Interview with Brendan Taylor of “Firefly Lane” on Netflix by Suzanne 2/23/21
It was so enjoyable to speak with Brendan. He has a lot of enthusiasm. He was so great on “Supernatural” as Dougie, and he’s entirely different in this newer role, yet still awesome.
Suzanne: Can you tell us how this part came about for you?
Brendan: Sure. So, Mutt on Firefly Lane, it was actually just a regular old audition, to be honest, that I felt connected to, but it seemed to go – well, I felt like I had a good handle on him from the get go. There’s a bit of comedy in there and sort of the heart that Mutt brings. I got a call back, and it seemed to go well, but I do remember I was sort of busy at the time and was just kind of hoping to hear something. Then, I was actually on set on another project when I got the call from an agent that I booked this one. So, that’s always the best feeling to get a call for more work during work.
Suzanne: That’s good. How long ago was this? Was it before the pandemic?
Brendan: Yes, it was long before. I would have got that call probably August or September of 2019. So, long before that.
Suzanne: When was it shot, and how long did it take?
Brendan: We shot basically right after that. It was September to January 2019. My shooting ended at the end of December. There was a bit of a hiatus for Christmas, and then they had a few weeks left. Then, we had a wrap party, and then the pandemic hit. So, we got in right under the wire, which is nice. So, there was not a single thought of not being able to hug people. It’s pretty special to get a full project in before before it all shut down.
Suzanne: So, where was it shot?
Brendan: Vancouver. It was no studio; it was all locations. We had some standing sets, which are set locations that they return to. So, yeah, in and around the Vancouver area.
Suzanne: Okay, great. And I see that you had to carry around some camera equipment. Was it heavy?
Brendan: Thankfully, not. Actually, I mean, the gear, they weigh it down a little bit, but they also don’t want us to throw our backs out, so [they don’t] put a bunch of stuff in there. You take out your tape, and start to get a little sweat on for sure, but yeah, a big old 80s camera on my shoulder. Yeah, definitely. You know, you want to put it down after a while.
Suzanne: Did you enjoy playing a character in the 1980s?
Brendan: Oh, yeah, it was cool. I mean, I grew up in the 80s and 90s – more in the 90s, but still it was just such a cool – I mean, the reminders of the colors and the style, and I think what I really like most about this show, is given the era, cell phones don’t really play a part. It’s not part of the narrative. It’s all other analog phone calls or meeting people in person, and it just makes for a better, dynamic thing to watch. There was a time where we just made an appointment and showed up, and you either were there or you weren’t. You had a friend or you didn’t. So, that was the 80s and 90s for us.
Suzanne: I know; I was around then. I always thought that it’s better to have the cell phones now, and I like them, but it certainly makes it harder on the writers, because if you have people in some kind of distress or some situation, you have to come up with a reason why they don’t have their cell phone with them, because it would be pretty easy.
Brendan: Exactly. It is funny. Something I’ve just sort of noticed myself in narratives of shows for exactly that reason is when you try to create conflict, and then like, oh well, you just look it up on your phone, versus like, oh we need to talk to that other character and go and see them across town. I think that’s why shows like Stranger Things also resonated in the same kind of nostalgia, where [the phones had] the big long curly cords in the kitchen, or you just kind of got onto your Banana bike and [unintelligible] across town.
Suzanne: I think my mother-in-law had what they called a car phone in the late 80s, and it was this humongous thing in the car.
Brendan: Totally. I remember my uncle was a building alarm sort of specialist, and he was one of the first to have a cell phone. I remember my cousin’s coming to visit me, and they called the house, and they’re like, “Oh, we’re gonna be half an hour late or whatever.” I’m like, “Okay, cool,” because I picked up the house phone, and then two seconds later, the doorbell rings at my front door. My mind was like, “Wow.”
Suzanne: That’s funny. Do you remember when they had the pagers before they had the cell phones?
Brendan: Oh, yeah. My mom had a pager for sure. I didn’t. It kind of missed me, but, yeah, she had it for for work.
Suzanne: I didn’t have a pager either, but I remember that. So, was there anything special that you had to do to prepare for the role?
Brendan: Well, I mean, reading Kristin [Hannah]’s book was really helpful. Although, if you’ve read it, or anyone [reading this] has read it, I might have mentioned it a few times, but it’s really expanded into the world of the show. But I really did want to read that and see if there – I dog eared pages just to go back to and see if there was anything. There are a few lines; there’re a couple lines of dialogue in the book, and I sort of try to capture that essence, but also just sort of trusting that what they saw and what I sort of brought to it was fun. I kind of tend to like dry humor and sort of straight delivery and stuff like that. So, I just kind of went with that, and I was given a bit of flexibility on the day. The directors changed through the episodes as well, so I kind of was able to take the reins on them a little bit and throw some stuff at them and see if it sticks or not, just to see if that [unintelligible]. But yeah, it was just sort of a fun, natural sort of character to jump into.
Suzanne: So, they were pretty flexible and let you change stuff?
Brendan: Yeah, the creative team is just really great. In fact, the writers – also the producers in many of the cases, some of the writers were on set while we’re shooting. I literally would just go to the person who wrote the dialogue and be like, “Hey, I think [it would] more make more sense if I throw this in,” or “What about this?” and they were usually like, “Yeah, okay.” Or they’d try to justify it and it clarify it for me, like, “Okay, I get like why that’s there. Sure, I’ll take it.” I just want to be always clear about what it is that I’m saying, and I want it to make sense in my mind. I mean, I am paid to say words in front of a camera. It’s a lot better when it makes sense, because then it’s gonna come across to the watcher.
Suzanne: I read that they changed your character quite a bit from the book.
Brendan: Yeah. I mean, well, there’s a lot of smoking in the book, and there’s a bit of that. I got the idea that Mutt is a chain smoker. He’s always got booze. I mean, there’s a bit of drugs and booze and all that stuff, but they didn’t really maintain that for the show. It would be just [unintelligible] really disgusting, like fake cigarettes. I think, I mean, it sort of seemed like Mutt just liked to party, you know, [take a] break when it’s after work kind of thing, but he sticks to his job and stuff like that. I mean, he is maybe a little rougher on the edges in the book, and I just sort of, I guess, went with a bit more of a sort of teddy bear-esque type character. [unintelligible]
Suzanne: But didn’t they also expand him a little bit more in the show?
Brendan: Yeah, they did. I mean, there’s a bit of affection for Kate when they come to the KPOC, but definitely where we get to expanding more on the dating Kate stuff, and that was pretty fun.
Suzanne: If there’s a season two for the show, do you think you’ll be in it?
Brendan: The format of the show bounces around in timelines, although, you know, the relationship is over. Also, anytime they go back to KPOC there, the news station, Mutt and Carol are both sort of staples of that station, so it makes sense to include them there. I do hope that I might get a bit more screen time, and there was definitely some stuff that didn’t make it in the show, in the scripts and stuff like that. It’s more about the flow of the narrative and keeping it going and focused on Kate and Tully. So, I don’t know, maybe we’ll see a bit more.
Suzanne: I haven’t seen the whole thing yet, but I heard this season ends in quite a cliffhanger, so they’re hoping that they bring it back.
Brendan: It does.
Suzanne: Or a series of cliffhangers.
Brendan: It does, yeah. I mean, I may have spoiled my my timeline, but that’s okay, it’s on Netflix, so there you go. In terms of the cliffhanger, yes, it’s definitely one of those. You’re just kind of left wondering what happened.
Suzanne: Well, good. I hope they do bring it back for a season two then. That’s always frustrating if they cancel it on a cliffhanger.
Brendan: Exactly. I mean, we’re all crossing fingers. It’s been, obviously, “Well, we’ll see.” It was number one in the world on Netflix for a couple of weeks, so hopefully that means something.
Suzanne: Yeah, it sounds really successful from what I’ve heard everybody talking about it and with great stars in it.
Brendan: There aren’t many stories that are about sort of platonic friendship, love through the years, and just that sort of touching on a lot of women issues that are important to talk about, that are sort of brought to the forefront in the show. I think it’s really great to bring that forward. [That] discussion, I think, a lot of people have really related to it, in that sense, from what I’m hearing.
Suzanne: I saw a great thing on Twitter. Do you know the sci-fi show Firefly?
Suzanne: One of the actresses was saying that she told somebody that she was on Firefly, and then somebody nearby said, “Oh, you’re in Firefly Lane. I love that show.”
Brendan: That’s funny. [I’d] been getting the opposite thing when people didn’t know about this show and it wasn’t out. I have a bunch of sci-fi friends. Firefly has a huge following; it has a cult following, and I really liked the show too. It’s like, “Oh, they’re bringing back Firefly?” I’m like, “No, it’s another show called Firefly Lane.” They’re like, “Oh, okay.” [unintelligible]
Suzanne: That’s funny. So, what other shows or movies do you have coming out this year?
Brendan: I have a couple of TV features that are coming out. They’re sort of Hallmark-esque. They might be on Hallmark. We’ll find out, but one is called A Whirlwind Wedding, and the other is called Under a Lover’s Moon. Always love the titles of these films, but yeah, some good stuff. Though, that was really fun and entertaining. Then, [I have] some commercials coming out as well. Yeah, I’m just kind of gearing up here. Vancouver has been one of the only places where they’re still going pretty hard in the industry; they can actually stay open somewhat with some strict protocols. So, a lot of stuff is shooting here. I actually have several auditions to prep and send in the next couple of days here. It’s [for] some big shows here too. So yeah, [unintelligible] about some things.
Suzanne: Yeah, Hallmark is is great for their movies, and they often change the titles by the time they get to the screen anyway. So, you never know.
Brendan: Exactly. Yeah, that’s true. I know they shoot quite a lot up here in B.C. Vancouver and B.C. in general. They’re a great market that only seems to be expanding, and it’s one of those things that people like to go on and watch. The stories are similar, but, you know, sometimes people just want to see it; they want to see people fall in love at the end or whatever. They’re a really good opportunity for Vancouver actors to get some experience [and some] credits and so forth, because…it’s like a good place to definitely start and pick up some gigs here and there while they shoot here. So, yeah, we’re pretty fortunate to have that.
Suzanne: I think they’ve done a good job with trying to expand beyond the basic storylines that they’ve been doing. I noticed that at Christmas; I watched a lot of Hallmark and Lifetime movies, and they’re bringing in more people of color and more gay people, and some of the stories were much better than they had been before, I thought [it was] interesting, unusual.
Brendan: Yeah, I think that’s one of the things that has to evolve, and there was a lot of pushback or encouragement for making it more diverse. I’m sure there was fear around that, but I think in the end, we all win when there’s more diversity in the stories. And there’s [been] a lot of people being left out of the stories. People of color fall in love too, and gay people. Why are we beating around the bush? So, I mean, it’s definitely great. I’ve seen a lot of that, and I believe the new CEO of Hallmark has made a special effort to make all that happen.
Brendan: Yeah, it’s great.
Suzanne: You’ve played a great role in a couple of episodes of Supernatural as Officer Doug. You were great in that; I love that.
Brendan: Thanks. Yeah, that was one of the greatest experiences too, to work on that show, to get the role, and to meet Briana [Buckmaster] and become friends with her and Jensen [Ackles] and Jared [Padalecki], who are just fantastic in terms of the [Supernatural] experience, and that was one of the longest running shows on TV, and they were running 24 episode seasons when that was a thing. It was just a tightly operated machine, and everyone was so great, and then to sort of get to come back and continue that story was so cool. The fandom is incredible. The Supernatural family, they’re really gracious. It’s a special group of people that proceeded most social media. They started up on Twitter before Facebook was a thing, just sort of a Supernatural day when that episode would air, just Twitter would be inundated with Supernatural fans. It’s pretty awesome.
Suzanne: What would you say that you get most recognized for when you go out and about?
Brendan: It’s funny. One of the most recognized things I got, was just this past summer, I did a commercial for a bank where it was just my face on screen, and I shot it in my apartment. So, there weren’t many new commercials. So, of all things I’ve ever done that people on the street [recognize me for] – because mainly it’s just my face and sitting there and sort of the passage of time and all this stuff, but I thought that was funny, that of all the things I’ve done, it was a commercial. But, I mean, yeah, Supernatural, definitely, people have…The fans who watch the show are really into it. So, there’ve been a couple times where someone passed me in the building, just going to an audition. Someone was in another business adjacent and [recognized me]…So, I had a couple times with that, which is super cool. So, it just shows that sort of loyalty and appreciation that the fans have.
Suzanne: Yeah, that’s fun. You’re kind of a character actor in a way, so you probably are able to play a lot of different roles. You look different in a lot of them. So, it’s good you get recognized.
Brendan: I love that. I think one of the greatest compliments I could receive or have received in the past is when someone watched something I was in and didn’t recognize me; they were so engrossed in the show and the character. They saw me, but they didn’t see me. You know? The show all came together for them to sort of see it, and they clearly got what was happening, but they didn’t put me into it in any way. So, that’s kind of a cool thing to feel when that happens. Yeah, I love it.
Suzanne: It means you’re doing your job.
Brendan: Exactly. Yeah. I mean, you’re always gonna recognize actors…A really cool character I got to play was on the second season of Fargo. It was this sort of side film. It was a film within the show, a sort of old war time movie that Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons’ characters were watching through the episode, and then they finally get to a point where we realize that this movie is sort of paralleling the situation that they’re in in real life. Then, we kind of go into the [unintelligible] endpoint and have a little moment with the actual actors in the film. I played this French soldier. [He and his] girlfriend are on the run from this Nazi who’s chasing us…I got to play this sort of French Parisian, sort of French character on the run, and I grew up speaking French, so I could kind of do a pretty good accent. It was great.
Suzanne: That sounds great. I’m gonna have to watch that.
Brendan: Yeah, it’s really good. I had a little pencil mustache and a turtleneck and all that stuff.
Here is the audio version of it. I apologize for the poor sound quality.
Interview Transcribed by Jamie of http://www.scifivision.com
Brendan Taylor grew up in the suburbs of Vancouver, BC and was drawn to TV and Film at a young age. From action films like BATMAN, to the comedy of Mel Brooks and MONTY PYTHON, to dramas like PULP FICTION, and all the best 90s cartoons, like “Duck Tales”. This enchantment with film and TV combined with a great love of video games and comic books, created the perfect recipe for an overactive imagination.
Brendan was a shy kid and it wasn’t until he found drama class as an elective at the start of high school, that he discovered a natural confidence, and ability on stage. His mom, who worked on the other side of camera in the art department, would invite him to film sets to help her out, so from an early age he was exposed to the world of film and got to see behind the curtain. After highschool Brendan went to college to find his career path, but always maintained an elective in Theater every term, as it was a consistently joyful and creative outlet for him. It wasn’t until the end of college that he found a scene study class off campus, where he felt at home. After graduating he continued to train in acting but used connections through his mother to begin a career in Set Decoration; the first film he worked on was THE WICKER MAN starring Nicholas Cage. From there he made more connections and worked on several other films and series around Vancouver, such as AMC’s “The Killing” and SYFY’s “Falling Skies” and “Battlestar Galactica”, accumulating more than 50 credits as a Lead, On-Set, and Set Dresser (Decorator), and Production Designer on short films.
As his training and skills increased, so did his desire to pursue his dream, and he started to scale back in Set Decorating, got an agent, and he landed roles in The CW’s “Arrow”, SYFY’s “Olympus” and A&E’s “Bates Motel”. Dreams started to become reality when his past influences began merging with his roles: he was cast on season two of FX’s “Fargo”, played Superman’s creator Jerry Siegel on AMC’s “Secret History of Comic Books” documentary series, and had a recurring role in SYFY’s “The Magicians” and on The CW’s “Supernatural”, as Officer Doug Stover. In the film world, he had a lead role in an independent period-fantasy feature film MERMAID’S SONG, opposite Iwan Rheon from HBO’s “Game of Thrones”. Brendan also developed an aptitude for improv comedy, which led him to shoot commercials, of which to date he has shot over 110.
Recently Brendan appeared in Disney +’s “Noelle” opposite Anna Kendrick, Netflix’s “Love, Guaran- teed” opposite Rachel Leigh Cook and Damon Wayans Jr., and had supporting roles in the upcom- ing TV features “A Whirlwind Wedding” and “Under A Lover’s Moon” airing later this year. Most no- tably, he has a recurring supporting role on the highly anticipated new Netflix series “Firefly Lane” based on the popular novel by Kristin Hannah. Brendan plays Mutt, the loveable cameraman for a local news team opposite Katherine Heigl, Sarah Chalke, and Ben Lawson. “Firefly Lane” premieres worldwide on Netflix February 3rd, 2021.
ABOUT THE SERIES: The greatest love story of all can be between friends. When unlikely duo Tully (Katherine Heigl) and Kate (Sarah Chalke) meet at age fourteen, they couldn’t be more different. Tully is the brash and bold girl you can’t ignore, while Kate is the mousy shy girl you never notice. But when a tragedy brings them together, they are bonded for life — forever inseparable best friends. Together they experience thirty years of ups and downs — triumphs and disappointments, heartbreak and joy, and a love triangle that strains their friendship. One goes on to fabulous wealth and fame, the other chooses marriage and motherhood — but through the decades, their bond remains — until it faces the ultimate test. The series is based on the novel of the same name by New York Times bestselling author Kristin Hannah, who serves as co- executive producer.
PREMIERE DATE: February 3rd on Netflix
Get to Know Brendan
I’m fluent in French and Spanish, and conversational in Italian, but I’m 100% English- speaking Canadian.
I’m 5th generation Canadian, with my great-great-grandparents being from Northern Ontario.
I lived on my own in Paris when I was twenty for a year. I have friends scattered all over Europe and have been back many times to visit.
I’m trained in theatre, and had a theatre company with friends having co-operated, produced, production designed, and acted in many independently produced plays, both established and original.
I’m an avid car enthusiast and self-taught mechanic, with a particular interest in JDM vehicles; my car has won several prestigious awards and was published in a popular magazine.
Between set dec and mechanic skills, I’m very handy, and recently single-handedly fully designed and renovated my new apartment from the studs up.
I started playing golf because I was determined to be a pro golfer all through high school and only stopped because of my interest in mechanics.
I’m the talle.st in my family on both sides at 6’5”; the height is a mystery.
My first on stage performance was Christopher Walken’s “Watch” monologue from PULP FICTION in 8 th grade.
I listen almost exclusively to rap and hip-hop, and won’t ever pass up karaoke.
Proofread and Edited by Brenda