Actor Brendon Zub joins us on Close-up Culture to chat about his role in A Twist Of Christmas, filming a festive film in summer, his love for Brazilian Jiujitsu, and more.
Q: You recently starred in The CW’s ‘Charmed’ as detective Trip Bailey. How much fun did you have stepping into this role?
A: I had a ton of fun. It was my first recurring role that had some depth to it. I really enjoyed the scene variety that came with it. The most fun was definitely eating burgers on top of the cop car while conversing with my partner about my suspicions.
Q: You got to work closely with Ellen Tamaki in what is a terrific female cast. What was the atmosphere like on set?
A: The atmosphere was great! It was a treat working with Ellen and Mel on the show.
They, along with the rest of the cast, made me feel welcomed right away. I was very lucky to share so many scenes with them. When you get genuinely nice leading ladies like that, it really sets the mood for the entire show.
Q: We have ‘A Twist Of Christmas’ to look forward to this December. What can you tell us about the film and your character?
A: The film involves two single parents who accidentally swap their children’s toys during the frenzy before Christmas. I play Ryan, a busy lawyer trying to juggle a rising career and limited time with his daughter. After the toy mix-up, they both agree to set aside their differences and go on a little adventure to save Christmas, where they learn the value of teamwork and discover something even more special in the end.
Q: I saw some warming posts on Instagram between yourself and your co-star Vanessa Lachey. What was Vanessa like to work with and how did you both find the experience of filming a Christmas film in the summer?
A: Vanessa was a dream to work with. We share a similar sense of humour so we got along very well.
It made shooting a Christmas movie in July much more bearable despite having one of the hottest summers in Vancouver. But it sure was challenging tying to sell Christmas with temperatures well into the 30’s °C (90’s °F). We had to wear our winter clothing while doing our best not to sweat. It was almost impossible. There was a lot of running back and forth from an air-conditioned SUV between takes.
Q: You are fast becoming the king of festive films, most notably with your award-winning role in ‘The Christmas Calendar’ last year. What do you enjoy about being part of these projects? Are there any fun memories you can share?
A: I love playing diverse characters in these films. They haven’t quite been the same. I’ve been a marine, a newlywed, a concerned father, and in The Christmas Calendar a French baker. This role was particularly fun as it allowed me to draw on my accent and impersonation skills. I modelled this role on a French roommate of mine who was actually a chef too by coincidence. He had a nice thick accent but a good handle on the English language so it fit very nicely for the role of Gerard.
One great memory from this film was shooting the bowling competition scene. In the story, my character magically bowls ten strikes in a row to win. An easy enough thing to cheat with different camera angles and edits regardless of my actual skill. But oddly enough when I actually went bowl I hit three strikes in a row totalling about six with several spares throughout in the end. I bowled a lot as a kid but I think I had my best score ever that night. So all my reaction shots you see in that scene are quite real.
Q: Do you have a favourite film to watch at Christmas?
A: Definitely It’s a Wonderful Life with Jimmy Stewart. It has become a family tradition. We watch it pretty much every year. A Christmas Carol with George C. Scott is a close second.
Q: I was interested to see you worked on Jason Lapeyre’s unique documentary ‘Who Killed JonBenét?’ How was your experience working with Jason on this project?
A: It was very educational. I learned a lot watching him work as a director but also from the stellar cast involved too. It was my first supporting role so I soaked up as much as I could. I was already a fan of Eion Bailey from Band of Brothers and Michel Gill from House of Cards so it was a treat working alongside them. They were very supportive and helpful.
Q: On Instagram, you mention your passions for ‘Impersonations, Pizza and Brazilian Jiujitsu’. Tell us more about those and what you are like away from the camera?
A: Well, I was always a bit of the class clown growing up. I loved making people laugh and found that impersonating others got some of my biggest reactions. My obsession only got worse when I moved to Europe at a young age. There were just so many interesting people, languages and accents out there. So it has kinda become a hobby of mine.
As for pizza, it’s only the best food in the world! Nearly impossible for me to resist a slice if it’s staring me in the face. Growing up, my mom’s homemade pizza was kind of our weekly tradition every Saturday while watching Hockey Night In Canada. So I have a lot of good memories tied to it.
My Brazilian Jiujitsu journey only starting about a year and a half ago but I’m hooked. I was mainly into sports growing up but always found martial arts fascinating. I was looking to challenge and better myself in other areas and discovered that BJJ was one of the most practical and beneficial martial arts to learn.
It reminds me of “chess” but in physical fighting form. A challenging discipline with hundreds of moves that teaches you self-defence, patience, and humility while getting your butt kicked by a more knowledgeable player. The bonus with BJJ was you always get a great workout in. I truly believe everyone should give it a try.
Q: Can you talk us more about your background and what drew you to acting?
A: I guess several things drew me to acting over the years. As I said earlier, growing up the class clown and getting a lot of encouragement from my peers doing impressions and making people them laugh was a big factor. I was a bit insecure early on so I loved the attention it brought me which also helped me not to be nervous in front of a crowd.
My interest in acting, however, didn’t really develop until I moved to Europe where I grew up watching old Turner classic movies on the only English speaking Channel we had. Performances from actors like Jimmy Stewart, Richard Burton, Gene Kelly, Errol Flynn, Kirk Douglas, and Charlton Heston really influenced me. So I decided to pursue it in high school taking drama and mime classes. After booking the lead role in my high school play, I was hooked and decided to pursue it seriously as a career.
Q: Do you have any upcoming projects or ambitions to share with us?
A: Well, I just wrapped an episode of The Twilight Zone where I got to work with Kumail Nanjiani (The Big Sick, Silicon Valley). And currently, I’m mid-shoot on another Hallmark movie called Snow Princess set to release mid-January where I play a Danish Prince. So a lot of fun roles set to release soon.
Other than that I’ll be on the mats hard at work trying to earn my blue belt in BJJ and finishing up some audiobooks in my free time.
Title photo by Noah Asanias