February 20, 2012 10:00am PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Smash' Preview: What's Ellis' End Game?
After taking authorized video of Megan Hilty's Ivy performing a song from Tom and Julia's potential Marilyn Monroe musical, it's clear that Ellis is an ambitious kid who can't be completely trusted.
As Tom's (Christian Borle) assistant, he's already clashing with his writing partner Julia (Debra Messing) over exactly who came up with the concept for the Marilyn musical but backed down when she denied that the idea was his.
"Ellis is biding his time," Jaime Cepero tells The Hollywood Reporter. "He definitely considers it to be his idea and in Monday's episode you'll get more of a glimpse into his world and how he really feels about Julia and the way she treats him. He's got very strong opinions."
He'll certainly get an opportunity to air out his feelings and vent about working for Tom, and to some extent Julia, during Monday's "Meet Mr. DiMaggio" episode in which his friends -- and girlfriend! -- enter the picture.
"He's been putting up with being someone's assistant for the first couple episodes and this week you'll see him fire back and really step up into his character," he says. "She's really who I get to blow off steam with, where I get to really express myself and how I really feel about what's going on."
Cepero says it's a "happy coincidence" that Ellis happened to be reading a book about Monroe in the pilot when the series opens and the discussion about a Marilyn musical first surfaces among Tom and Julia.
"As far as Ellis is concerned, it's his idea," he notes. "At the end of the day, he want some credit and wants to see the show succeed and you'll start to see the length to which he'll go to make sure that things go his way and the right way as far as the show is concerned."
Judging from the unauthorized video and back-talk to Julia, Cepero says Ellis is willing to go above and beyond if it means seeing the show -- and ultimately him -- succeed.
"It's clear that he's not really paying attention to the rules very much and even though he has no problem dealing with the consequences later, he has no problem going forward with that," he says. "He really wants the project to succeed and his recognition."