Lucas Bryant Talks Shoot the Messenger

[Warning: General spoilers ahead.]

This Monday on Shoot the Messenger, the plot thickens when we find out there’s more than one player in the mix with something to hide. Daisy and Simon chase that down while Hassan mulls a bold play and Kevin reworks his warrant and stumbles into his own new evidence. Mary reveals a connection to the case, as well.

When I chatted with Lucas Bryant, we discussed that it looks like Simon might be about to blow up his life now that he’s working so closely with Daisy. In tomorrow’s episode, Simon talks a little bit about the allure of chasing this story. Bryant went a little further, discussing the constraints that Simon has submitted himself to and is now chafing against.

“It was a really interesting process. In my envisioning of the character, I didn’t see this conservative well-dressed guy. My initial stereotypical feeling about him was he was a bit sloppy, messy. His physical appearance and clothing are not his fist concern … he’s a bit more cerebral,” he explains.

“It took a minute for me to wrap my head around who he was once we started having more conversations with the wardrobe designer and Sudz [Sutherland] and Jen [Holness]. Also, he drives a red Audi, which is not something I [expected] initially. Not too many newspaper writers are spending their paychecks on red Audis.”

“That turned into something. Every time there’s a roadblock or a speed bump or a question, it’s interesting for an actor to push against it and find something new and specific. So the story became that Simon, in some ways, is a kept man. His fiancée [Cassie, played by Wynonna Earp‘s Rayisa Kondracki] comes from money. Her family has some money. Their house is probably provided by her family’s money.”

“There’s a line [in Episode 4] that explains the car is not his. I hate to use the word ‘organic,’ but it was an organic discovery of who this guy is and gave me another layer of understanding why he may feel a bit trapped or want to rebel against his normal, the life he finds himself in now. What we see is a guy whose fiancée dresses him, houses him, and gives him his ride, and that’s maybe not who he is on the inside.”

Simon’s fiancée isn’t his only emotional entanglement, as we discovered last week with the reveal that Mary is so familiar with Simon because they had a relationship that she ended. “There’s something more to Simon and Mary’s relationship. Interestingly, it’s not really explored. I thought that was kind of fresh,” Bryant points out.

“So often, you get a tease in an episode that suggests something you’re about to explore in a subsequent episode. There’s a little more information that comes out, but it’s something that’s kind of left alone. I thought that was nicely ambiguous and adult.”

One of the joys of this project for Bryant was reuniting with Nicholas Campbell. Haven fans will recall that Campbell played Nathan’s dad on that series, and although the two don’t share scenes in Shoot the Messenger, Bryant was thrilled to be working with him again.

“I love him personally and professionally in all ways. When I saw what he was doing with just tiny, beautiful moments … I’m continuously impressed and in awe of him,” he says. “He is just completely committed and fantastic and … it’s a beautiful relationship that he has with his daughters. It’s a lovely, lovely performance.”

Switching gears from genre to procedural was a nice change for Bryant. “So much of the challenge in Haven was to consistently try to find the humanity and real connections in this otherwise unreal and supernatural world. As an actor, it’s challenging to work with green screen or things we couldn’t see on the day we were shooting it,” he says.

“I didn’t have to deal with that on Shoot the Messenger. The challenge [here] is finding myself in a completely different world with a completely different style and speed and rhythm. Once I realized what I was doing, it was incredible.”

Bryant was particularly moved by the scene early in the series where Simon and Daisy go to the Imam’s house to apologize. “That was a wrenching scene. That was powerful to watch and when I read it, and in the doing of it,” he recalls. “It really stuck with me. That’s just me witnessing it, that’s not about me as an actor.”

This past summer, Bryant appeared in his second Hallmark Channel movie of 2016, Summer Love, and had a ball with his co-stars, Rachael Leigh Cook and Travis Milne. “That was a stupid fun shoot. It was wildly different from this, obviously. Great people, funny, fun script and we got to play around,” he says. “[We were] really supported by the director, Lynne [Stopkewich], and Beth Grossbard, the producer, made an incredibly easy and fun palette to play in.”

When we spoke last month, Bryant hadn’t yet booked his next role, although personally, I’d  be surprised if we don’t see him pop up in one of the upcoming Hallmark holiday films — there are over 20 of them in various states of production. “I would love to pepper my year with wildly different projects,” he says. “Something gritty, something light, something stupid, something foreign, something black and white. I love all of it.”

Shoot the Messenger airs Mondays at 9 pm/9:30 NT on CBC. Here’s a sneak peek of  “Careful What You Pray For.”


Photos Courtesy of CBC and Crown Media; Video Courtesy of CBC.

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