Pop-Culturalist Chats with 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: 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.
Photo Credit: AwesomenessTV