I recently participated in a Q&A with actor Matt Murray, who plays Brian on ABC Family’s Kevin From Work. He provided answers to questions ranging from how he pursued his acting career to those on his character, Brian and Kevin From Work. Read on to find out what he had to say.
What made you go to Toronto to become an actor rather than Hollywood or New York?
“Well, I couldn’t afford school in the states. I found out that the tuition in Canada was a lot cheaper and I had some friends in Toronto because I’m a dual citizen. My mom is Canadian so I would go and see my grandparents every now and then in Toronto.
My drama teacher in high school told me to leave Detroit and go to LA, New York or Toronto for theater. I knew I couldn’t afford LA and New York. He also told me Toronto had a lot of film and a lot of good theater there, so I decided to look into it. When I saw tuition was only $4,500 to $10,000, I thought that’s a lot more doable. Even that was expensive for myself, but that was an option.
“I went up there, did the auditions, and got into Humber College. My tuition there was $4,500, so I made that happen. I got some loans and I got my butt over there.”
What are some differences you can tell us about both Canadian TV and American TV productions?
“That’s a good question. TV wise, because of the shows that I’ve been on, I haven’t really noticed too much of a difference in the styles that they’re shot in or things like that because both crews, even when I was in Toronto, had a lot of people from America there.
I guess it’s just subtle differences. Like, I have a chair with my name on it, the trailers are a little different, catering is a bit different, they’re shot in lots here rather than in one building with one studio or so. I guess it’s small details like that but style wise of how it’s shot, I don’t really notice too much of difference because there are a lot of people from the states that are in Canada as well.
Canada and America are very, very similar. It’s not like going to another country, it’s actually very similar. Now for films, I’m not sure for films yet because I wasn’t on too many films. I’ve done more TV than I have films, so I still have to discover that side.”
What is it like working with the cast of Kevin From Work? Who are you closest with on set?
“It is absolutely amazing working with every single one of those guys. I love them like family. All of us, right off the bat became very good friends because most of us, besides Jason and Jordan, are not from here.
We’re all kind of new-ish here. I came here in January and I was here last year in October/November. Punam came here not too long ago, and Noah came here just for the show. Paige came here a year or two ago, and so we all clicked right off the bat when we did the reading.
We supported each other because Punam had a theater showcase a day after we did our very first table read and she told us about the showcase, so we all went out and watched the showcase and supported her. After that, we all stayed very good friends and saw each other every day or would go to Runyon Canyon together.
Working with those guys is amazing and we know each other very well because of the time that we’ve spent together. A lot of times when we’re doing scenes together we know each other’s strengths. Sometimes, one of us without saying it would take a step back and let that person do their thing because we know it’s a stronger scene for them and overall it’s much more entertaining if someone took a step back to support you and you just do your thing. We do that naturally.
We know each other’s strengths and we know each other’s reactions. A lot of times we’ll set each other up, kind of like an alley-oop, the passer will throw it up knowing that this person is really good at dunking like that [laughs]. I think that comes from knowing each other and having the chemistry we all have.
As far as being close to somebody, that’s hard to say because that’s like asking who your favorite brother is. I think I’ve probably spent the most time with Paige because she also trains with my friend and me. We see each other, basically, every other day. I’m close to everybody in a different way. Some things I’ll do more so with Punam, and some things I’ll do with Jason, or Noah, or Paige. It all varies on what we’re doing.
I can’t say who my favorite is because then I get kind of slapped down. I’ve spent different time with different people and we click on different things, so it varies.”
Did you know any of the cast before you joined the cast of Kevin From Work?
“I didn’t know anybody personally. I kind of knew Noah though because Noah and I have a mutual best friend. We’ve also been trained by the same teachers in Toronto because he went to National Theater School and I went to Humber College. Those two schools are like the number one and number two theater schools in Canada, and we had the same teachers.
We also have a lot of the same really good mutual friends besides our one mutual best friend. We heard about each other for quite a while and the mutual best friend just finished playing Noah’s best friend in the show Backpackers. I heard all about Noah, he heard all about me. Our agents are also best friends [laughs].
When he was cast for this, I knew automatically who he was. When I got the part we met up in Toronto and got to know each other and then they flew us out here together. We went through a crazy little plane ride over here and stayed in the same hotel and everything.”
What has been your favorite episode to film so far?
” I’d say Episode 10 because I did my own stunts. Brian decides to go and get some information from Brock, and he does that by going to the Jui Jitsu practice with Brock and he ends up getting his butt kicked. During that time, they had a stunt double for me but I did stunt work in Toronto, so I like to do my own stunts. When I went there I asked them if I could do my own stunts and they said yes, talk to the stunt choreographer and if he feels comfortable with it then we’ll see what happens. I talked to him and he was like okay well let me see what you can do, this is the move that were doing and I did it. He was like yes, you know what you’re doing, let’s do it [laughs].
I did that and that episode is very funny. Doing my own stunts was awesome. The stunt double came up to me at the end of the day telling me he was my stunt double and I looked at him and told him I didn’t need him, because I did everything myself [laughs].”
If you didn’t play Brian, who would you want to play?
“That’s a very hard question. I think either Ricky or Patti. Yes, I think Patti, if I could have that type of character. Patti just says the wildest things and she switches on a dime so quickly. She has a lot of juicy things to say and I love it. Punam plays her better than anybody else that would step in those shoes.”
Why do you think Brian and Kevin are friends, especially when their personalities are so different?
“I think they’re friends because they substitute for the things that they don’t have. Brian sometimes does need that straight, serious side and Kevin gives him that. Then Kevin sometimes needs that loose, relaxed, have fun side and Brian gives him that. I think they complement each other and fill the gaps of each others’ needs. I think that they give each other exactly what each other needs in whatever situation they’re in.”
How would you say Brian has been different from any character you’ve played previously in your career?
“The emotions. Brian is very, very emotional. He is very emotional in a very funny way. I guess, similar to Patty as well, he can flip on a dime. I break it down with Brian, he lives in the moment and in the next moment at the same time. How quickly he shifts from one emotion to the other, you know he’s happy one minute and then sad the next moment, or excited the first moment and then mad the next. How everything affects him, I think that’s what differs him from everybody else. It’s a lot of fun to play those emotions.”
What aspects of Brian’s back story would you like to see explored more on Kevin From Work?
“Probably his previous jobs before being a trainer and why he only made $400 within one year. I would really like to explore that because we had it written of showing a little bit of other jobs that he did and then we ended up cutting it out before filming it. I found those hilarious when they threw those little flashbacks in there and I would really like to bring those back and show the flashbacks of his previous jobs.”
Would you like to see any family members of Brian’s appear on the show at a later date?
“I would love to see Brian with a grandmother. I don’t know why! [Laughs]. Maybe because I was close to my grandmother, but I think that because of his loose, kind of live life motto, I think that a grandmother supports that a little bit. I would really, really love for them to bring his grandmother in and he would call her Gam Gam. I would really, really like for him to have a Gam Gam.”
Is there any character on Kevin From Work that you wish Brian would interact with more?
“I think that Brian and Patti have the funniest interactions. Episode 3 is my favorite episode that has aired so far because of watching those two and how they double team things together. I think I would want to see Brain and Patti more together because those two characters are pretty crazy. Seeing them react off each other and work together as a team, I find that hilarious [laughs].
Describe Brian in three words.
“Let me think about this. Emotional, encouraging, and dedicated. Fun-loving, too. I guess it kind of falls into how he encourages people.”
What do you love most about Brian?
“I love how big of a heart he has. He has a really big heart and I love how anytime Kevin is down or anything, he always knows what to say within that moment. He’s the type of character that sometimes you would expect it but you wouldn’t really expect him to say it in the right way, how to get out of a kind of funky situation. I love how he knows what to say within that moment when Kevin needs the right words.”
What advice would you give Kevin to help him with Audrey?
“Oh, that’s hard. Follow your instincts and your heart because it seems like every time he follows his instincts with Audrey it gets him a little bit closer. For instance, in the last episode at the end when he’s on the energy drinks and he’s calling her out on everything, he’s just following his instincts. She kept shutting him down, shutting him down, shutting him down and then he saved her from getting hit by the car and they had that little moment, as if that was her confirming everything he was saying. It seems like every time he follows his instincts he mans-up and tells her something that she needs to hear within that moment or just something that he needs to get off his chest, even if he gets shut down.”
If you could be on any other ABC Family show, which one would it be?
“That’s a good one! I’d have to split it up because it would be too hard choosing between a comedy and a drama. If it was a comedy, I would say Baby Daddy because those guys seem like they have so much fun and it’s in front of a live audience, which I love. If it was a drama, probably Pretty Little Liars because of my friend Lucy and just how wild that show can get. They have an absolutely amazing following as well.”
Tune into the Kevin From Work season finale tonight at 8 PM PT/ET on ABC Family.