Patrick Flueger got his big Hollywood break in 2001 playing Jeremiah in Disney’s The Princess Diaries and since then has appeared in both film and television. Flueger co-starred in Showtime’s Paradise and also had several guest starring roles on TV shows like Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Grounded for Life, Judging Amy, and CSI: Miami. Currently, Patrick stars as Shawn Farrell in the USA Network series The 4400. Patrick was kind enough to take some time in between filming to talk to us at BuddyTV about his career and The 4400.
Read the full interview transcript and listen to the mp3 audio below.
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Hey this is Oscar Dahl from BuddyTV and I’m here with Patrick Fleuger from The 4400. Patrick, how’re you doing?
Not bad, man. Not bat at all.
Growing up, I know you’re from Minnesota, was acting something you always wanted to do or something you kinda got into later in life?
I’ve been in a play once in the summer with a couple of friends and I was like eight years old and I don’t know. I really had a good time, you know and it was something I just kept doing and it wasn’t necessarily something I wanted to pursue as a career as an eight year old but I definitely enjoyed it and I was lucky enough to grow old in a community that really supported the arts and gave you a lot of opportunities as a child to explore the craft of acting, so yeah.
Your first real break in The Princess Diaries, how did you get cast in that movie and what was it like to have your first big job on big old Hollywood movie?
I met this casting director through my cousin, God bless her heart and she works in Minnesota, in Minneapolis and she would submit me for projects they were doing like a national search. They would just kind of submit me. I didn’t have an agent or anything. I didn’t really know what to do. I was like sixteen years old I think. Fifteen or sixteen. And I went to her and talked to her and we just got on well and she was nice enough to help me out and so I was submitted for it and I went on tape for it and they liked the tape and I kinda stood out and I was in a band and I used to dye my hair a different color every time we’d play a show and it happened to be nuclear red at the time and so I’d like to think that some of the talent was part of the reason but a huge part of the reason was definitely I stood out from the crowd with that bright red hair. And I went out and tried out for the main guy role, didn’t get that but Gary Marshall was nice enough to write me in a role as we got on well. So basically it’s just been a succession of people being really, really nice to me and me just being lucky over and over and over again.
At this point in your career, you’ve done a lot of film and TV, do you prefer one to the other and what do you see yourself doing more of in the future?
Well I guess being a 23 year old and stuff I get kind of bored easily and in TV, you play the same character, and depending on how you’re show’s doing. God willing you’ll be playing that character for quite some time and what turns out on the show and then joining themselves and then watch it so as nice as that is financially, the stability and you know, I guess if you’re on a really challenging show and stuff it’s like artistically but personally I think that doing movies is where you have an opportunity to play different people and there’s one solid story arc rather than the opportunity to have like ten different story arcs over a seven year period. I would just a concentrated story arc and the ability to play different characters you get from doing film. That’s definitely more appealing to me than television. But they’re both the same in I get to be doing what I love. Doing both of those .
You talk about being on TV show like The 4400 where you get to play a character over and over again, is that difficult you know just trying to…staying in that same role or is it all worth it once you get the stability of…
I mean, I think that it can be difficult in you know like you’ve got seven different people that are putting their hearts in that one character over a six year period that has different opinions on where the character should go, who the character is, I mean you got the writer, you got the different directors, you’ve got producers and you’ve got like me or the actors that’s playing the role and all of those different people all have a say in direction that the character will go and so trying to stay on course where you wanna go as the actor also honor the fact that there are all of these other opinions coming into play. It just seems kinda hard just trying to—I’m not explaining this very well but try to have all those opinions meld into one but I’ve been fortunate enough to go where I like the direction they’ve taken my character. He’s growing up, he’s on the 4400, he’s growing up a lot and I’ve been in my early twenties playing him and stuff and I’ve kinda been growing up along with him and kinda just been nice.
Are there ever times that you wish that your character Shawn was going in a different direction and if stuff like that happens do you ever have any say in it? Do you get to talk to the writers at all?
I don’t know. I guess I mean I have my say in it in the way that I play the character and they’re planning to take me one way but I just maybe play a pivotal scene in a different way than I thought I would so they have to go on different direction with it but as far as I’m sitting down and laying out an overall plan, I don’t have a say in that. I mean I basically have no clue what’s gonna happen in it until I get the next script.
Going back to the beginning, when you got the first scripts for The 4400, just the initial miniseries, what were your expectations? Did you think the show had a chance to get picked up for another season or did you think that the miniseries was gonna be it?
Well when I…I don’t know. When we were doing that pilot I think everybody there was just kind of had this energy on set that everybody kind of felt like we were doing something special, you know. And when it started, I don’t know I just…I had a lot of faith in the story that we were telling. I thought that it was really cool. I was so intrigued by you know I loved the characters I thought it was a great way to tell stories about people, you know to be able to tell different stories, to give a chance to everybody so that they could relate to the stories that we’re telling and stuff. I think towards the end I had a pretty strong confidence that there was a future for this show.
I know you’ve worked on some of the bigger network TV shows. What’s it like working on cable? On USA compared to the big network TV channels?
I don’t know, I mean I guess it’s really nice to be a little bit more anonymous, I mean just like in your personal life, you know you don’t have to deal with a bunch of people recognizing you as you walk down the street and everything. But I’ve never really been on a big network TV show, I don’t really know, as far as being a regular on in there, so I don’t really know where the differences come in, and maybe we have less of the network presence on set, I don’t know. I’ve never worked on a big network TV show for a long period of time so I wouldn’t know how to compare the two.
How has the season four experience been and what can you tell fans about what they can expect in the next few episodes?
Well, they’re trucking this year as far as the storyline goes, you know there’s a lot happening. There’s a lot happening this year. There’s a lot coming. There’s kind of a war on the horizon and it becomes more and more apparent as we go on. It’s…I can’t even believe how much information they pack into 45 minute episodes.
I know you were…you talked about earlier you were a lead singer of a band and you were a musician as well as an actor. Do you have any plans on pursuing music in the future?
Yeah. I’d like to. I got a lot of friends around me that are really fantastic musicians and stuff. That’s just getting this little ball rolling you know but yeah it’s definitely something I would wanna pursue but very separately from acting. I try to keep my name to myself as much as possible when it has to do with music. I think just cause you know, doing that music as a crossover, not that I’m anywhere near the hype of Lindsay Lohan gets but it’s kind of a standard thing and I’m taking time away from the lights of legitimate people behind you and see to answer your question yes I’d like to pursue it more, it’s just a question of when.
Besides The 4400, do you have any upcoming projects that you’d like to tell us about?
I guess the movie coming up called “You Are Here”, it comes out sometime this fall and I don’t know. It should be fun. Kinda I guess dark romantic comedy, I really don’t know how to explain it but I don’t know, it’s fun. It’s about a bunch of friends that wake up one morning after a crazy night and they all call each other and try to relive the night and figure out what the hell happened. Something a lot of young people can connect to. And then another movie called Last Resort, I don’t know if that’s the working title but it’s called Last Resort. I think that’ll be out sometime in the fall or in January.
Alright Patrick I appreciate you stopping by and thanks for the time.
(Interview conducted by Oscar Dahl)
Senior Writer, BuddyTV