Brandon Beemer has come a long way from his humble beginnings as a former driver for the local Coca Cola bottling plant in Eugene, Oregon. The young talented actor has since then made a name for himself in both film and television and currently plays Shawn Brady on NBC’s number-one daytime drama, Days of our Lives. Brandon was kind enough to take some time out of his hectic filming schedule to talk to us at BuddyTV about his young career, Days of our Lives, and his character, Shawn Brady.
Read the full interview transcript and listen to the mp3 audio below.
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So Brandon, maybe you could just start of by just giving us a little bit of background on yourself; how did you end up in LA, in Hollywood?
Well from Eugene, Oregon, I graduated high school, just wanted to see what the world had to offer so I picked up my bag and flew to New York City. I was planing on only staying for a month cause I wasn’t sure if I really had the money to stay longer than a month but things worked out. I ended up staying there for about a year and while I was there, I took some classes, some acting classes and finally I just picked up my bags and said “Okay, I’m gonna take off and go to Los Angeles.” I figured I wanted to be an actor, so the best way to go was Los Angeles so I took off, came out here, didn’t know anybody, got a little apartment and started getting into it and auditioning, taking acting classes and all that good stuff.
So I read that you initially were doing some modeling as well? Is that right?
Yeah, it was kind of just a vehicle to get me out of Eugene, Oregon. It was an opportunity that gave me a place to stay in New York and a bit of way to make a little bit of money so yeah.
But definitely your goal was to get into acting?
Yeah. Pretty much yeah I wanted to see…I think you know being raised in a small town, you don’t really…the opportunity, you know, the possibility of becoming an actor, it’s not something that’s always on your mind, going, oh I’m going to Los Angeles and do this and this and this, because I never really experienced much. I’ve never even left Eugene, Oregon so I just knew that there was something out there for me. I didn’t know what it was, I knew that it was something and I just went to New York hoping to find it and I guess I found it so.
You’ve appeared in a couple of films, you’ve also made some guest appearances on primetime television shows like CSI. Do you prefer any particular medium over the other?
I like film, but television is nice because it’s…if your series regular it’s nice because it’s steady work. You get to build something. You get to build the character. You can take your time and just move the character along with the storyline and it’s nice because it’s just something that you can perfect over the different episodes and different years of being on the show. But I like film. Film is nice. It’s good because you only got one shot at it and you get to take a little bit more time to get it done the way that you want it, it’s nice.
Well given your experience, what would you say the main differences and similarities between primetime television and daytime soaps?
Similarities…you know there aren’t very many similarities, I think. I think that just aside from the fact that they’re both TV shows, and they both have actors and they’re all scripted. Daytime moves a lot quicker, I mean sometimes we have to shoot two to three episodes in a day. The dialogue, it’s a crunch, it’s just moving so much quicker whereas primetime usually they get to take their time and they don’t have to hurry. These shows, budget-wise, it all depends on your budget, but majority of the primetime shows they get to take their time and they don’t shoot nearly as much as we end up shooting so it’s…I don’t know if their that similar it, it’s just completely different beast. It’s hard.
It seems like you’re constantly filming, there’s a ton of scenes; is it pretty stressful?
Oh it’s extremely stressful. Sometimes you can’t even understand how your brain can comprehend that much dialogue and be able to do it, it’s weird, it’s amazing what the brain can do. A lot of people will say I’ll never be able to memorize that much material and that much words. I gotta say, man. I was saying that too and then finally when you gotta do what you gotta do, you got no choice, you just do it.
You’re still early on in your career; do you feel that this is a good practice for you?
Oh I think it’s excellent practice. I can say if you can do this, you can do anything. I had friends of mine who did daytime for probably about six years, and made a little bit less and maybe a little bit more and when they have auditions for primetime or movies or something like that, they’ll pick up that material and they’ve got it memorized, they’ve got it broken down and just boom! Boom! Boom! Just like that. That’s all from the daytime training.
So how exactly did you land your role as Shawn Brady on Days of Our Lives?
I actually got a phone call from a friend of mine whose manager says “Hey, did you see this character they’re casting for Days of Our Lives?” I said “No. I know that character, though.” I called up my manager and said “Hey, did you see that they’re casting this role?” He said “Yeah, I already made a phone call to the casting director and they said that you weren’t right for it.” I said, “How am I not right for it?” I said, “Read it.” He rad it to me “Okay, how am I…we don’t know what the heck they’re talking about.” So he goes “I’ll make another phone call and see what they say.” And he made another phone call and they were still hesitant like “We haven’t seen him in a while. We’ll bring him in and we’ll see.” Then so they brought me in and they gave me some material, they brought me in and they’re still kinda looking at me going “What do you think?” They were asking the…she was asking the lady that works with her and she was like “What do you think?” She’s like “Yeah well I think maybe we could give him the real material. We’ll bring in the producers.” Then I ended up getting the job so I thought it was kinda funny because they weren’t sure, nobody was sure.
So in terms of your future, your career, where do you see yourself in the next couple of years? Do you plan to get more into primetime television, film? Or are you happy where you are right now?
I’m happy where I am right now, I am happy for the time being. I think it’s, like I was saying, a great place to train, to grow, so much to learn in daytime. But you know, I got a four year contract with Days so as long as they’re there and they want me there so I will be there. But I have some outs, I can go out, I can do some movies here and there and a TV show here and there if I could fit it into my schedule I can guest star so in the next couple of years I’d like to see myself doing good on this show, on daytime on Days of Our Lives. But also trying to branch out and do other things when I can. But all in all I hope I would be able to move to film and maybe primetime television.
What’s the fan base like for daytime soaps? Do you get recognized on the streets? Are the fans pretty fanatical?
Yeah it’s weird, the fans are completely different than I think most fans would be. Daytime fans, they’re…a lot of these people, this is their lives, they’ve been watching Days of Our Lives for 41 years and it’s weird cause they’ve…you become part of their life. And me, I haven’t been on for very long but I can’t even imagine what they would do if they saw some of the other cast members, the vets there. They love their day time shows, their soap opera. They love their Days of Our Lives I got to say. A lot of times people like to say it out loud, a lot of times people are looking for somebody but when they do see you, they sit there and they go, “I know that person, where do I know him?” And by that time I walked away and then you see them looking back tapping their friend going, “Hey, that was so and so!” But by that time I’m gone. So otherwise, they’ll just yell out your name, “Shawn Brady, hi!” And I’ll just be like, “Hey, how are you?” And a lot of them like to come up and get their picture taken or get an autograph and all that stuff. It’s fun, it’s fun. It’s nice to affect someone in such a positive way and make their day by them being able to see somebody they watch everyday on TV.
So what’s coming with your character, Shawn Brady?
Well, everything that has happened is kind of coming to…is sort of coming to a little bit of a halt. I’m kind of actually pretty curious as to where they’re going to go with it. I really don’t even know what’s coming up. I think that I’m in the same boat as where the fans are where they’re sitting there scratching their head saying, “Ok, can we trust Philip? What’s going on here? Why are they all becoming friends? What’s going on with Claire?” I’m doing the exact same thing here where I’m going, “What are we going to do here? What’s going on? Where am I going to go?” So, I have no idea what’s coming up. I’m just as clueless as everybody else.
Any final thoughts or words for your fans out there?
Just thank you. Thank you for the fans that watch the show. The show’s been on the air for 41 years, 41 or 42 years, something like that. And the only reason why it’s been on the air is because of the fans, so all I can say is thank you for watching and thank you for all the support that you guys have been giving. It means everything.
(Interview conducted by Royce Yuen)