Interview With Brennan Elliott | Crossword Mysteries - "The Fans Are In For A Real Treat"

Over the past year and a half I've had the absolute pleasure of getting to interview Brennan Elliott multiple times. I always get off of the phone amazed at how humble, talented, kind and thoughtful this actor is.  How much you all love him is no secret, so I'm not going to bore you with a really long introduction ;)

Let's get started, shall we?



Mercy: Can you share a little bit of what you've been up to since we last chatted?
Brennan: Yes! I went off and did a movie called All Summer Long which was a summer movie with Autumn Reeser and then I went right from there to Toronto and shot back to back Crossword Mysteries which we're excited about - in the new ones I'm not so much a rookie detective, we're maturing, our relationship is growing. Her (Lacey) and I are collaborating a lot more.  It's really just evolving, its a lot of fun, and I think the fans are in for a real treat.

Mercy: What can you share with us about those two upcoming Crossword Mysteries?
Brennan: Well the first one, which is number two of our installment is called Crossword Mysteries: Proposing Murder and that airs this Sunday on the 13th of October and then the next one is the next weekend which is my favorite out of the three we've done so far - That's called Crossword Mysteries: Abracadaver and that again, will air the following Sunday October 20th. They're a continuation with new cases, lots of fun and mystery, banter and romance and of course action. All that stuff that makes these kind of mystery series really fun to watch and entertaining.

Photography: courtesy of Hallmark Channel/Crown Media


Mercy: Are there any fun behind-the-scenes stories you can share from on set of Crossword Mysteries?
Brennan: Its always lots of fun! Lacey and I, we just laugh a lot. Which, once you rein us in and get us focused and past the laughter... we just have a good time on and off film!  One of the fun, well I guess not fun since it was kind of annoying, but in North Bay in June/July, the Summer months there's these things called Shad flies which are about three inches long and they smell like rotting fish from the ocean. They basically come out of the ground from the ocean and they come out to pro-create and as soon as they pro-create they die within 24 hours. Its a very weird cycle of life for that type of species *laughs* but there was billions of them all over the place- on the grounds, on the hotel, outside... There was just so many of them that we had scenes that we couldn't shoot outside 'cause there were just so many Shad flies.  That was kind of interesting. One of the elements that you've got to deal with but I mean, its always a lot of fun for sure.

Mercy: What is your favorite thing to do on-set when you have free time?
Brennan: Probably sleep, *laughs* probably just lay in the trailer and have a bit of quiet time. That, and the town we were shooting in called North Bay- there was this place there called Good To Go which is a very health food conscious restaurant, a lot of great food there. They had these gluten-free banana muffins. I usually don't eat muffins period, but I had one of those, so did Lacey, and some other people on the show. And its like one of the greatest things you could put in your mouth, so everybody on their breaks would be going to Good To Go to get one of these muffins. *laughs*


Photography: courtesy of Hallmark Channel/Crown Media

Mercy: What is your favorite part of executive producing?
Brennan: This is my seventh film that I've executive produced for Hallmark and I just enjoy being able to collaborate on the whole process; from script notes, to ideas for the script, to outlines, to casting,  to certain shots we're shooting, to whats working and whats not, budgetary elements, how much time are we going over budget; as far as overtime.  Just a lot of things that -  I just enjoy the whole process. It makes you feel as an actor more involved in the whole process so that when the movie does air it has a lot of your handprints on it and it feels like you're more a part of the collaborative process, not only with the director, producer, and executive producers but with the crew, and the network. Kim, Lacey and I take it very personally that ya' know a lot of these people that are working on our shows, specifically Crossword (even the All Of My Heart) they're relying on us to deliver our A-game so they can deliver a really good product because they all want to keep their jobs too and have it continue. So I take pride in the fact that we have a lot of crew members with families who love the Hallmark Channel and want to work on the Hallmark product. We want the opportunity to do as many of these as they'll bless us with.
Being a part of the whole thing makes it feel like -  you're giving your creative ideas whether its things that work or don't work - it just makes you feel more a part of something as opposed to just "a piece". Does that make any sense? I don't know if that makes sense.
Mercy: Yes, absolutely!

Mercy: Why do you think Hallmark movies appeal so much to so many people?
Brennan: While I know the cliche thing to say is that it's positive entertainment and people can escape, but I think as cliche as that sounds its truly valid.  I think that the quality programing that the Hallmark brand creates and all the content that they put out there has all the elements that a lot of programs don't. It has romance, feel-good family stories, and it has emotion, joy, pain, and sadness - everything you need in an emotional spectrum for a couple hours. They know their audience, they know what their audience likes and they really, really listen to their audience and try to create content that appeals to their audience. I think thats why they've grown so much over the last 7-8-9-10 years-and are such a staple for family viewing. And in my opinion the greatest family viewing in the world.  Because people really want to escape to a fantasy worl-- or not a fantasy world because everything is grounded in reality, but they want to escape to a world that maybe, makes them feel good, or instructs them on things about life, makes them feel better about themselves, or instructs them about something. There's a lot of those elements that the audience - I think Hallmark fans are incredibly intelligent, they either like it or they don't and they'll let you know. I think that the network has been listening over the years to what their demands are and takes a lot of pride in trying to deliver it to them.


Photography: courtesy of Hallmark Channel/Crown Media

Mercy: What is the most rewarding part of being an actor?
Brennan: There's many things but I think knowing that - I remember I got a letter from a fan who's wife was also a huge fan and she was very, very ill in the hospital and was not going to live much longer. She had asked (I don't want to get into specifics because its private) her husband to get her all of the Brennan Elliott Hallmark movies and so she sat there in the hospital and watched all the Hallmark movies, and obviously some other stuff that I had done as well. It made her feel better and I guess she recovered a lot better then the doctors had thought and that brought a tear to my eye, it made me feel like something I'm doing made someone feel something positive. Touching someone's life in some way whether its a comedy, or romance, or mystery movie or whatever.
It just shows that the hard work you put in to make something real, honest, fun, and alive - whether its the character or the film, that it touches someone's life enough that in their time of need they really put forth that they need some more of whatever you're here to offer. It makes me feel very honored when those things happen.

Mercy: What is one thing that you'd like to be remember for?
Brennan: I think just that I lived a good life, that I was a good man and ya' know touched people's lives. You have people that are doctors, pastors, mothers etc. Whatever your job is in life, when you know that you've made your mark and touched someones life whether you're an artist, in the finance sector, a stay at home mother, or whatever, that its really rewarding to know that you touched someones life. A good father, a good husband, a good, God-fearing man and somebody who creates acting that-- one of the things I adore about a lot of the fans is that its nice to see that they watch so many of the different movies that I've done, so many different roles and they believe that they're all real - obviously it's all me, but they're just such diverse characters and I try to create real human beings that are 3 dimensional, much like you or me or anybody else but they obviously have their difference and to see people say they believe your performances and they're such diverse color of roles... Thats pretty cool!

Mercy: What is the hardest character that you've ever had to portray?
Brennan: Oh man, these questions are hard! I'm not going to lie, I'm not just saying this because Crossword is about to come out I really think one of them is Detective Logan. Playing him is tough for a myriad of reasons.  1. A detective, lawyer, doctor - there's so much education and so much history that goes into molding the people that are in those jobs. You can't make those fake. I mean, I'm not going to play a homicide detective for 25 years just to play a homicide detective who has been a homicide detective for 25 years but I've got to find something that I can parallel that can make me experience the same sort of life that I've gone through that can make it real.  There's so much dialogue and research, the cases are complex and there's so many nuances to detectives and what they have to do. When I was researching and talking to Detective Newton over at the Glendale Detective Agency there was a lot of specifics, history, and training, and a lot of stuff that you've got to do when you're doing a case to make it believable but they are also human beings who have insecurities, fears, joys, loves, and demons just like the rest of us. So playing the role itself and also the human itself has been a challenge but its been really rewarding. I look at every role the same way. Every time I get one I'm scared to death- like, how do I play this guy? *laughs* Then I end up doing it. Playing a detective in my opinion is not easy and maybe thats why I'm saying that one was tough. I mean, playing Warren from Cedar Cove wasn't easy. I remember one of my very first jobs ever was on a show called Strong Medicine that was for the Lifetime Network. I played a doctor and my mom was actually a nurse, that was her career and I remember just being so much more admiring of people in the medical profession. It was tough because of all of the medical jargon. Every role has its difficulties, every role has idiosyncrasies and you make choices that are personal to bring that character to life but they're all difficult for different reasons but so rewarding! The more difficult the role obviously the more rewarding.

Mercy: And now we'll swap to some easier questions *laughs*
Brennan: Oh no, they're fine *laughs*


Photography: courtesy of Hallmark Channel/Crown Media

Mercy: What do you like to do in your free time? Any hobbies?
Brennan: I just really love to be as relaxed as possible when I'm not working. I love to exercise. Love playing with my kids and just being a dad. When I'm not preparing a role, producing a project or being a part of anything artistically, whether its a meeting, audition or shooting or whatever I like to just be Brennan. Be the husband, father.  Just relax and heal myself because an artist's life can be tough, it can be a grind. When you have breaks- enjoy it. I like to go out to dinners, watch movies etc.  Just a pretty simple guy.

Mercy: Any Fall traditions that you and your family have?
Brennan: We cut up pumpkins for the kids, they like to do their own little separate pumpkin for Fall/Halloween. We love to go for walks because its kind of cooling off here in California, not so hot and really, really nice and cool.  We have a cabin that we go to which feels very Fall-esque because the leaves are changing. Its just a beautiful area up North. We just enjoy the seasons changing. The kids maybe get into a costume for Halloween. Not that we really go do the Halloween thing but they're getting to an age where they are learning at school about going door-to-door and getting candies so we're trying to give them that experience like we all had as kids. Its been fun.

Mercy: Lastly any upcoming projects?
Brennan: Yes, there's discussions about a myriad of things but one of the things that is a strong possibility is I might be off in December to Vienna, Austria to work on a project! I won't say anything more than that. And then there's a few other things for next year for sure, well actually more then that, four things for sure that we're going to do but I can't disclose that until we lock it down. Its safe to say that I'm going to be extremely busy here over the next few years for sure

Brennan's Social Media Links-
Twitter
Instagram
IMDB


Photography: courtesy of Hallmark Channel/Crown Media



Comments

  1. I wish Hallmark would do a few more movies surrounding the B&B, with Brennan and Lacey, there is so much more they could do. I loved these and love the two of them working together. Just saying!!

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