Interview With Cardi Wong

Brennan Elliott chats upcoming Mystery series with Hallmark, acting influences and more!

Many of you may remember that the beginning of last fall, I was able to share an interview with Brennan Elliott.  We were recently able to catch up and find out what he's been up to since then.  I don't want to spoil it, but this really is one of my most favorite interviews that I've been able to conduct.


From talking about Crossword Mysteries, what makes a good scene partner, to who his dream cast would be for a movie....we discussed all of that, and anything else you can imagine.  So, since I know you're as excited to learn more about this immensely talented actor as I was, let's get started!

Mercy: Can you share what you've been up to since we last chatted?
Brennan: Well, we did the 3rd All Of My Heart (the wedding) which I co-starred and executive produced with Lacey Chabert, and then we did Crossword Mysteries; our very first pilot movie.
Brennan & Lacey for Crossword Mysteries
We're supposed to do 20 of those over the next 5 years. Then we went off and did a little Christmas movie, and then we're supposed to be going back and doing 3 in a row of the Crosswords sometime in May for the spring and summer.  It's going to be busy since we're also executive producing those as well!

Mercy: What is your favorite movie or TV show that you've ever been part of?
Brennan: That's hard to answer because I enjoy them all for different reasons. Some I enjoy the characters, some the show...  I was in show called Cedar Cove and I had a really good time with both the character and the show. I think the whole dynamic of that show was special - which was the flagship show on Hallmark. It was their first series they created. Obviously, now they have Chesapeake Shores and When Calls The Heart. It was just a really enjoyable experience working with Andie McDowell and Dylan Neal and just the whole cast. I really enjoyed that character. It was a lot of fun to go to work every day! So that was a fun show, but I've been really lucky and blessed in that everything I've done, I really enjoyed. Even Cold Case, playing the biker character. There's just all these different shows for different reasons, so I can't really pick one. But I am really enjoying working with Hallmark Channel & Hallmark Movies And Mysteries. They're just great people!  The characters that I get are great, and the writing, producing, and just the opportunity work and collaborate with them has been really enjoyable.

Mercy: How are you most like and unlike your character in the upcoming Crossword Mysteries movies?
Brennan: Well, I haven't really had the opportunity to play a detective much in my career, although I think as
I've gotten older that might be a role that I play more. But I think every character I play, I try to tap into elements of myself and pull from experiences and make everything personal.  You know, he has a very inquisitive and determined strong sense of justice and the need to solve the puzzle and the case, putting the bad guys away! And I think as an actor, every script and every character is its own little puzzle that you have to solve, so there's a parallel there. I'm like that in some ways. Every case/script feels like I'm trying to solve something. But it's very different in that he's an established detective living in New York, and his upbringing and whole lifestyle, there's many, many differences which is what makes him very hard to play. But there are some parallels there, and I think you start with the things that are most like you and then the things that are not like you, you can find moments in your life to parallel there and make things seem more connected to you.  I hope that answered your question. :)

Mercy: Yes! Hallmark fans have seen you play both the "bad guy" and the "good guy"; which do you prefer playing?
Brennan: You know, I can't say one!  The bad guys are always fun to play because they're so-- they are on an island by themselves. There are a lot of elements to them that are very different from me, so that's a lot of fun.  I love the romantic comedies because I get a chance to tap into some of my comedy, and I like to have fun with that. The romances are always great to play.  And then there's other roles that are more personal, dramatic, deeper elements, so I have fun playing them all!  Like Brian Howell in All Of My Heart; it had comedy, romance, and obviously getting to work with Lacey, who's a good friend of mine, it was a lot of fun that way. She's amazing...just great. A number of years ago, I played more the villains and even in Unreal, I played this kind of comedic villainous character. That was a lot of fun! The thing with Hallmark that's really great too is they've always been kind and open to giving me a lot of really diverse roles. So I just try to make every one real and authentic.
It's been enjoyable to play so many roles; whether it's the good guy, bad guy, love interest, comedy, or whatever.

Mercy: What, in your opinion, makes a good scene partner?
Brennan: Somebody who listens, is open, and reacts organically to what's happening in the moment.  Any scene partner who can react to what you're giving them and react honestly, doing no less and no more than what they feel moment to moment. I think that's a partner you just connect with and go wherever the scene takes you. Those are really enjoyable.


Mercy: What actors have influenced your own acting?
Brennan: Well, I grew up enjoying De Niro, Pacino, Daniel Day Lewis, Marlon Brando, and James Dean; all those old method actors.  They are who I grew up watching and admiring, kind of mesmerized by the authenticity of some of their performances and just the depth and personableness of them.  As I've grown older, I've realized there are things about that that are needed and things that aren't needed. I've also learned a lot from actors that are very present in the moment and fly with what's happening in the scene, as did all those other actors I mentioned. I mean, there are so many great actors there. But I think now I just try to focus on making my performances as honest, simple, human, and real as possible and not worry what anyone else is doing.  I've realized as I've gotten older that I'm me, and I can't be anybody else but myself.

Mercy: What would you do if you couldn't act?
Brennan: Oh, I would hate to think it because I don't know what I would do.  I've been very lucky and blessed to find something that I love to do, that I enjoy doing.  I do enjoy the executive producing and the creative element. I love all that part of putting the project together, but acting has always been the passion and if I didn't have that, I don't know.  I'm not a book-smart cat at all, so I don't know if I'd be a lawyer or an engineer.  I need to be free, I can't be at a desk from 9-5.  I don't
know, I think I got lucky enough to find something that's me.

Mercy: If you got the chance to choose, who would be your dream cast/crew for a movie?
Brennan: Oh man, I'd have to think about that. When I was a kid, my dream would've been to work with Pacino or De Niro, that would be amazing. But just working with people that I admire, and respect, and enjoy watching.  There are so many out there that are just great actors. Tom Hanks has always been a favorite of mine, that would be pretty rad. I love Tom Hanks! But like I said, I'm lucky enough to get a chance to work with some really great people. I've gotten to collaborate with Lacey on a lot of projects, and that's been wonderful. I've worked with a lot of leading ladies with Hallmark that have been amazing.  Even when I shot Unreal, Shiri Appleby and Constance Zimmer are incredible actresses! Fantasy-wise, Tom Hanks...I can't say for sure though because there are so many out there that would be so rad!

Mercy: What is a piece of advice you'd give an aspiring actor?
Brennan: To train, to be patient, and to always try and come to terms with accepting and loving themselves for who they are. Because no one is like you. Always trust your instincts and trust yourself. That's something I've had to learn over the past 20-something years of doing this, is trust that my impulses and instincts are enough and that I don't need to work as hard on certain things when I know they're already there. I can trust that they are already happening. As soon as I read a script, I'm already being affected by the material and choices; feelings and experiences are already coming that will inevitably end up being used in my work. But when I was a younger actor, I needed to be perfect. The need to please others - I don't think that's the way to go about it. To be simple, just to trust that you're enough, I think.

Mercy: What was your favorite part of filming the Crossword Mysteries: A Puzzle To Die For?
Brennan: Just shooting scenes with Lacey. I mean, Lacey and I have become, through all of the All of My Hearts to the Crosswords to Christmas Melody, we've become very, very close friends and we enjoy working together! We get along on and off camera and I think any scene her and I were in, she's just a supportive artist.  I feel really safe with her and she's very open, and listens, and just reacts in the moment, and we just go with each other. We don't conceptually have a result, an endgame; we're just in the moment together and the lines come from there. It makes things simple and honest and real. Anything with her is awesome, she's wonderful!

Mercy: So did you both get to decide that you'd be opposite each other in the Crossword Mysteries, or was it just random?
Brennan: Well, I think when I was asked, she had already been approached to do a mystery series. So I think she was already kind of on board. I was doing Unreal up in Vancouver, and had ran into some of the people at Hallmark and Brad Kevoy (who's one of our execs) came over to me with Michelle Vicary and Bill Abbott, just discussing the framework of the show. I thought it sounded extremely interesting. And I didn't know that Lacey was cast, but I said, "Yeah, I'd love to take a look at that. It sounds interesting. I'd love to be a part of that." And then not even a week or so later, I was told that Lacey wanted to be a part of it as well. I don't know which one of us was actually asked first, but her being in it was just icing on the cake!

Mercy: Someone asked if you'd being interested in doing a musical/singing role for a Hallmark movie in the future?
Brennan: I have sang in a couple of projects before. Obviously not my forte, but I have done some musical theater and it's not something I've kept up with. But, of course, I would if I had to. It would depend on the role, if the project was something I was interested in. I'll play anything as long as I can sing or play it well enough :). I mean, there are friends of mine that are singers; that's what they do. And I've never once tried to believe-- always be good at what you do, but don't act like you're good at something you're maybe not as good at! You know what I mean? I can sing, and I can dance a little bit, and I have rhythm. I've done it off Broadway or in plays, I got the chance to sing a little bit in Christmas Melody and learned a little guitar for that. But I'm not by any means Jimmy Hendricks or even a singer by that nature. So yeah, if I'm asked and it's interesting, of course, absolutely, don't be afraid of anything! It's not my forte but I've done it before and I'd do it again.

Mercy: I think someone brought up that Hallmark should just do a musical because they have so many actors and actresses that work for them that are musically talented.
Brennan: Yeah, there are so many! There are friends of mine that are actors now that came from music and vice versa, right? I came into it just acting with a little musical theater, but there are people who that is their forte. Some of the projects I've done where I sing or play music, I've gotten coaching, talked to people, and worked with people that have taught me how to play an instrument or play a certain song. It's always fun to do that for sure!

Mercy: And lastly, do you have any other upcoming projects you can share about?
Brennan: There are two of them I can't share at this point, I have to kind of wait and see if they come to fruition. They're pretty close. Lots and lots of Crossword Mysteries!


I'll have a few other Hallmark movies, whether it's Christmas or other movies because I just love working with them!  I have a couple series ideas that I've been tossing around as well that are gaining some heat. I'm always going to be very, very busy. I've just tried to enjoy the last couple of months with my family - my wife and our kids.  I'm so rarely home, so it's been nice to spend a number of weeks just being Brennan the dad. But I have a lot going on, and you'll definitely be one of the first to know when it gets to fruition.


Brennan, thank you for doing this.  As always, it was a pleasure talking to you.  Readers, thank you all for taking the time to read this.  I hope you'll all tune in to the Hallmark Channel to watch the Crossword Mysteries: A Puzzle To Die For, but even more so I hope you enjoyed learning more about this talented actor. I've said it before and I'm sure it won't be the last time I say this, but Brennan is without a doubt one of the most humble, gifted and accomplished actors I've had the chance to interview.

 If you don't already, please click through the links below and follow Brennan on social media.

Brennan's Twitter
Brennan's Instagram

Thanks again for reading!
~Mercy
https://twitter.com/MercyRLyman


Comments

  1. Wonderful interview with Brennan Elliott! I so enjoyed reading this - as much as I love all of Brennan's Hallmark movies! He is such an engaging, friendly person - with all of his fans... I think that is also another key factor to drawing the audience in!

    I wish Brennan & Lacey all the best with the Crossword Mystery series of films! Can't wait to see the 1st in March!

    Again - Thank you for sharing this fantastic interview!
    Blessings, Net

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    1. Thank you so much! Completely agree with what you said. :)

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  2. I'm sure that I don't have to say it again, but I shall. Brennan Elliott is my favorite actor ever!

    Your interview just proved why. He is comfortable in his own skin. He is genuine and honest, and humble. He becomes whatever movie character he is given and I am just mesmerized by his characters. But the bottom line is that he is also Brennan Elliott, loving husband and father.

    He deserves all the adulation and praise he receives, and he he receives it with a humble heart.

    Mercy, this was an outstanding interview with Brennan Elliott. Kudos to you. Thank you!

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    1. Awww, thank you so much for reading Ann! I know how much you love Brennan so it means a LOT that you loved my interview with him!!

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