August 10, 2022 Interview – Paget Brewster
Love what you do and you will never work a day in your life. This old saying is pretty accurate, just ask seasoned Actress Paget Brewster because she is having a blast! A down-to-earth, fun-loving lady, Brewster has built a career in entertainment unique to many.
From voice-overs in a list of animated series to starring in television series such as Criminal Minds to roles in feature films, she embraces each opportunity with open arms. Checking another genre off her list, she now adds a Horror credit with her starring role in the new LGBTQ+ psychological Horror flick, Hypochondriac. A film about real-life issues spun with a Horror twist, the talented Brewster recently sat down to talk about Hypochondriac, her diverse career, plus much more.
Cryptic Rock – You have been involved in acting professionally for some time. In your career, you have a very good balance of voice-over acting as well as roles in both film and television. Briefly tell us, how would you describe your career, thus far?
Paget Brewster – Just according to the way you just described it, I feel pretty good about it now! (Laughs) It felt like I didn’t do anything for most of the pandemic, but now all of the stuff I’ve recently done is coming out at the same time; Birdgirl, Hypochondriac. I’m going back to Criminal Minds, and I just narrated a True Crime podcast.
I feel like I’ve been all over the place, but I guess I forget that’s not what everyone gets to do. I think maybe if you stick around long enough, you’re always on set early and know your lines, people will hire you for different things. I also think a good part of it has to be luck, right? I think I have a good work ethic, though, and I work really hard. I’ve had a weird career, right? It’s all over the place! Animation, Drama, Comedy, and finally I’m in a Horror film!
Cryptic Rock – It sounds like you really enjoy the diversity. Speaking of Horror, you mentioned you star in the new film Hypochondriac. Was this role exciting for you?
Paget Brewster – Yes. I think it’s brilliant, scary, and thought-provoking. I feel like this is my EGOT. I have no awards, but now that I’m finally in a Horror film, I feel like maybe I’ve done it all. It feels good that my career is all over the place.
Cryptic Rock – It seems as if you are very passionate about it and embrace it. As mentioned, you have an extensive list of voice-over credits, so how would you compare voiceover acting with acting on screen?
Paget Brewster – They are so different, obviously. With voices for animation, you are really only using this one part of you. It’s about giving everything each time. You will say a line sometimes 15-25 times to get the tone the director of the episode is looking for. That is very varied acting, as well: there are different volumes, intensity, anger, or saying it like your a child.
On-camera acting requires you to pay attention to everything in the physical world. In acting on-camera, you can’t pay attention to your voice; you’re not manipulating your voice. With on-camera it’s connecting with the person in the scene, taking your mark, being lit properly, not tugging on your clothes, not hitting your microphone, and just being present to do the scene with the person/people you are in it with. Your voice is just one small part of on-screen acting.
The good part about doing animation is you can do it in your sweatpants and you’re laughing with everyone on Zoom because now everyone is at home. Animation, you are laughing a lot but there isn’t the pressure of the budget from an on-camera situation. There is a lot more room to play around and experiment in voice-overs as opposed to on-camera. They are both a great way to make a living, though. I prefer them both to bartending, which was my job for a long time.
Cryptic Rock – (Laughs) So let’s talk about Hypochondriac a bit. This is an interesting film that mixes Horror with real issues such as mental health. How did the project come about for you?
Paget Brewster – The producer is a gentleman named Bay Dariz, who produced a movie I did many years ago called Welcome to Happiness (2015). I had been talking to Bay and he sent me this script for Hypochondriac saying, “Hey, how’s your pandemic going? I want you to play Dr. Sampson. It’s an LGBTQ+ psychological Horror film. It’s indie, low budget, and a first-time director – here’s the script.” This sounds terrible but I didn’t want to leave the house during the middle of COVID, there is no money involved, and I don’t know where we are shooting. (Laughs) I then thought, I really like Bay, so I started reading the script. It became very apparent, very quickly that it was really well-written.
I went back to his email and saw that Zach Villa was cast as Will, the lead of the film. It is about Will’s journey into this terrifying place of mental illness because he is dealing with childhood trauma. I kept reading the script and said, “This is so good!” I called Bay and said, “I’ll do it. Tell me about this director.” He told me, “Trust me, he is great and not a crazy first-time director.” Sometimes first-time directors are kind of spiky and difficult; they are so afraid of looking like they are not in charge.
I went on a Zoom with the Director, Addison Heimann, and found out he is Will; he is the guy that he wrote the script about. He is just a really generous and thoughtful guy. He is mellow, he didn’t have a massive ego or some battle to win; he just wanted to tell the story. I think it’s one of the best decisions I made. The movie is exquisite: it’s funny, scary, upsetting, but also touching.
Cryptic Rock – It certainly touches on some real-life issues within the Horror realm. So, are you a fan of Horror films?
Paget Brewster – I am a Horror fan! I’m not a Saw kind of fan, though; I can’t do the super violence or torture stuff. I do like a good jump scare or creepy ladies, like The Nun (2018), The Witch (2015), The Conjuring (2013), or Annabelle (2014). I also think one of the best Horror movies I’ve ever seen was The Exorcist III (1990), which is long-winded because William Peter Blatty wrote and directed it. There are moments in that movie that are absolutely terrifying.
Hypochondriac is scary on a bunch of levels. I found the footage of what happened to Will when he was a child horrifying, but there are also these quick, terrifying scares of what he is imagining…or is it someone else doing it to him?