From film to television, Shaun Brown has worked on some of the biggest projects in entertainment. Now starring on “The Great Indoors,” the new hit CBS show with Joel McHale, he’s taking over the small screen. I caught up with the actor to talk shop and what’s challenged him about being a series regular on TV.
You’ve worked on many TV shows in a guest capacity. What draws you to TV as a medium of entertainment?
It wasn’t really a choice for me to go toward TV more so than film. Don’t get me wrong, I am super grateful for the work, but I didn’t sit down with my reps and say “Hey guys, only TV for me!” I will say, however, the two shows I recurred on (HBO’s “The Newsroom” and “True Blood”) were my favorite shows at the time. Television has morphed into something incredible as far as depth, characters and storytelling. I mean, you see these A-listers doing more TV and it’s because they see how great of a medium it has become. I was very fortunate with these fantastic opportunities in television, but I’m not biased to one or the other.
“The Great Indoors” is one of CBS’ biggest new shows. How have you been challenged so far as an actor with this show?
I have been challenged tremendously. Being a lead on a television show is different than anything I’ve ever experienced. When you are a guest star, you’re just there to serve the plot line and it’s more technical than anything. You come in and say your line and you’re out. When you’re a lead, you have more of a creative say. You also get to play more and explore. For me, my challenge has been to trust my instincts and be true to myself. It’s so fulfilling as an actor to create a character and bring him to life in a very dynamic way with a team of writers and producers who support that creative voice.
I want to ask you about short films since you’ve been in many of them. In today’s ever changing media landscape, where do short films fit in? What makes them viable and important ways of storytelling today?
I’ve done dozens of short films (most of which haven’t seen the light of day) and they are so much fun to do. In my experience, it’s put together by a director/writer who wants to get in the door of the industry by showing their creative uniqueness. So as far as how they fit in to today’s media landscape, they basically provide an upcoming director a way to showcase themselves so studios, producers and executive producers will take note. You can get a relatively cheap camera with amazing quality and create a short that looks like a million bucks for a fraction of that cost. For the actor, it’s a great way to jump into a role that you may not have been normally cast as, but you know you are capable. I mean, I’ve been a palm tree, a super hero, an alien possessed astronaut and a futuristic coal mining slave to name a few.
What can you tell me about Wilson, your new film with Woody Harrelson?
In Wilson, I have a cameo with Woody Harrelson in the beginning of the film that basically sets up Woody’s character as being a huge jerk. Woody plays a grumpy, horrible man named Wilson who is basically a lonely hermit. Our back and forth in the opening of the film sets that up hilariously to give better insight as to just how alone and grumpy he is.
What’s your dream?
My dream is helm my own production company that produces phenomenal work with minorities as the leads. I want to put Black, Latino and Asian men and women in the forefront with dynamic leading roles that shatter stereotypes. I love stories of overcoming dramatic obstacles and show how powerful the human spirit is. Pursuit of Happiness is one of my favorite films with one of my favorite messages. That message is that you can do anything you set your mind to and no one can stand in your way. Also, science fiction films with minorities as leading roles are something I’m passionate about. We can save the world from an alien invasion. We can do magical spells. I think the world is ready for that now.