A little less than a year ago Brea Grant was still relatively under the radar, making her debut on Heroes as the speedy Daphne Middlebrook. How the times have changed. Grant and brother Zane have their own zombie comic, We Will Bury You, coming out in 2010, Brea has been featured in Elle Magazine, and she will appear as Mya Rockwell, Laurie Strode’s best friend, in Rob Zombie’s Halloween 2. If you’re not on the Brea bandwagon yet, now would be a good time. There isn’t much room left.
Grant chatted with us about her experience working with Zombie, her time at this year’s Comic-Con and why Halloween 2 will stand apart from the rest of horror films today. Also, be sure to check out Brea Grant’s blog. She keeps you posted on everything going on in her world, including suggesting great music and philanthropic causes. How many actors or actresses do you know that do that without gloating about it in the press?
FSR: You were at Comic-Con. What was that like?
Brea Grant: It was really fun. I went last year for like a day and Heroes hadn’t aired yet, so nobody really recognized me. Maybe a few die hard fans did. This year was a little different. (Laughs.) A lot of people recognized me and wanted pictures taken but it was really fun to see all the fans. We talked about the comic book I have coming out and stuff.
Awesome. We talked to you a little less than a year and things have really picked up. Do you want to talk about your comic a bit?
Sure. It’s called We Will Bury You and it will be out on IDW next year. I collaborated with my brother. Kyle Strahm is doing the art. It’s a zombie comic set in the 1920’s. It’s super fun. As an actor you get to sit around a lot and wait for someone to call us and say, ‘Hey, come be in this movie.’ It’s one of the reasons I got into it but it also kind of sucks. This comic is something I can control, you know?
I’ve always written stuff. I read a lot of comics and it seemed like it’d be maybe less time consuming than to write a novel. Not that writing a comic is easy! It’s actually very hard. Anyone who does it for a living, my hat is off to them. It’s very hard.
It makes sense because I think as an actor you are essentially a cog in the wheel. It’s somewhat organic but creating your own story, I won’t say is more fruitful, but it’s a different form of creativity.
Right. Unless you’re in acting classes or at home doing monologues, which I’m definitely not, there is this creative part that you only get to use during auditioning or filming something. And maybe I should be at home learning monologues every day but it feels like I should try different things. Writing is something I have always done in my spare time. I have plays I wrote when I was eight years old. I actually feel more comfortable sitting behind my computer and coming up with ideas instead of being in front of the camera. I don’t know what that means for me in the future. (Laughs.)
(Laughs.) Well you seem to be doing okay. You also recorded a synth-pop zombie album.
Yeah, well we knew we were going to Comic-Con and didn’t have anything coming out until next year, so we decided, in the spirit of our punk rock roots, to record an album like super lo-fi on computer software and make them all about zombies. Each song would be told from the point of view of a character in a zombie film that we really love. Our comic is a zombie comic so we just made people trade us something for it.
That is awesome. I mean the album is partially titled Zombi 2. Any time a zombie fights a shark, well you know it’s epic.
Right. And the album is all very made in fun. I mean it’s called Brea and Zane Sing Their Greatest Hits. You know we don’t have any hits. I mean I hope people get that. I’m not sure everyone understood it was a joke. (They laugh.) People were looking at us like we were crazy. Eventually Zane and I started walking around the floor to comic artists we liked and asked, ‘Do you want to trade us for our CD?’ I mean they didn’t know we were and thought we were crazy. But kudos to them because they traded us art and some things.
That’s great. You have appreciate the irony of a fanboy smugly asking, ‘Who are you,” as they wait in line to get a comic autographed. So you’re in Halloween 2. I can’t say many people have heard of the franchise or who this alleged Robert Zombie is but I hear it’s a pretty big deal. (They laugh.) How did you get involved with it?
I auditioned while I was on Heroes. I knew I was going to be off Heroes. I may have been shooting my last episode but I went around that time. Rob was already prepping so they put me on tape. It was great. My manager and I really pushed for that movie because it was my first big feature. I’d never done something that would be released in theaters. (Laughs.) I mean I’ve done lots of indies but I wanted something like that under my belt, and there’s nothing better than Halloween! You grow up with it, right? It’s part of my childhood so that was exciting. To go from Heroes to that was nice. It was sad to leave Heroes but to go from one thing I loved to another was really exciting.
Halloween is hands down my favorite horror franchise so I’ve been excited to see what Rob Zombie will do with it. It looks like he is finally telling his own story. Everything in horror has been so watered down. There’s so many remakes that we don’t need a John Carpenter tribute and it’s a waste of Zombie’s talent to do that.
Right. I mean John Carpenter is a genius and one of my favorite filmmakers of all-time. But Rob took creative license with this one and made it completely different than the original, unless the same characters and same week make it the same. This one is much more psychological. In a lot of sequels I’ve seen, you know, I don’t see this. I mean if your family was killed in front of you in real life, you’d be pretty messed up. I mean you’re fucked. (AS laughs.) So he kind of addresses what happens to her fucked up life. It shows Laurie’s downward spiral, her psychological downward spiral and the people she is hanging out with aren’t that good for her. I play her best friend. It’s how she is dealing with all this trauma in her.
As much as I like the original Halloween 2 it’s like so many films just have characters blandly reacting by saying, ‘Oh well, I guess we will miss that date with Ben Traimer.’ What was it like to prepare and work with Rob, but also to work on a horror film. I mean is it different than being on Heroes?
It is and it isn’t. For one, Rob is very open to input and ideas. He likes improvising. He wrote the film and wanted to know what we thought the characters would be like. TV isn’t like that. The Heroes writers were cool and wanted our input but it went so quickly. I mean we never even rehearsed on Heroes. You showed up to the set and had to know what you were doing. Out here we had time. I mean it was a quick shoot, only five or six weeks. But Rob was cool about anything we wanted to try. He trusted his actors to fulfill his vision. That’s sort of a rambling answer but it is different. There’s more blood in horror but actually not as much as on Heroes! There was a lot of blood on Heroes. But it felt like a different process.
It seems like it’s going to be a good film. One of the things that stood out to me about his first Halloween is that he pays tribute to the original without pointing to the camera and winking. Like Danielle Harris comes back and if you’re a fan of the Halloween films, or I guess Don’t Tell Mom’s the Babysitter’s Dead, you get to see her.
She’s in this one too.
Yeah, I saw that. Very cool. We definitely need something different than what the Friday the 13th remake was, for example.
Rob is such a different director. It’s funny looking at his monitor and seeing what he is doing. He kept saying, “We’re just trying to make it not look like a movie.” He did not want it to look clean. He doesn’t want his characters to look clean. We hardly wore make-up at all. He wanted it to look very real and gritty, and I think that adds to the fear factor. It makes it scarier when things are a little less polished because it looks like real life. People don’t have flawless skin in real life. They have bags under their eyes when they’re tired. He focuses on that. That is what makes the movie different than a lot of the other horror movies out there.
I can agree with that. I think a lot of Hollywood has forgotten that the success of a horror film is largely based on the audience’s ability to relate to it. Even though Michael Myers represents this somewhat unrealistic form of evil, the situations Laurie and her friends are put in with him are very scary.
Yeah, Rob is such a visual director. I mean Tyler Mane, who plays Michael Myers, is such a huge person. Like I saw a scene and he doesn’t even look like a normal human being. He’s that big. And that’s scary to me. It’s scary to think about someone twice my size coming after me with a knife. (Laughs.)
It is definitely overwhelming. Speaking of another classic franchise, Robert Rodriguez, another Austinite, is setting up Predators. You mentioned before that you loved Predator. Are you going to go after that?
Yeah, I didn’t even know he was doing that.
Yep, apparently he is going to produce it and have it set on the Predator’s homeworld.
That’s really cool. I saw that he is doing Machete and I thought that’s really cool. I really like him as a director but I don’t really know him. So I can’t call him up and say, ‘Please let me be in Predators!’ I auditioned for Shorts but I didn’t get it back before I even got Heroes.
That’s cool. In the future, how can people check out your stuff? You have a blog that has a lot of interesting stuff on it. I saw the link to The Dirty Projectors video. They were in Austin a few weeks ago.
Oh they were?
Yeah. I want to see them when they come back around.
Yeah, I like them.
How can people learn more about your projects?
My blog is the easiest way. I am on Twitter (@breagrant) more than any person should be. My web publicist has been getting onto me for not having a mailing list, so I have that now. I do a lot of random stuff. I’ll do random interviews. I have two web series coming out soon. If you want to know more, and I know mailing lists annoy me, but you can totally join that.
Sounds good. Well if we don’t see you survive in Halloween 2 then maybe we can talk about your shocking role as the Predator soon.
That would be amazing. Please tell Robert Rodriguez I want that part.
(Laughs.) That’s exactly what I’ll do. As soon as I see him I will walk up to him and say, ‘Hi Robert. You have no idea who I am but you know who’d be a great Predator? Brea Grant.’
(Laughs.) Do it. I mean I’m not intimidating at all but I think it could work.
You know what though? You put some platforms on and you’d at least be taller than Jean-Claude Van Damme.
You know, I am actually pretty intimidating so this will totally work.
That’s why we have to do the phone interviews, it’s too intimidating in person. Well thanks for your time, Brea.
You can see Brea Grant in Halloween 2 on August 28th in theaters.