Yahoo Interview - 1999
A yahoo interview Jonathan did as part of the promo for 'Ride With the Devil'. Unformatted.
Jonathan Brandis, September 7, 1999
TV Guide: Jonathan Brandis, one of the stars of the new movie Outside
Providence, is here to talk about the new movie, the upcoming Ride with the
Devil, Ladybugs, and the
series seaQuest. Thanks for coming.
Brandis: Hello! I have no real opening statement here!
Macrodgers: Just how long have you been acting? I first remember you in The
Neverending Story. What was before that?
Brandis: I did a couple of movies before that film. I did a film called
Stepfather 2 which was a really low budget horror film and a comedy with Louie
Anderson before that. And basically The Neverending Story was my first big
film. Before that I had done a lot of commercials in New York City, and some
episodic TV work, guest spots and stuff. I started acting when I was about
four, got in really young. Started in NYC and then moved out to LA.
Scarletrose17: Was it hard to play a druggie in Her Last Chance? (Which by the
way, you were so good in!)
Brandis: I actually hadn't done any of the drugs, the hardcore drugs, the guy
had done in the film. So I called a friend of mine who had a little bit of a
problem at one point in his life, and asked him about some of the experiences
he had. It's nice to have those kinds of resources, even though it was too bad
he had to have gone through that stuff. It was educational, one of the most
daunting roles that I've had, and I'm pretty proud of it.
georgie_elf: How are you finding it, working in the bigger budget movies after
your time on TV/TV movies? Apart from Ride with the Devil, are you going to be
blessing our screens again in the near future?
Brandis: Ride With the Devil was the last film that I did. That's coming out
in November. And I think there are a couple of television series, one on the
WB that I MIGHT be doing. Then there is a miniseries I may do next month. I'm
just auditioning for a lot of movies right now. I'm not in the status where I
get offered films, so it's just take it as they come.
deon_elf: What was the most challenging role you've ever played?
Brandis: Hmm. I don't know how challenged I've been yet, I don't think there
has been a role that I've had to research a lot or really had a lot of trouble
with. Ride With the Devil required some training to do some of the stuff we
had to like shoot guns, and not only shoot guns, but learn how to load and
clean and assemble these guns, which were of course 19th century muskets. And
we had to learn how to ride horses, which I hadn't done a lot. So physically
it was challenging. And on top of that we had to go into the gym and work out,
and there was a lot of history we had to learn for the film. So I guess that
film would be the one.
j_t_walsh: Are you a fan of Ang Lee's previous movies?
Brandis: Yes, actually I auditioned for The Ice Storm. I really didn't get
that close on it. Toby McGuire had it way before I did, I think he was cast
the same day I auditioned for it. I am a fan of that film and Sense and
Sensibility which I rented when I learned I got Ride with the Devil. He has a
keen eye for detail, and a lot of his films take place in very unique points
in time. He definitely has an affinity for detail and perfection when it comes
to recreating certain moments in history, which I appreciated and admired.
tiff_girl_sq: Was any of Outside Providence actually shot in RI?
Brandis: It was shot entirely in Rhode Island. We shot the film in 1997, and
it took unusually long to come out. We had to go back, actually, earlier this
year, and shoot more stuff in Providence. I think the Farrelly brothers are
originally from Rhode Island. They actually shoot all their movies in Rhode
Island. They were shooting Something About Mary at the same time we were
shooting Outside Providence.
georgie_elf: There are rumors floating around about an unproduced script you
wrote for third season in seaQuest 2032. Are these rumors true, and where
would us eager little Questies get our dirty hands on it? (Great job on
"Siamese Dream" by the way, very ELFy)
Brandis: That's interesting. Yes. I wrote three episodes, one was produced. We
were five episodes away from shooting the episode that I wrote in the third
season, which I was also slated to direct, and then the show got cancelled! So
we never got to make it. I guess I have a couple of copies, whoever wants to
get it can somehow get in touch with me.
MrSparex: I spoke with Paul Meir, Ride With The Devil's dialect coach. I asked
him how you did when learning your dialect for the movie. He said you were a
wonderful student. Can you tell me about the dialect you did in the movie?
Brandis: It's a very deep Southern accent. Ang Lee gave us the freedom to
explore different kings of southern accents, because there are many. I decided
maybe this guy was from a very southern part of Missouri. The accents are
broken up into sections of the state in the south, so we all had very distinct
southern accents. It was a deep Southern accent.
Earth2Kim: How do you handle nervousness?
Brandis: I really don't seem to get nervous so much I don't think.
MrSparex: I heard you were going to college. Is this true and what are you
Brandis: No I never went to college. The years when I would have gone to
college I was on Seaquest. I thought about taking some courses at one point
but never got around to it. I'm just an uneducated actor, I guess, a dropout.
malone_elf: What was your favorite episode of SeaQuest?
Brandis: Maybe the one where we're stuck in the lifeboat in the Bermuda
triangle. We shot it at Universal Studios. Shooting it was a lot of fun.
Spielberg came by the set a couple of times. It was fun cause it was shot in
the same lake that they shot some of the Jaws movies, the back lot at
dagrgirl: What is your favorite thing to do to kill time?
Brandis: I like to write. I wrote and directed a short film this past spring.
I like to go out at night in LA when I'm not working. There's not really a lot
of stuff to do in LA, so I hang out with my friends. Go out to clubs,
audition, that's kind of my afternoon past time every other day. It's pretty
uneventful. I don't get to travel as much as I'd like to, but when I'm working
it gets me out of town fortunately.
dagrgirl: If you could work on any currently running TV show, what would it
Brandis: There are a couple of cable shows I like, a Showtime show called
Beggers and Choosers that my friend Charlotte is on, it's an inside industry
show. I don't really watch a lot of television. I probably wouldn't ever do a
sitcom. But I would like to do an hour long drama or something, which might
dagrgirl: What has been the scariest experience of your life? Or happiest?
Brandis: Scariest? Happiest? I'm happy when I'm working and doing something
productive. Actually on a set, not sitting in a trailer. I've been doing it
most of my life and I'm comfortable with it. I've never really been in an
accident or anything like that. There was a scene in Ride With the Devil when
we had like 500 civil war re-enactors, riding horses. And I was in front of
these guys, riding my horse, and I was falling off, holding on by the side,
and if I had fallen off I probably would have died cause there were all these
horses and carriages all around me. That was probably the closest near death
experience I've had. That and the time I went skydiving.
chicacaliente19: How did your bird Ernie die?
Brandis: My cat killed him.
MrSparex: I was wondering how is that adorable pooch Meagan doing?
Brandis: Oh, Meagan died too. Meagan died two years ago. She had a tumor in
her mouth and by the time we found it, it was too late, and we had to put her
to sleep. Bye Meagan, bye Ernie!
cammy_elf: I saw Outside Providence and you only had a small part. What part
will you be playing in Ride with The Devil?
Brandis: They completely cut me out of Outside Providence. So much so that I
was originally the guy that dies in the film instead of the other kid and then
they changed it. I kind of got the short end of that deal. Ride with the
Devil, I play one of the bushwackers, the southern guerilla freedom fighters.
And I'm friends with Toby McGuire, and Skeet Ulrich.
jdisher99: What are some of your favorite books/authors?
Brandis: One of my favorite authors is Jon Krakauer, who wrote Into Thin Air,
and Into The Wild. He's a terrific writer and they are two of my favorite
books. I like Michael Crichton and Stephen King. I'm a big Edgar Allen Poe fan
and Craig Hosoda, The Bare Facts, where you can find all of your favorite
celebrities naked in movies. I highly recommend the book! I went through a
whole thing when I was like 16 and rented a bunch of movies and did the Bare
Facts thing. That ended about a week ago!
Destiny_37272: Are you judging the AFI Visions of U.S. contest in 2000? If
not, you really need to judge again.
Brandis: Yeah, I judged one year, and no, I'm not judging it again as far as I
MrSparex: Did you do a partnership against drugs commercial that shows a girl
drowning? It sounds like your voice!
Brandis: Yes I did. I did it like four years ago, and I think they just
started running it again.
stephanie1979a: Do you still want to direct someday and give the older pros
some young competition?
Brandis: Well, yeah, I was kind of planning to do that with SeaQuest, and I
did this short film in March. It's always been an occupation I'd like to
tackle. I've worked with many directors, some good, some bad, but being on the
set for so many years, I feel like I've gained a pretty solid education. That
explores the infrastructure in that atmosphere so I think I could do it well.
babyblue22579: What is your favorite/most rewarding role? Also, you've worked
with some great people, did any of them have a profound impact?
Brandis: Roy Scheider was a big influence, I think he's a fine actor, I think
he was a little out of his element on SeaQuest. But he gave very instructional
guidance and advice. And I think Ang was probably the best director I've
worked with, terrific. I did an episode of Webster in 1988! I was the cousin
that came in and stole some stuff or something. But Emmanuel Lewis was a big
influence on me.
jesman_elf: In "Reunion" (third season SQ) what were you and Ted Raimi
laughing about in that one scene?
Brandis: We had done a very, very concentrated amount of whippets, and we were
actually laughing at Ted's fingernails, which appeared to be growing.
TV Guide: Thanks for chatting with us Jonathan. Any words before you go?
Brandis: Check out Ride With the Devil, and probably a show next spring. And