Interview With Brendan Meyer
Interviewed By: Elisheva
Transcription By: Amanda
Name: Brendan Meyer
Official Site: http://brendanmeyer.com
Hey. How are you?
Hey, how's it going?
Good, and you?
Very well. (Inaudible.) Right now, I'm rehearsing for an episode [of Mr. Young].
Nice. How's filming going?
It's going really well. We just had a week hiatus, and right now we're working on episode 15 of season two.
That's exciting. How did you feel when it got picked up for a second season?
Well, I'd never been on anything that had been picked up for a second season before, so it's exciting to be able to go back and play a character again after a period of time. (Inaudible.) It's just really satisfying and really fun.
Awesome. For those who don't know, can you tell us a little about Mr. Young and your character Adam?
Yeah. The show is about a fourteen-year-old genius who has already graduated university and, instead of going off and taking a job at NASA, or some other job, he decides that he's going to go back and teach Grade 9 high school so that he can have the high school experience he never had. He sped through high school and university, so he really wants to go back and have that experience. So, it's kind of a really funny predicament, because here is at fourteen teaching a science class, and he's the same age as his students. He has friends in the class, and the girl he likes is in the class, and the class bully can bully him effectively, so he's stuck between these two worlds of being a kid on the kid level, and also of having to deal with the principal and other teachers and stuff and being a teacher.
What's it like playing Adam? I know it's probably hard to relate to him. I don't know if you're a child prodigy who went to university at age nine, but what's it like playing him?
It's really fun to play him. The thing is, I'm not a genius at all, and I'm not nearly into science and math as him, but one thing that I've noticed is a little parallel between him and I. Being an actor on a TV show is a lot like his predicament. It's not quite as exaggerated and difficult, but in being a lead character on a TV show, you're dealing with an adult job. You have to know your lines and put in lots of days and lots of hours. At the same time, you're still a kid and you're still dealing with being a kid and all those things along with this adult full time job. I've found that's the best way I can relate to him.
It's really interesting that you said that, because I was also thinking how do you think it could be a metaphor for high school kids, kids who are in high school right now possibly?
Oh, absolutely. In anything, in this world, if you're a kid, you don't really have a choice. You're going to be dealing with all of those issues and liking a girl, and having a best buddy, and having a bully or someone you don't like. And all of those things are prevalent, but at the same time, that's what we have as our base, and on top of that, we all have other things we have to work on. Ultimately, I think it's a character everyone can relate to because everyone has that struggle of dealing with being a kid and trying to grow up and mature. I think that Adam's a good role model because he embraces it with a lot of positivity and commitment, and really just tries to be the best he can be. So, I think that's one of the more interesting elements of the show, for sure.
What are your thoughts on how Adam's dealing with the situation? I mean, I know we haven't seen season two yet, obviously, but just from what we know so far, what are your thoughts on that?
So far he's really using his time to find his depth. I think the character of Adam has a lot of natural confidence and he's very stern, but he's really just trying to do his best. (Inaudible.) It's funny because in the show Adam is one of the most normal characters, and he's surrounded by all of these fun, zany people. He's really had to figure out how to deal with each of them, and deal with the bully, and deal with the principal. I think the biggest thing with him, the way he's dealing with it, is that he's taking it all in stride, and he's trying he's best to stay positive and be the best person he can be.
It's kind of ironic, because you just mentioned that he's the only normal character, even though he's the one that stands out the most.
Yeah, exactly. That's a common thing. I've talked about this a lot. It's a common thing with sitcoms, that the central person is the one that stands out. And the Mr. Young on Mr. Young is kind of the central hub of the show, and a lot of the people surrounding him, those are the zany people. So, the most normal person is the center; that's what grounds the comedy at times. You always have to have a straight man, and that goes back to all comedy pieces, The Three Stooges, Abbot and Costello, and all those.
Yeah, exactly. Now, did you go to high school?
No. I was homeschooled my entire life, before I was even interested in acting, so I always did school at home. I've never gone to a regular high school.
What was going through your head then the first time you went on the high school set?
It was interesting. It was different for me, having not been in that setting, and then playing a teacher, I had to base a lot of my acting in the class on teachers I'd seen on TV and stuff. So it was interesting. I mean, I'd been in classrooms before, but a lot of the persona of Adam, because the theme of Adam's teaching occurs throughout the whole show, has a lot of the presentational air of the teachers on TV.
Do you think that not having gone to high school acted as a disadvantage for you?
No, not really. Because I feel like I – I mean, I'm still doing high school, I'm still doing the school aspect of it. But the actual act of going to high school? No. I mean, I think I've seen enough stuff, and I think that the character of Adam rings true, despite myself not having a real life teacher to draw on. I understand what it's like to give a lecture or to give a presentation, because that's the same thing as being a teacher. I think the performance rings true.
What's your favorite subject? Do you share Adam's love for science?
I do. It's not my all time favorite subject, but I definitely enjoy it as well.
When the show first aired in Canada, did you ever think it would get this big, that it would be picked up by Disney XD?
You never know what to expect. That certainly wasn't anything that I thought was for sure or anything. I know that they hoped it would. But you never know what's going to come of it. I kind of knew when we started doing the show, and I think the whole cast knew once we were seven episodes in that we were doing something really good. Because you never know when you go into a show, you never know how the writing's going to be, how the other actors are going to be. And it was early on that we were all like, “wow, we're on a really good show.” (Inaudible.) At the start I never expected it, but now doing the show for a while, we just feel like the show is good, so I'm happy that we're going to get that exposure, because that doesn't happen to all Canadian shows. And it's great for a wider audience to see it because I think the show's really funny.
For sure. And you are from Canada, so how did you feel knowing that your show was going to air outside of where you're from?
You know, it's so great. It's great anytime you do anything to expand to a wider audience. Because first and foremost, the reason why you do a show is so that the audience will appreciate it, so that the audience likes it, it makes people laugh. So the fact that now it gets to go international and on Disney, it's fantastic. (Inaudible.) I hope it makes them laugh, and it goes over well.
What were your first thoughts about the show when you were originally introduced to it?
Oh, I thought it was a really, really cool premise, and I thought it was really funny, really great, with great people behind it. (Inaudible.) Those guys have a lot of experience. It was exciting. I had high hopes for the show, and I never could have imagined – I mean, I think it's blossomed into a really great show, and it's had a lot of success. You never know going into something. You never have everybody going, “okay, these shows are going to be big, the writing's going to be great, and we're going to get on Disney.” But it's great that it has, and it's a show that's worthy of the pick up.
Now it started airing on Disney XD a couple months ago, so what has the response been like so far?
So far, we've heard that the response to the show has been really, really great, and we're actually airing on the regular Disney channel, they're giving us a sample airing.
Yeah, I just found out today. So, I mean, it did really well. We're still going to be on XD mainly for now, but, yeah, I think we're actually airing three episodes on the weekend on the regular Disney Channel, so that's good.
So you might be getting some calls from people over the weekend saying, “hey, you're on TV.”
I've got a couple of those actually because I've got a couple of friends down in LA. (Inaudible.) I mean, I've gotten a couple where “hey, I've seen your commercial on XD” and stuff. It's funny because we're so far removed from that. It's getting a lot of press there, which is great.
Well, good luck with that. I hope it does well on Disney.
Yeah, thank you. Thank you. Fingers crossed.
Mine are crossed too. So, the show is filmed in front of a live studio audience, which is not something you see often anymore. How did you guys decide to do that? Whose decision was it?
That would be the people in charge, the producers and stuff. And I think a lot of shows like ours, on the Disney Channel, are shot in front of a live audience. Shows like (inaudible) on networks that are comedies are shot this way. Really, we're multicamera, I think there haven't been a lot of multicamera shows that are sitcoms in a while in Vancouver at all, let alone in front of an audience. So, I think they wanted to go all out like Disney in America. That was the decision. They wanted to do it like the old sitcoms, like Golden Girls and Cheers.
As an actor, how do you feel about it? Do you prefer live audiences?
It's wonderful. I've come from theater; I've done a lot of theater in my career. I love having the audience there, and the buzz of having a live crowd. Having that is just great because the whole purpose is to entertain. And with the live audience, there's still a good pace, we still adjust things, (inaudible). But we have this live buzz and this real time laughter and reactions that only feeds to let us see what's working and what isn't, and also to give us that little boost of energy and excitement. It's really the best of both worlds.
Have you ever gotten any crazy dedicated fans in the audience so far?
Yeah, no. We've had a few people who've come so frequently, they've gotten into double digits for how many times they've come to the show. We're constantly getting new people, but we definitely have a few people who are regular people who come almost every week.
What's the craziest fan story you've had in the audience?
In the audience? We once had these two girls come in these shirts that said “Mr. Young,” and on the back, they said “Watch It” at this time. Those girls were such big fans that they printed out their own shirts and walked around school promoting the show. So that was like, wow, really crazy, because it's so good to see people who are reacting that passionately to the show. It's really great.
Definitely. Have you gotten the same kind of response outside?
Yeah. Yeah, I've gotten quite a bit of communication through my website with fanmail, and I've gotten some great responses on twitter. I think people have been responding really well to the show, and we've gotten quite a few people who have been like, “oh we really enjoy the show.” Like I was saying before, you do it for the audience, and the fact that they're enjoying it is great, it's awesome.
For sure. Speaking of your fans, let's ask some questions now about you. What do you like to do when you're not filming?
Well, one thing I like to do when I'm not filming is I love to watch movies. (Laughing.) That's one of my favorite things to do. But outside of the industry, I'm kind of a normal guy. I just kind of go out, walk my dog, play tennis with my brother, play video games. I just do normal things and go to work. That's what I do. My main hobby is really, I really love the business, it's all I want to do, so my main hobby outside of the show is that I love to watch movies, and act.
Does it ever get surreal for you, that one minute you're walking the dog, and the next you're walking onto set to film your show?
Yeah. Yeah, it's a weird thing, and you definitely have those surreal moments. Like with anything, eventually it starts to become commonplace, but every now and then, you get that thing where, “wow, I'm really lucky that I get to do what I love to do.” (Inaudible.) For a year now, I've had steady work as an actor, so it's really great. I couldn't ask for anything more.
You mentioned your love for movies, so what's your favorite movie of all time?
I have a couple. I love Christopher Nolan movies, like Dark Knight. I think my favorite of his is definitely Memento. That's a favorite for sure, and I like The Dark Knight. I really like Casablanca, an old classic. I really love that one, with Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. Those are my favorites, but I think my all time favorite is Memento, but I like stuff like The Dark Knight and Casablanca as well.
Nice. If you could work with anyone in the industry, it could be a producer, director, actor, actress, who would it be?
One of my all time favorite actors is Leonardo Dicaprio, so for me to work with Leonardo Dicaprio, that would be one of the coolest things. Just to do a scene with him would be amazing.
That would be really cool. And you also did a movie with Chris Pine and Reese Witherspoon, I believe.
Yeah. I had a small role in This Means War with Chris Pine, Reese Witherspoon, and Tom Hardy.I really like Tom Hardy too. (Inaudible.) That was a really fun experience. For the film I met Chris Pine and Tom Hardy, so that was really good experience, and really fun. I just hope my part doesn't get cut.
Did you get starstruck at all?
A little bit. I mean, I usually get starstruck before, and when I meet them, I try to keep it in check.
Kind of get it all out, and then go up to them?
So, you just started filming season two, so what can fans expect from the new episodes? I guess it's not just since you said you filmed the fifteenth episode.
No, we're about halfway through now with shooting, and what I can promise from these next episodes is that they just keep getting better. Bigger sight gags, we pull some bigger pranks, and we have some of our guest stars who return. I mean, I don't want to say too much about plot points, but everything keeps building. And the thing is, when you see different characters interact with each other, like there's Echo and Byrne, we really get to see more of everybody, and different sides, and different gags, and everything just develops more.
Cool. And when are they going to air?
I don't know the airing schedule. I know right now Disney XD's airing a new episode every couple weeks, so I wouldn't know that.
They're still on the first season though, right?
Yep, they're still on the first season, so I don't know. Both Canada and America are still airing the first season, so I don't know when the second season will air.
Alright, cool. You have a couple of other projects coming up, so besides that and the show, what can we expect from you in the future?
Well, I've got a couple things... I just did an episode of The Haunting Hour with Joel Courtney of Super 8, which just aired a couple of weeks ago, and it was, I think, the highest rated episode of The Haunting Hour, so that was really cool. And then maybe my part in This Means War, like I said if it's still in there. I've got a couple things on the horizon maybe, but nothing firm yet. Maybe season three of Mr. Young (knock on wood), but who knows? I don't have anything that's really concrete, but I've got a couple of things, so we'll see what happens.
Where do you hope to go with your career in the future?
I don't know. I mean, I want to continue as an actor. I want to do TV, maybe do features, and all that stuff. Bottom line, I just love to work as an actor and be able to, I mean the goal is to get to the point one day where you can choose your own work, be like a Dicaprio where you get to pick which directors you want to work with. I mean, that would be the ultimate kind of path for me for my career, be in a position where I get to choose my work.
Definitely. It's so rewarding.
Yeah, that would be great.
Awesome. Well, fingers crossed for This Means War, that they keep your part. And fingers crossed for season three. It was so great talking to you. Thank you so much.
Yeah, no, thank you. It was great. Thank you.