Brennan Elliott – Christmas Encore
By: Jessica Wolff
Q) What is the biggest similarity between you and your character in Christmas Encore?
A) I think that Julian Walker is always, through being an actor and being an artist, trying to find meaning in everything he does. Whether it’s through a role, a play, a TV show, there’s got to be something meaningful in life or it’s just not important. I really believe that the product that I take or the role that I do and the people that I work with and work for, I believe that I can make every project from my heart and that because I really believe in that project or what it’s about, because it means something to me. He goes with his heart and I believe as a human being that’s something I strive to every day, to just go with my heart. I think that was something that connected me to him. Everything he’s trying to do in life is go with his heart. That was something I really connected to.
Q) How did you get your chemistry work so well with costar Maggie Lawson?
A) I think we both just really believed in it. It’s a simple story about being under the spell of Christmas and making sure you’re with family, the family in the theater; being with that family and being under the spell of Christmas and how the spirit of Christmas affects you. You continually go with your heart, go for your dreams in life and we both really wanted to make sure that was done honestly, subtly, simply and humanly as possible. We both came to work on the same page and she’s a great actress and a great person. We just could be friends off-camera. We just got along as people and we came at the work very similar and wanted to make it as honest as possible and make sense and be entertaining for the audience. I think when you come to work with someone who is on the same page, the collaboration is effortless and that’s why the chemistry is there. It’s great.
Q) What were your favorite parts of filming Christmas Encore?
A) Anything I did with Maggie. Maggie and I together were always great. She’s a wonderful lady and a great professional and a great actress. So, our scenes together were always a lot of fun. There was a lot of laughing. We just got along very well and our characters really connected. So, those were a lot of fun. Like the snowball fight and the restaurant, just any scenes with her were always a blast.
Q) Your character in the movie is a director, would you ever consider directing yourself?
A) Well, he’s actually an actor who directs for the first time. I enjoy the producing and kind of involving myself critically in all of the elements of production and producing something. So, I’ve been trying to get involved in that a little bit, but I actually can. I’ve been watching some of my other colleagues on a show that I’m doing right now direct an episode here and there and I’m watching them, kind of shadowing what they’re doing and I can see myself directing down the road for sure. Actually, doing that play…I told this to Maggie on set, I said directing and being involved in scenes I can see myself maybe taking a shot at directing something, TV or film. It would be an interesting diversification for me, but I can see myself doing it for sure.
Q) What are your own Christmas traditions?
A) Obviously, getting together with my kids. When I was a kid, my mom would always have (and my step-dad and I and my brother) would always get together and put up the Christmas tree. So, we always did that as a family and extended that in my family now. We all get together and put up the Christmas tree. We always do one small little gift at Christmas Eve for the kids, which is always something we did because kids are always excited to open up presents and then we always have stockings in the morning. Like if Santa came and put stockings, we have to keep that tradition which is always a lot of fun. Those are kind of the three things as far as Christmas. Also, the family gets together. We have a great dinner and there’s always Christmas music playing. Christmas is just a very, very special time for me and my family and always has been. Not only are you around your family, you’re not working on something for a couple of weeks. Christmas is a good time to be with family, but you’re unplugged from everything and you’re connected and plugged into family and the spirit of Christmas, the music and food. Even watching TV shows and Christmas movies, our family watches the Christmas Hallmark movies. It’s just a really special time for us.
Q) Do you have a favorite Christmas movie or song?
A) Miracle On 34th Street with Cary Grant, that was a really special movie. I think one of the most special movies is Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer when I was a kid. That always came on every year and I would always watch that because what always got me into the Christmas spirit was watching Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. It’s for kids and when you are a kid that really got me in the Christmas spirit.
Q) What draws you most to working with the Hallmark Channel?
A) There are many reasons why. Obviously, I consider them family in a lot of ways and I’m friends with them and I work for them and, hopefully, work with them on projects. They’re like family, they’re friends, they’re people I respect. I also, being a father and having two children, have a lot of appreciation and respect for television that is family-friendly and also your kids can watch and makes you feel good when you watch it. As an actor, you diversify and do other projects for the arc of that genre or that tone. When Hallmark calls for a project or wants to get involved in a movie or a series or whatever, I always say “yes” because it’s something I really believe is necessary in the climate, politically or in this world. You never leave a Hallmark movie not feeling good; you always feel either uplifted or you’ve learned something or your kids can watch. There’s something in that, being a father, that I appreciate and respect. Doing a Hallmark movie too, I’ve never not had a good time and it’s always fun and, yes, they’re made in fifteen days sometimes and they’re tough shoots, but they’re a lot of fun and the crew’s great. It’s a great relationship.
Q) Speaking of other projects, since you’re also on Lifetime’s “Unreal.” Do you have any teases for the upcoming season?
A) We’re actually in our fourth season, we’re on episode five. They started today. I’m here for press for Christmas Encore, but I go back on Sunday and we’re doing five episodes before the holiday and then in January we’re done with Season Four. Season Three, obviously, women are going to love since there’s lot of men. There’s a bachelorette, a suitress-type situation. So, it’s our first year doing that, which will be interesting to see that dynamic and that was lot of fun. This year is kind of a mix of men and women and it’s all-stars so there’s a lot of challenges in the competition and it is a hoot. It’s a lot of fun and there’s a lot of adult humor. I think people are going to be really excited to see the storylines this year and we’re trying to stay connected to what’s going on in the world within what happens in a dating show. The last two seasons have been amazing.
Q) On the street, do you tend to get recognized more for “Cedar Cove” or “Unreal?”
A) I actually get recognized for a lot of Hallmark stuff. I get recognized for “Cedar Cove.” I get recognized for “Unreal.” “Unreal” hasn’t been on in a couple of years, but I have been recognized a lot for playing Graham, playing the host of the show. It’s a really nice mix of both so I can’t really say it’s more one or the other. I’m sure when something’s airing and it’s really visible and the audience is watching with it fresh in their eyes I might get a little more. It’s been a good mix of both, as well as other projects I’ve done for other networks.
Q) What’s next for you after “Unreal” wraps? Are you doing another Hallmark movie or show?
A) I’m in talks for a bunch of stuff that I can’t disclose. I know there is going to be a threequel possibly. We’re not sure exactly yet. That hasn’t really been set in stone, but I think there’s another opportunity to do All Of My Heart 3, which I think would probably be a wedding of some sort, but I’m not sure if that’s actually going to happen. I’m not sure, but I think that’s the rumor. I’ve got some other ideas, a couple of things I want to produce, develop and star in. There’s other projects, different series I’m working on that I like, an idea I have for the network. There’s some other networks, other projects for some other networks that I’m looking at and a feature. It’s going to be a very busy 2018 for me.