Pop-Culturalist Chats with Brant Daugherty

Brant Daugherty

Pretty Little Liars’ Brant Daugherty is an actor who continues to push his limits—both physically and emotionally. For his next role he’ll star as Jake, a survivor who can’t remember his past, on the second season of Hulu and AwesomenessTV’s breakout zombie horror hit, Freakish. It’s a character unlike any he’s previously played and his most transformative performance to date. Even his cast members didn’t recognize him! Pop-Culturalist sat down with Brant to chat about what drew him to the project, what he’s most excited for fans to see, and how he prepared.

P-C: What drew you to this project?
Brant: That’s a great question! Jake, my character, is unlike any role I’ve been able to play thus far. Jake taps into the primal side of humanity, and it’s something that I found so interesting to explore. I came from Pretty Little Liars where I played a very manipulative, sociopathic character: Noel Kahn. It’s interesting to see how Jake interacts with the world. It’s very simple but very ferocious.

P-C: So, he’s one of the new characters that joined this new season. What is his overall character arc and involvement in the story?
Brant: Jake is one of the new cast [members], and he is part of this new group that’s involved with our previous characters. He’s very protective of his group. He’s a survivor, and he will do anything it takes to keep his group alive.

P-C: When you’re talking about his group, what can you tease about his relationship with Birdie and Earl?
Brant: Jake is sort of Birdie’s guardian, in a way. He is worried, first and foremost, about her safety. Earl is also a survivor. He’s very tough and smart, but he’s a little rough around the edges. I feel like Jake is a little skeptical of his involvement.

Brant DaughertyPhoto Credit: AwesomenessTV
P-C: How does Jake’s past with Keller Chemicals kind of affect him throughout the series?
Brant: Jake essentially has no past. He has a set of skills and a set of knowledge that is very useful in survival situations, but has a very limited memory before a few weeks ago. I would equate him to, like, Jason Bourne. He is unaware of why he knows all the things that he knows, but he knows them and keeps everyone alive.

P-C: How did you get into character, both emotionally and physically?
Brant: Physically, it was interesting actually. I always thought of Jake as a silverback gorilla, and I wanted to incorporate those movements into the way he interacts physically. There’s a lot of pounding overhead and a lot of very brutal, savage moves. He doesn’t display a lot of finesse. Emotionally, it was an interesting process. I gave him a set of very primal, instinctive things that he needed to act on, and I just let him loose into this world.

P-C: Was there any initiation between the new actors that are doing the show? How did you guys bond with the existing cast?
Brant: They welcomed us with open arms, to be honest. They were very excited to have new blood in the group. I will say one interesting thing. I think it was maybe episode eight or nine of ten episodes and I was sitting talking to Liza Koshy. We were talking about Pretty Little Liars. I mentioned I was on the show, and she looks to me and goes, ‘You were on Pretty Little Liars? Who did you play?’ I said, ‘I played Noel,’ and her eyes got big and she said, ‘I didn’t even recognize you for eight weeks!’ I think that might have been the biggest compliment I could get.

P-C: What are some of the biggest differences between Noel from Pretty Little Liars and Jake from Freakish?
Brant: I would say Noel was trying to outsmart everyone all the time, and he was only ever worried about himself; whereas Jake is solely worried about Birdie and her survival at his own expense. If there were two words that could explain the difference, they would be selfish versus selfless.

P-C: What’s your #1 survival tip?
Brant: Trust no one.

P-C: What are you most excited for fans to see?
Brant: I’m just excited for everybody to see a different side of me. I have done nothing like this in my career. It’s a very different departure from everything I’ve been able to play—to the point where I walked into the casting office, read for all the producers and directors and executives, I left the room, and I heard they all went, ‘That was Noel Kahn?’ That’s exciting—to be able to show some range, something different.

P-C: Besides Freakish, where can fans see you next?
Brant: Season two of Relationship Status will be airing this fall on Verizon go90, and I would highly recommend everybody to go see Fifty Shades Freed.

Pop-Culturalist Speed Round

P-C: Guilty pleasure TV show?
Brant: This is Us! I don’t know how guilty that is, to be honest with you. I’m just very obsessed with it at the moment.

P-C: You star alongside Milo Ventimiglia in Relationship Status, right?
Brant: Yeah! And it’s been renewed for season two and three!

P-C: Do you have a guilty pleasure movie?
Brant: Half Baked

P-C: Favorite book?
Brant: Brave New World

P-C: A favorite play or musical?
Brant: My favorite musical is Les Miserables and favorite play is A Summer Night’s Dream

P-C: Favorite social media platform?
Brant: Nowadays, I gotta go with Instagram. It used to be Twitter, but now Twitter’s too angry!

P-C: A band or artist that fans would be surprised to learn is on your playlist?
Brant: Frank Sinatra

P-C: Hidden talent?
Brant: I can cross one eye at a time.

Make sure to follow Brant on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and check out season two of Freakish on Hulu!

Photo Credit: AwesomenessTV


Kevin is a writer living in New York City. He is an enthusiast with an extensive movie collection, who enjoys attending numerous conventions throughout the year. His favorite shows include Riverdale, The Gifted, Marvel's Runaways, and The Flash. Say hi on Twitter!

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