IN CONVERSATION WITH BRANDON FLYNN
Brandon Flynn has proven himself a leading man with impressive artistry, a dynamic repertoire and remarkable humanity. He can be currently seen in David Bruckner’s ’Hellraiser’ for Hulu, the latest reimagination of the original 1987 cult classic horror film, which premiered domestically on 7 October.
Brandon, you’re starring in the horror film ‘Hellraiser’, which just premiered on Hulu. The anticipated feature film pays homage to what the first film created 35 years ago, but takes it to places it’s never been before. Tell us more about this 11th installment in the franchise and its story.
This ‘Hellraiser’ is a reimagining of the past ten and Clive Barker’s novel. And this one reimagines the box, the Cenobites, Pinhead, the Priestess. The casting I think is very imaginative and very modern, and I think brings the story to this day and age of core pleasure, pain and how far you’ll go.
How was it stepping onto this project, doing a reimagination of this 1987 cult classic horror film?
I was really excited to come on board. I’m a fan of horror genre just in general and ‘Hellraiser’ was something I had watched as a really young kid. The script’s great, the script is terrifying and lays out the themes and the mythology of the box really well. I got to revisit this movie that I had no idea what was going on way back when and now I’m like “Oh, so that’s happening”. So I feel honored to be a part of it. It feels like a legacy of sorts.
You recently wrapped production on Craig Johnson’s ’The Parenting’ for New Line/HBO Max, a new horror-comedy that centers around a young gay couple who host their inaugural parental meeting at a haunted house. How do horror and comedy balance each other out in this film?
I think Craig Johnson’s vision for the film was really imperative that we shoot it like a horror film. And I think the balancing act is really the actors who were hired to do the movie. You have Lisa Kudrow, you have Parker Posey, you have Edie Falco who’s insanely funny, Brian Cox, Dean Norris, Nik Dodani, all these comedy beasts of their own right. Once we got into playing in the shots, it just took a life of its own and we really played around with what was funny and what was scary. And I think it was just constantly having a focus on those two elements and seeing where we needed to go in each moment, which was imperative to make it work.
You’re also currently in production on AppleTV+ series ’Manhunt’, which will take audiences into the aftermath of the first American presidential assassination and the fight to preserve and protect the ideals that were the foundation of Lincoln’s Reconstruction plans. What attracted you to star in this semi-historical project?
I think with this project, the concepts of what was happening at the time, I didn’t have the full knowledge of what was going on when this all happened. I mean, the Civil War had just ended and three or four days later the first presidential assassination took place and the country was really at a strong divide with the Union and the Confederacy. And Lincoln had just pronounced that enslaved people were now free, but there was no real reconstruction in place for them. So on this manhunt for John Wilkes Booth that’s all happening in the background and I thought that was so interesting and complex and really raises the question of what is the right side of history and who’s on it. It’s always interesting to go back and see what is relatable to right now.
What can the viewers expect from this miniseries? Why do you think it will be a must for them to see?
I think it is going to be quite beautifully preserved and shot in a historical way. And also for people who have tuned into my work, I think it’s pretty exciting that I ride a horse.
Fans probably know you best as Justin from Netflix’s young adult phenomenon series ‘13 Reasons Why’. How do you look back on this role and what it meant for your career?
Justin means a lot to me. He helped me through many moments, as did the crew and cast of that show. I kind of always look back with fondness and I feel very lucky to have been a part of it. And it still surprises me when people are tuning in just now to see it or people who have watched it from the beginning are now in college or in the midst of their lives outside of high school. This show did something for me and I’m really proud of that.
Is there anything that you really miss about this show and being on the set of ’13 Reasons Why’?
Yeah, the cast and the crew. We spent five years together, so you’re just a family and it was such a joy to go to work every day with people that you’re completely enamored with. And I haven’t been on a show of that landscape, so that’s something I definitely miss.
If you had a chance to grow up again, what would be your best advice to your younger self?
The advice to my younger self I think it’s the advice I still give to myself today, which is don’t care so much what other people think and you’re good in your heart and take up space.
And what was the best advice that you’ve ever received in your life?
Be the light, don’t show the light.
Brandon, what made you choose acting as your career?
I honestly kind of fell into it. It was something that was happening while I was in school and kind of was forced into a play when I was about 10. I really dragged my feet through it, I didn’t learn my lines or anything. And then the night of the show, I just went on there and I was Mr. Smee in Peter Pan and I kind of just fumbled my way through it and my teacher looked at me and my parents and just said “You should make sure he continues on with this, because he had no idea what he was doing and somehow managed to steal the show”. Which I don’t advise to anyone to do, you should know what you’re doing. I was a child, whose parents would every year be encouraging to try this sport, try that sport, try something that sticks. And acting just kind of stuck and it really was from that moment on that I just kept thinking about it and going for it and really getting into the craft of it. And here we are.
Have you ever, while growing up, thought about doing something else in life?
Yeah, I always fantasized about being like a rock star, like a front man of a band. I don’t have any capability to play instruments, but I’m gonna try to learn. I say that every year.
interview by JANA LETONJA
talent BRANDON FLYNN
photography AGATA SERGE
styling AVO YERMAGYAN / FORWARD ARTISTS
grooming KUMI CRAIG / THE WALL GROUP
DOP SZYMON GOSLAWSKI
editor TIMOTEJ LETONJA