NEW! Steven Brand ('Echoes')
'Echoes: From Beyond'
You may not know Steven Brand's name, per say, but you'll know his face, that's for sure. With a long, long line of both TV and film acting behind him, the Scottish actor actually made his "Hollywood debut" in Universal's 'The Scorpion King' as Memnon; the evil warlord and nemesis of Mathayus, played by The Rock.
Before that he has appeared, in England, primarily, in such TV shows as The Darling Buds of May, Casualty, Taggart, The Bill, Heartbeat, Doctors, and so many more. Following the success of his debut movie in the US, Brand’s work has included the HBO series The Mind of the Married Man, Stephen King's The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer, TV shows such as CSI, Human Target, Covert Affairs, and more recently the movies, 'Treasure Raiders' with David Carradine, 'Say It in Russian' with Faye Dunaway, 'XII,' and ABC's hit TV show Secrets And Lies.
Anime fans also know him as the voice of Alexander Anderson from the anime and OVA of Hellsing, as well as the voice of Richard Hellsing in the OVA.
Now starring in the psychological thriller 'Echoes,' Brand plays Paul Wagner, a literary agent to Anna Parker (Kate French), herself struggling with horrifying, sleep-paralysis induced visions. Delayed in re-writing the latest draft of her screenplay, the young writer retreats with her boyfriend (the aforementioned Wagner) to an isolated desert house. As the visions intensify, she finds herself on the verge of losing her mind ... or uncovering a life-threatening secret.
I recently caught up with the man himself, Steven Brand to discuss his role in 'Echoes,' along with his role as Dr. Joseph Richardson / Joseph Turner in ABC's Secrets And Lies.
In truth, ‘Echoes’ was not what I was expecting. Not exactly fast out of the gates when it comes to the real core of the plot, it’s true to life subject matter of sleep paralysis induced visions for Anna sure does make the whole thing a hell of a lot more frightening though! "Yeah, it does, because it deals with something that freaks people out, which is that line that separates perception of reality from dreams and nightmares. We've all had those dreams, I'm sure, where we wake up and you have that moment where you don't actually know if what you dreamt was real or not. And so Echoes deals with that line between reality and imagination."
Had you heard of these sleep paralysis induced visions before filming, perhaps? "I'd heard of it, but only in passing really. I didn't know anything about it until I started the film. Nils Timm, who wrote and directed the film, he's had a mini experience of it himself, with regard insomnia and lucid dreams. The funny thing is that the make-up artist on the film had actually suffered from sleep paralysis herself. So, apart from her, I'd never met anybody who had suffered from it themselves, no."
My goodness, sleep paralysis, in itself, is one of the most terrifying real-life ailments that I'd never heard of until this movie came out! "It actually turns out to not be as uncommon as we might think. It's harrowing stuff, to say the least. I was watching something the other day where there was a scene of sleep paralysis and I wonder why it's not been done before in movies. It's rich, the material, for all sorts of crazy stuff. Our film deals with it in a very direct and immediate kind of way. It deals with the issue of the condition and how it can cause enormous confusion."
I’m sure you turn down more roles than you accept, so why did the script for ‘Echoes’ stand out for you? "I met with Nils Timm, the director, and we got on really well. He came to me through a mutual friend and he'd been looking for somebody to play the role and he'd been told about me. So he came fully armed with a pitch that was almost too irresistible. Also, the subject matter is really juicy and the idea of shooting out in the desert in this beautiful house, just seemed too good to be true. It's rare that you come across a script that is as interesting as this. There are a lot of scripts and a lot of them just don't stretch you as an actor, and never really take you to places where you're wondering what's going on yourself; as a performer. So Echoes served that purpose to me. It was challenging for me about a subject that I didn't know anything about and it was also an opportunity to get stuck into something really quite provocative."
Filmed on location in the hot and dusty region of Joshua Tree, which I always thought was just a U2 album title, what were some of the highs and lows of filming there? "Well, we shot it at a pretty good time of the year, because it was before the real summer hit. But it was actually quite cool out there. We were stuck out there in the middle of nowhere, which was a little uncomfortable at times, but you're not in complete isolation. You're surrounded by places like Pioneertown and other little towns, so it wasn't as uncomfortable as it might have seemed."
As we’re not called Exclusive Magazine for nothing, please reveal a behind-the-scenes secret about the filming of ‘Echoes’ that you haven’t discussed in other interviews, hopefully! "I think the only thing that I've never talked about was the time when the dog got sick! The dog belonged to the producer, Aaron Harvey, and by the way, this dog was the most brilliant actor that you could wish for. He was obedient, hit his marks every time, and was just fantastic. A true professional in his first movie. So, it was pretty hot out there and the dog's running around and one day he just didn't really want to wake up. He wasn't dead, or anything like that. He was just very lethargic and so everybody got concerned. So Aaron quickly took him to the vet and it turned out the dog had some form of heat stroke. So having been re-hydrated and kept indoors for a day, he came back fully revitalized, full of beans, and treading the boards, as they say," he laughs.
Was that a real glass house or one built specifically for the movie? "It's a real glass house and it existed before we arrived. It came to us through a friend of the director, who had built it for himself out there in the desert, and he very kindly let us have it for the project."
It seems, throughout the movie, to stay very clean - dust free, shall we say! "I honestly don't think there was that much of a dust problem, because they didn't spend the whole time cleaning the windows and stuff," he laughs. "Around about four o'clock it gets really windy, because the sun starts to go down, the temperature changes, so the wind starts to pick up. And I think the basic dynamic is: the wind blows, the dust arrives, and it just flies off again!"
‘Echoes’ had you nominated at FilmQuest Cthulhu as Best Supporting Actor, even though you were one of the leads! The event is mid-June so: Did you know about this honor, Will you be attending, and Have you seen this incredible Cthulhu award [look right!] in all its glory yet?! "The answer to all of those questions is no! I didn't know I'd been nominated, and because I didn't know I'd been nominated I'm not going. That's not to say that I'd refuse to go if I was invited, but I didn't know I was nominated. So I hadn't been invited, as we stand now."
You also now appear on ABC’s new show ‘Secrets & Lies’ as Dr. Joseph Richardson / Joseph Turner in a four episode arc, so tell us more about that role - and as I have yet to binge watch it, will you and the beard be back for Season 2? "The premise of Secrets And Lies is that it covers a single case and the subject of the investigation in this season's case is Ryan Phillippe's character, Ben. He's the one who's the prime suspect, if you like, that Juliette Lewis' character is investigating. He's under the spotlight, she thinks that he did it, so he then has to go out and find the evidence that shows he didn't do it! And part of that process is to find out who did do it. So, at the end of the season, you find out who did do it, and next season will be a completely different case. And if ABC do another season, the only continuing actor will be Juliette Lewis."
So, as we're talking here today, for all I know, YOU could be the killer!! "I could well be, but I'm not gonna tell you anything."
I have a sneaking suspicion that you ARE the killer!! "My lips are sealed," he laughs.
On Twitter you claimed, “We’re keeping dodgy secrets and telling all sorts of lies on Sunday” when you were talking about ‘Secrets & Lies’! So, please do tell us something in the show to look out for! "I can't really tell you to look out for anything, honestly. The show's about his need to clear himself which also means he's finding out about everybody in his own neighborhood. The show's basic premise is that everybody has their secrets - and everybody's telling lies to cover up their secrets!"
You also posted a photo - back in August of last year - of you taking a break from filming ‘Secrets & Lies’ where you were “keeping cool” by shoving some air conditioning pipes up your shirt! "Yeah, well, it was absolutely baking hot! North Carolina is constantly hot and humid and I was basically just standing there in that drive way outside that garage, dripping with sweat! So I thought, Oh look. Air conditioning hoses. I'll stick one of those down my shirt. That'll cool me off! And it also made for a very amusing photo."
I have to say you remind me a LOT (in looks) of the British actor Sean Pertwee! Have you heard that before, perhaps?! "I've been told I look like a number of people, but yes, I've actually been mistaken for Sean a number of times."
What can we look forward to seeing you in next? "I'm recurring on a show called Teen Wolf. I play a character called Dr. Valack who is a scientist with some strange habits. He was introduced in the last couple of episode of season four and we've just started season five and I've done a couple of episodes so far. There's going to be more to come. He's an interesting person - a multifaceted character."
Finally, as we here at Exclusive Magazine LOVE penguins (the birds), we’d like to know if you do also - and if you had a personal story about one, perhaps? "I do like penguins and I find them quite charming, but my favorite thing about penguins is the joke about them: This guy walks into a pub and says to the bar man, "Excuse me, but I've lost my penguin and I was wondering by any chance, have you seen him? Has he been in recently?" And the bar man thinks for a little while and then says, "I don't know, what does he look like?""
Interviewed by: Russell A. Trunk
Official 'Echoes' Movie Trailer
If you would like to win an AUTOGRAPHED 'Echoes' Blu ray from star Steven Brand himself (and, possibly co-star Kate French also!), just answer this question about the film, 'Echoes': What does it say on Anna's tshirt as the film opens?
Send us your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win an AUTOGRAPHED 'Echoes' Blu ray (from one or both lead actors)! Just send us an e:mail here before August 1st with your answer and the subject title CONTEST: SIGNED ECHOES BLU RAYs to: email@example.com
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