February 20, 2020 Interview – Brea Grant
An actress, writer, and director always aiming to follow her own path, Brea Grant has the heart of a true artist. In the film industry for nearly 15 years now, Grant has starred in some of the biggest television series, including NBC’s Friday Night Lights and Heroes, Showtime’s Dexter, but also had roles in major films such as 2009’s Halloween II. Sporting a diverse résumé, the most impressive part is Grant has consistently sought out work she can be proud of.
Such is the case with After Midnight, a small-budget Monster film starring Grant where she describes the behind the scenes atmosphere much like summer camp. The type of work you do for the love of it, the multi-talented star recently took the time to talk about After Midnight, her entrance into entertainment, her love of all things Horror, writing, and much more.
Cryptic Rock – You have been involved in acting professionally for well over a decade. You have worked on bigger projects, smaller projects, and really spread your talents all over the spectrum in film/TV. How would you describe your career to this point?
Brea Grant – That’s a good question. Complicated, definitely varied. I got my start working in television on some of the biggest shows at that time. I did a bunch of big movies, then, in between, I got to do some really small movies. It is very crazy because you will go from a set where there are 100 people working on it, to a set where the crew will be four people. (Laughs) It has definitely been varied, for sure, but it keeps me on my toes.
Cryptic Rock – It sounds like your experiences have been very diverse. You have worked in many genres, but you have done a lot within the Horror/Thriller world. Do you enjoy working in these genres?
Brea Grant – Yeah, for sure. I feel like fairly early in my career I sort of made the choice to stick in the more genre world. The Horror/Sci-Fi universe is something I really like to watch, it’s basically all the media I consume. It’s just something I’m way more drawn to as actor, writer, etc. I will do other stuff, but when I get a script and it’s a really good Horror movie, I’m way more excited than when I get a script and it’s really good Drama.
Cryptic Rock – It is cool to hear you are so passionate about it. Speaking of which, you star in the new Horror film After Midnight. This is a different kind of Horror film because it combines Comedy, Sci-Fi, and even Romance. What was it like working on the film?
Brea Grant – Yeah, we have been calling it a Rom-Mon, a romantic monster movie. It was awesome, it was definitely a passion project for all the people involved. It was a really small movie with a small crew; the director, Jeremy Gardner is also the main actor.
A lot of the people who were in the film have been friends for a long time or married to each other. It was a super lovely experience. I was drawn to it initially because I was such a big fan of The Battery (2012). Also, the script for After Midnight is one of the best scripts I’ve ever read.
Cryptic Rock – It is unique story and Rom-Mon is a great a new subgenre title. Even though it is a monster film, it is sort of a relationship film as well. Did you get that feeling reading the script?
Brea Grant – For sure. For me, reading it, I was really drawn to Abby and her side of the story. While I understand it is more about Hank’s point of view, for me it’s very much about this woman who has been in this situation that she hasn’t liked for years. She thinks at some point she would start liking it or it would change, but it doesn’t. She’s coming to terms with that in her own way.
Cryptic Rock – Right. As you mentioned, this is a smaller film and a passion project. How would you compare working on a smaller film with a smaller crew/cast opposed to working on a bigger budget film?
Brea Grant – Well, when you are a smaller movie, no one’s there for the money, so you all have to really want to be there. Some things are very much the same, like anyone who works on a set knows – set etiquette and set rules. A project like this, you are all there because you actually really like the project; you are not there for a paycheck. That’s really nice. For me, that’s why I got involved in this industry: I wanted to make art and make things that inspire people. Those kind of movies are a big draw for me, because I know the output will be something I can be really proud of.
You also, in some ways, get really close to people because there is way less of a separation between cast and crew. I’m not sneaking off to my trailer in between setups, because there is no trailer and everything is moving very quickly. (Laughs) You get to know people a lot better, you get really close, it’s a little bit like summer camp. You make all your best friends over the course of a few weeks that you stay really close to hopefully.
Cryptic Rock – That sounds like a lot of fun. With a bigger budget film, there are a lot of delegated responsibilities where in a lower budget film one person may wear multiple hats per se, right?
Brea Grant – Yeah, everyone is doing way more and you are moving way faster. It depends, but on a lower budget movie you sometimes do 1-2 takes for every setup. You don’t have as much time to dive in, you have to show up ready to go.
Cryptic Rock – Understood. You mentioned you have done some writing too. You have written comics as well as scripts. What can you tell us about some of your writing projects?
Brea Grant – I wrote a movie we shot last year called Lucky that Natasha Kermani directed and it is about to premiere at SXSW. I also wrote a movie called 12 Hour Shift that I directed starring Angela Bettis and David Arquette.
I’ve had a few movies made, but these were both my first movies produced that I wrote by myself. I also write comic books – it’s something I’ve been doing years and I just finished a new graphic novel.
I like that side of things. As pretentious as it sounds, I like creating art. I think acting is a way to do that, but writing is also a way and a way I can control a little bit more. It’s definitely something I’m moving toward.
Cryptic Rock – It is a wonderful outlet of expression. Writing has to be different to acting because in many instances when you are acting you are portraying a character that someone else created. When you write, you have control of the story more.
Brea Grant – For sure. I love collaborating, even when I am writing I feel like I am writing for someone, or writing for someone else to direct, or writing with certain actors in mind. I will get others’ opinions on things because I want to hear how they feel about it. In all the various ways I’m making art I try to involve other people. But yes, writing I can do it with a blank slate instead of trying to make something that is already there.
Cryptic Rock – It is interesting to hear about the different dynamics. We spoke about the broad work you have done in film and television. That said, what would you say are some of the more important things you have learned from your years of experience?
Brea Grant – Oh wow, what have I learned? Be nice to people because it will make your life easier, but also those people will probably be in a position to hire or fire you someday. I think also when you are making movies there is this tendency to always compare ourselves to other people, especially actors. We’re always like, “I wish I was on that show or I wish I was doing the movies this other person was doing.” It’s super not helpful. You’re never going to be the level you wish you were at unfortunately. (Laughs) I never have been, maybe someone is. I’ve never met that person: every person I know is always trying to achieve something more. I think it only slows you down if you are trying to achieve something someone else did and the way they did it. I think craving your own path and staying in your own lane is probably the best move.
Cryptic Rock – Those are all great life lessons in general. You obviously enjoy Horror, so what got you into the genre?
Brea Grant – I think teenage girls and slumber parties was my first introduction to Horror movies. We would just go to Blockbuster video, rent various Horror movies, watch them and scream together. That was sort of my first step, but I also have an older brother and that helps a lot too.
I really got into Horror in college when I started reading more comic books and just watching more movies in general. I think I’ve always just sort of had a love for the genre. I think there are things you can explore in Horror that are just way more interesting and easier to explore when you have a genre aspect to things. That’s what is really interesting to me.
Cryptic Rock – Absolutely. Working in Horror or Sci-Fi you can do things that you perhaps you could not do in a more reality-based film.
Brea Grant – Agreed, exactly. I think you can make a movie like Get Out (2017) and people will really respond to it, but if you made that movie as a Drama, people are not going to gravitate toward the themes as much as they do when you put it in a Horror movie.
Cryptic Rock – Very true, good point. Which leads to our last question, what are some of your personal favorite Horror films?
Brea Grant – I don’t really have favorite movies or books. I will give you the ones that jump out at me that sort of helped make me who I am. I loved the original Dawn of the Dead (1978). I loved Tremors (1990), that scared the shit out of me when I was a kid. I also love the original Scream (1996).
For more on Brea Grant: breagrant.com | Twitter | Instagram