This week, I get to chat with two actors that genre television fans may recognize, even if you don’t know their names. Twin brothers Brad and Todd Mann have appeared on SMALLVILLE, BATTLESTAR: GALACTICA, THE 4400, and most recently the CLUE mini-series on The Hub.
ANTHONY: Brad, Todd, thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions.
Brad and Todd: Thanks for thinking of us!
ANTHONY: Let’s start with your most recent project: The Hub’s CLUE mini-series. How did you get involved with the show?
B and T: Like any project we auditioned for it and beat out the other actors for the roles (laughs).
B: With Clue, I got excited about the characters almost immediately…
T: Ya, it’s fair to say that we both were very interested in playing these henchmen… we’re always on the lookout for twin roles that are actually written how twins actually talk…
B: Like how we always talk over each other, and not just every line being said at the same time!
ANTHONY: You play the brutish but still somewhat sort of likable henchmen from The House of Plum. If CLUE is picked up for future seasons, what kind of character development would you like to see for them?
B: um… to not die for starters, that is NEVER good for recurring parts (laughs).
T: As an actor of course we get countless ideas for the development of our characters, but in the end it’s up to the writers. In this case, Raven Metzner is easily one of the best writers we have worked with so far and we would look forward to any direction he decided to take us!
ANTHONY: WC Fields famously said “Never work with animals or children.” But from following them on Twitter, it seems like the young stars of CLUE are among the nicest and most professional kids out there. How was working with them? Any stand-out moments or behind-the-scenes stories you can share?
B and T: All 6 of the kids (as well as Kacey who played Sarah) were amazing to work with!
T: It’s funny how you get a different energy whether you’re working with just the kids, just the adults, or a combination of both…
B: Yes… with the kids they liked to joke around between takes sometimes and we enjoyed it… Todd and myself are big kids ourselves so we had fun exchanging funny faces, telling fart jokes, and playing “hide the actor’s chair”.
ANTHONY: Okay, now I have to ask: what was the most creative or unusual place someone found to hide an actor’s chair?
T: … or we could just tell you the chair story that started it all. (laughs)
B: Yes, the kids had already been filming for a week and it was our first day of shooting. There was a lot of cast on set and there wasn’t enough director-style chairs for everyone…
T: We don’t really care about stuff like that but we still wanted a place to sit with the other cast. Being creative, we grabbed a few small fold-out chairs and used masking tape to stick our names on them.
B: Ya, it was funny… the biggest guys on the smallest chairs (laughs).
T: During a shot where Brad and I were filming, Sterling (aka Mr.Green) re-taped HIS name over mine so he now had two chairs and I again had none…
B: At this point all of us had already been joking around so we all found it pretty funny (laughs)…. It wasn’t over for Todd, though…
T: Nope… I just waited for all 6 “kids” to be on set filming and proceeded to tape my name over Sterling’s big chair, leaving him the small one as I am a generous guy (Brad and Todd both laugh).
B: Ya, the whole ordeal made for many laughs from cast and crew alike and we all started becoming closer friends as a result. (united laughter and smiles)
ANTHONY: Looking over Brad’s IMDb page (and Todd, brother, you need to get them to do something with yours!), you guys have guested on a number of the hottest genre shows of the past few years: Galactica, Supernatural, and of course Smallville. Is the science fiction/fantasy resume partially because of how many of those shows film in the Vancouver area, or are you just more drawn to those projects than regular cop or hospital type dramas?
T: Haha IMDb… They leave so much work out, I stopped checking my profile (laughs).
B: To answer your question, we loooooove doing Sci Fi…
T: Loooooove it!!!
B: Other genres are fun too, but we both got into acting because we love playing roles that are anything but how we normally are… and science fiction roles (like our super-powered villains on Smallville) are a blast!!!
T: Ya, we spend the days playing make-believe!!! It couldn’t get more fun that that, could it?
ANTHONY: As a Smallville fan (and a comic book fan), I have to ask about your episode of that show. What was that experience like, especially the heavy-duty makeup for your parts?
B: Ahhhh… being sprayed albino took almost 3 hours every morning. That, combined with having our heads shaved (and bleached) and the red eye contacts were one of the coolest parts of the job!
T: Absolutely! That kind of stuff really helped us get into character. For the most part all the cast and crew confessed that they were entertained but I can’t help but think we freaked out a few…
B: Hahaha, and we had a blast being creepy all day every day… It suited the characters (smiles).
ANTHONY: “We had a blast being creepy all day long…” So would you consider yourselves “method actors?” haha
T: When I think of “method actors”, I think of actors like Daniel Day Lewis who remain in character from the start of pre-production all the way through filming.
B: for sure! …for the Smallville villains we had so much fun being inside the characters that we would often find ourselves playing “in character” off camera as well.
T: haha We even creeped out one of the producers’ kids to the point where she froze on the spot and asked quietly for us to stop.
B: She was adorable so we couldn’t help but break character to make her feel more comfortable.
T: Except we still looked super scary aaaand I had a prosthetic nail in my hand.
B&T: so yeah, I guess you could say that we are both part-time method actors (combined laughter)
ANTHONY: Vancouver has a great film and television industry, but have you ever considered moving to the Los Angeles area as so many Canadian actors have?
T: Though Vancouver will always be our home base, of course we’ve considered moving to L.A.
B: It’s just that there is still a lot of really good shows filmed here so we haven’t bothered trying to get work visas… yet. Personally, I’m still waiting to see if I can just marry an American woman and save myself the hassle! (wink)
ANTHONY: I’m sure you get this a lot, but has being twins made building your career easier or harder?
B and T: For us, way easier!!! Not many twins act which has enabled us to book more than our fair share of twin roles… Even when we audition individually we get a chance to do the roles two different ways, and if one books it the other one gets a percentage of the earnings, so there is no animosity!
T: To be successful in acting we’ve always thought it’s best to take the one thing that sets you a part from other actors and use it to your advantage. For us our originality is our similarity.
ANTHONY: What do you guys do when you’re not filming anything? Other than auditioning for more roles, I mean?
B: We just hang out like everyone else, I guess… Watch movies, play video games, hang out with friends…
T: Yup yup… and we both really like golf, hiking, snowboarding, and other outdoor activities… depends on the mood I guess, We do a little of everything!!
ANTHONY: What charities or causes are important to you both?
B and T: Anything to do with kids is a great cause!
ANTHONY: What’s next for you guys? Any projects coming up that you can talk about?
B: Not at the moment…. We both enjoy taking the holiday season off like everyone else (laughs).
T: But we fully intend on hitting the ground running in the new year so expect more to come from us in 2012!
ANTHONY: And my usual closing question: For each of you, what is your favorite book, and what would you say to someone who hasn’t read it to convince them that they should?
B: My favorite book is Journey of Souls by Dr. Michael Newton. It’s a real case study of hypnotized subjects who relate their memories between lives! As a student of human nature and life experience the after-life interests me greatly, so if you want an uplifting scientific explanation of the meaning of life than this is definitely a book for you!
T: Darn, he stole my answer (laughs).
ANTHONY: Thanks again, guys!
B and T: Anytime!!! Thanks for the great questions! Have a great 2012!!!