Brian Sheppard Intervoew - TWD - Bull - The Blacklist
Brian Sheppard is known for his work on The Walking Dead , Bull and The Blacklist.
- How did you get your role in the AMC Series The Walking Dead as Miles in the Episode The Calm Before (2019)?
1.) The role of Miles on The Walking Dead was not an instant one for sure. I was sent auditions from my agent in Atlanta, Thom Milam, for nearly 4 seasons prior. I had read for various roles, mainly bit parts, month after month with no word. Finally I received an audition for a somewhat larger role. I sent tapes in around 4 am and by noon the next day I got the call to get there as soon as possible. I'm so grateful that they allowed me to read time and time again until something fit! Maybe a guardian angel helped a bit too.
- Brian , did you watch the show or read the graphic novel, prior to
your casting to The Walking Dead?
2.) I didn't follow the graphic novel but I was a HUGE follower of the show. I first saw Norman Reedus in Boondock Saints and I think that drew me to the show initially. That compounded when my dear friend Colman Domingo started to work on FEAR. The franchise has such strong talent both in front of the camera and behind. I dreamt of being alongside talent of that caliber and was fortunate enough to have that opportunity!
- Working in The Walking Dead will be a dream for every TWD Fan, what can you say about working inside the Series?
3.) Filming that project was a bit surreal. You watch something for so long. In the case of TWD & Fear you see the culmination of so many creative and unique artists. When I was finally called I had to pinch myself! To step foot on that set and see the Hilltop first hand or sit next to Melissa McBride and Danai Gurira while trying to eat soup though a Whisperer mask is something pretty wild! The first day of filming was a bit of a blur. The show is filmed like a well oiled machine. Fast and furious compared to many. You have to take a step back, focus, and say "I'm finally here and now I need to do my part." The production is like a big family. Everyone makes you feel at home and welcome which really helps. On a side note! Having Laura Belsey at the helm and Caroline Duncan to work with and Hilde was a dream. Their focus, energy, and attention to detail was a blessing. If I could have a career working with artists of that caliber I would want for nothing more.
- TWD was just a step in your career, you also worked in "Bull" with former NCIS Star Michael Weatherly. What can you tell us about working with Michael and your role as Alvin?
4.) BULL was terrifying and fun! It was my first TV role. I had just been dropped by my agency a few months prior for "not booking enough jobs" and was left feeling like I'd never get a real shot. I was wrong. I was fortunate to find my family at AVALON and things started to look up. I remember walking onto the set for the first time (A huge airplane hangar of a studio in Brooklyn) and being so nervous and excited! My role was small but spread out in the episode so I had 10 days on set to get used to it. Again,
Other people came to the rescue. Michael Weatherly was totally welcoming as was everyone. I was terrified but to watch someone has relaxed and kind as Michael to watch you learn a ton and have fun doing it. I was surrounded by true professionals and they put me at ease. Brad Turner directed and was so patient with me as I was so nervous I could barely spit out a line. Athena Colon was a fellow juror in the episode. She's a star in the making and helped explain the ins and out of what was happening and how things on set worked. Im thankful for colleagues like them. I was totally green and ready to soak it up!
- Last year, 2020 , your work in one of my favorite series with James Spader "The Blacklist" How was it work in the Crime, Drama, Mystery series?
5.) The Blacklist was a pleasant surprise. I had read for the shows several years ago and gave an AWFUL audition. It was one of my first TV reads and I left thinking "They'll never call me again!" Luckily people can forget! I had filmed Law & Order and To Catch a Killer previously so I was no stranger to playing seedy characters. They are after all more fun to play! The shoot was really fast. I arrived on set a couple days after being cast. I shot my one scene and was home before lunchtime. Diego Klattenoff & Laura Sohn don't need many takes to get things right and Christine was perfect. We got it done in no time at all. Andrew McCarthy directed that episode which was probably the most surreal part of my day on set. It always rattles me up a bit when I stand next to artists of that caliber.
- James Spader has a reputation for being a perfectionist and not always easy on set. How was it work with him?
6.) I didn't work with James Spader during my time on set as he wasn't in my scene.
- Between TWD , Bull and The Blacklist you work also in other series like Law & Order New York and many more. What's your personal highlight so far Brian?
7.) I'm lucky enough to have sooooo many personal highlights. TWD was surreal, Working with IceT & Mariska is a dream, Delving deep with Beautiful Something , and working with wonderful production crews in Atlanta & NYC.. The PAs busting their butt, and the casting directors that give me more chances than I deserve. I guess it's all down to the people I've shared space with. They have changed me in ways they'll never know and at times kept me from giving up. I'd love to work with each person all over again.
- What can you tell us about Satan Is Not Dead (announced) and Father Martin?
8.) Satan is Not Dead is still in initial stages. The working parts are all there but the production is looking for funding. It's helmed by Mark Bessenger so you know it'll be gruesome, scary, and a ton of fun to make! You'll have to wait and find out for yourself :-)
- Is there any dream role or actor/actress you would loved to work in the future?
9.) I think about this a lot. I have so many! I'd kill to work with understated performers like Katja Herbers, Ben Mendelsohn, & Linda Cardellini. Denzel Washington, Mark Rylance, Rosemund Pike, & Maisie Williams are up there as well. I'd love to go back and work with some people a second time. Tommy Cullen, Clare Dunn, Colman Domingo, Aneurin Barnard & Eileen O'Higgins. I'd love how their work has developed over the years. Can I just work with everyone?!
As far as roles & productions! I have a secret little fantasy of working on all of these wonderful European projects people go crazy for. The Last Kingdom, The Crown, or the GOT spinoffs. I'd love truly transformative work and it's hard to find in the US. At least until you get to a certain level.
- Is there anything else you would like to let The Walking Dead/Bull/The Blacklist Fans and your fans know?
10.) THANK YOU. The kind letters and emails from people often come during tough times. A pandemic for instance. Those little kindnesses keep me going more than you realize. I save them all. On an exciting note! Keep an eye out for my next project!!!!! It'll hit the screen in March. I guess it'll have to stay a surprise...for now.