Brandon Barash is a talented actor who has appeared in television and film. He played Jamie on Gilmore Girls and Johnny Zacchara on General Hospital. Tonight, he will be starring as Thomas Calabro and Michael Mancini in Lifetime’s The Unauthorized Melrose Place Story. Keep reading to see what Brandon had to say about playing such an iconic actor and character.
What attracted you to The Unauthorized Melrose Place Story project?
“First of all it was part of my childhood, it was part of my early teen years. 90210 and Melrose Place made a big impression on me and my friends, so there’s obviously that. Then there’s the attraction of playing someone real. That’s always a challenge. Along with your own characterization of this actual human that is alive, you get to watch interviews and pick quirks from their personality to infuse into your own characterization of the guy and to make him into a real person. For me it was real important not to do an imitation of Thomas Calabro, but to do him justice as a person and an actor.
The biggest trap is doing an impression. It’s listening to their voice and mimicking it to a tee. Mimicking every gesture that they made, I feel is a trap for an actor. But for me, I had to pick a few elements of who Thomas is and was in these interviews that I saw him in. Then I’d kind of season my performance if that makes sense. Like any good dish, if it’s over-seasoned it’s going to suck. It’d be a salt bomb in your mouth. If it’s seasoned just right, they’ll come back for more. (Laughs).”
Is there a scene in The Unauthorized Melrose Place Story that you really enjoyed playing?
“It was all so much fun. There’s a big stunt scene that you’ll see, that I enjoyed. There’s a scene that I collaborated with the directors and producers on. We all kind of collaborated on to make an additional scene in the movie, which was a lot of fun. Of course, that’s one of my favorite scenes because I played a big part in constructing it. We built it from nothing because they realized the movie was short and they needed to include some additional material. So, I was lucky enough to be included in the process. That was pretty cool.”
Did you audition for any other character besides Thomas’?
“No, it all happened so fast. I was finishing up my job on Major Crimes. It was a Monday night and I got home late. I was really looking forward to sitting on the couch, having a beer and talking to my wife and then falling asleep. It was like 8:00 and I got a call from my agency saying ‘Just to let you they want to see you tomorrow at 11am for the Melrose Place movie’.
I was like ‘Oh my gosh. Alright, no rest for the weary.’ (Laughs). So, I put the beer back in the fridge and printed out my script. Twelve hours later, I was there auditioning for it. And by the next day, I was getting my passport together to go to Canada. It happened really fast. I think I was the last role that was cast in the movie. When I got up there to Vancouver (I live in Los Angeles) I think they had already been shooting for a week. They were kind of in a pinch to find Calabro because they hadn’t found what they were looking for yet. So, to answer your question, there were no other roles.Aside from the Heather Locklear role that I had my eye on, but I’m not blonde enough (Laughs).”
How was it working the other actors?
“It was great! Every one on set was a great person and fun to work with. I’m not just saying that. I don’t say stuff like that. Really everyone I worked with on this project was solid. If there were egos, they were checked at the door in a very secret place. (Laughs). It was just easy to get a long with everyone. On set it was just like a big jam session between musicians. It was very easy. It was a big ensemble piece. There was like twelve or fourteen of us in the lead cast for this movie.”
Why do you think viewers should watch The Unauthorized Melrose Place Story?
“It’s for people who watched Melrose Place back in the day. It’s a two-hour long wink to them. To the people who haven’t watched it, there’s a lot of comedic storytelling in the script. I’m hoping people who haven’t seen the show will watch our movie and say ‘That looks like a fun thing to be a part of, I’m going to get the seasons on DVD or stream them’. Or wherever they can get them these days.
It’s just going to be a great time. The writers did such a great job writing some fantastic jokes. I think highly of the cast. The actors did a great job, so did special effects and people down the line who helped us with our everyday things. It’s just a well put together production. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Can you share with us any upcoming projects in addition to The Unauthorized Melrose Place Story that you might have in the works?
“There’s something that I can’t talk about, but the thing I can talk about is my band. My band is called Port Chuck and we’re going to tour. Well, not a tour just a quick stop in New York and New Jersey. You can go to SoapFantasyEvents.com to check out information on tickets and locations.
You played a good guy on Gilmore Girls and a bad one on General Hospital. Which do you enjoy playing more, good or bad?
“There’s advantages to playing each. I will say, I don’t know whether it’s a way to exercise the demons, but playing the bad guy can be a lot of fun because you get to go on set and do things that you couldn’t get away with in normal everyday human life (Laughs). So, I would say I prefer playing the bad guy.”
Any plans to return to General Hospital? Is that possible?
“It’s always possible. Almost every time I go and take my wife to work, Frank (the Executive Producer) asks if I want to play Johnny He always asks if I want my job back. He’s made it abundantly clear that since I chose to leave two years ago he would like to have my back. Of course it’s always tempting to go back, but I’m doing a lot of other things now. I’m doing a lot of primetime in the cable world and that’s what I set out to do. It’s not completely off the table, but I would say a long-term return to General Hospital would not be very likely at this time.”