Simone together, don't get me wrong. But with Jordan and Simone, the way that they started off their relationship was messy, and it was toxic to a degree. I understand [Simone's] reasoning for doing what she did. But at the end of the day, Jordan and Layla coming together is much more organic. It's much more natural." 

all american 2
Troy Harvey/The CW

Still, the actor acknowledged that Simone played a crucial role in his growth process. He explained, "Jordan and Simone being together, going through the trials and tribulations that they went through, I think made Jordan a much better man and a much better character to be a better boyfriend to Layla. I think that without Simone and Jordan being together, Jordan and Layla wouldn't have the type of communication that they have. They wouldn't have been able to get through the things that they've already worked through. Simone definitely made him level up."

He added, "I know people will argue, 'Well, you know, you're hiding this relationship.' But I think that we're hiding the relationship for Layla’s mental health, because she's been through so many things. And Jordan is okay with that. For the time being."

michael evans behling 3
Michael Evans Behling

Aside from discussing All American, Behling chatted about his upcoming short film, The Flower That Never Wilts. And while the title has a special connection to the CW series, Behling's character is a far cry from the witty athlete we grew to love on the sports drama.

Behling said, "There was a football player who worked for us for all five seasons. And he and his brother actually wrote this script, with the hopes of getting larger distributions and getting into festivals. We just got into our very first festival, which I'm very excited about."

He continued, "It was just a quick three day shoot in Los Angeles. Based in the '70s, the character that I played was Damien. He's basically trying to help his friend overcome this mental block, this addiction block that he's going through, being an artist and losing his wife to a drug overdose. Stepping into that role of a different light and [having] much heavier dialogue was a lot of fun for me."

So, does this mean we'll see more of Behling on the big screen? According the actor, it's definitely a possibility. He told us, "Being on a show for five seasons is amazing. It's a blessing. But you know, you want to be able to exercise other parts of your instrument without being locked in as an 18-year-old on The CW."

We'll be on the look out for your next villainous role, Michael.

nakeisha campbell bio

Associate Editor, News and Entertainment

Nakeisha has been interviewing celebrities and covering all things entertainment for over 8 years, but she has also written on a wide range of topics, like career...