The Brett Cullen Web Site Chat — The Replacements
Moderator: Brett will be joining us via telephone shortly. Marion Zachary will be on the telephone with Brett. At 9 p.m. ET, the room will become a moderated chat room. At that time the only ‘voices’ you will see will be the Moderator(s) and Brett’s. You can still type your questions in below at any time but they will only show up on your screen and the moderator’s. The Moderator will send your questions to Brett.
Brett: Welcome everyone and thank you for coming tonight!
Cass: Brett, if you had to choose between a good script or a good cast, which would you choose and why?
Brett: A good script is the first thing I would chose because the story is the most important element in the making of any project.
murphy86: I got the feeling there was some history between Annabelle and Martel. Were scenes cut from the movie about the two of them?
Brett: There was a scene in the beginning of the movie that was cut that hints at the fact that we had a prior relationship that wasn’t spelled out, but you got the feeling that they had connected at some point before the movie had started.
murphy86: What is your favorite scene in the movie?
Brett: My favorite scene in the movie would be the one with Keanu in the locker room, from an acting standpoint. And also, the scenes I had with Gene Hackman.
murphy86: What was the story behind the hair under your lip? Was that your idea or someone else’s? It made you look very sinister. And, what do you call that? A soul patch?
Brett: First of all, that’s what I tend to grow when I’m not working. And I had finished Legacy and I had grown that; it was my signature sort of feel because I’m a surfer. And I showed up on the set, and the director, who’s a friend of mine, liked it and asked me to keep it. And yes it’s called a soul patch.
Cass: Does changing your appearance help you get into character or does it really not make that much of a difference?
Brett: Well, yeah, I think I change my appearance in everything I do, because I don’t want to look like Brett Cullen…I try to reflect the period that I’m in. And it does make a difference because whether it’s your hairstyle or your clothes you’re wearing, you adjust to the way the clothes feel on your body. You develop a different walk…if I’m driving a Porsche, or putting on a uniform, it does make a difference. Your whole setup changes. You’re now sort of dressed in character.
AnnePhillips: Did Hurricanes Floyd, Harvey and Irene (which hit the East Coast last fall) affect the shooting of The Replacements?
Brett: No, Hurricane Dennis did. And they made me fly in on my birthday to shoot a scene with the girl and it got cut.
goaway7: How many weeks of football training did you have to go through?
Brett: Two weeks.
WendyW: Brett, did you suffer any injuries during the making of the movie?
Brett: Nothing serious. Some various deep bruises. I had my running back run into me and my bicep turned purple and yellow for about two weeks.
WendyW: Did you ever feel intimidated by the sheer size of the football players surrounding you?
Brett: Yes. I showed up weighing about 195 and after two weeks of training I put on about 15 pounds from a lot of beer and desserts. The linemen are all huge and I tried to bulk up some, lifted a lot of weights and ate a lot of food.
Cass: Brett, did you play any football in school?
Brett: I played football until I was in the 9th grade when I got kicked off the team for making fun of the coach’s play drawings on the big blackboard. I then quit playing football and started playing baseball.
Cass: Brett, what was it like to go to a big Hollywood premier? Is it just really loud and annoying or is it actually fun?
Brett: It’s actually quite fun. Most people don’t realize that working as an actor is a lot of hard work and that’s when you get to go and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Wilma: What was it like working with Gene Hackman?
Brett: It was an absolute pleasure and honor to act with one of the greatest actors of our generation. He was extremely kind and open to me as an actor and just unbelievable to work with. He liked the fact that I didn’t back down from him.
murphy86: Did you and the other actors hang out together during filming? Who did you hang out with the most?
Brett: Yes, we hung out quite a lot together. A lot of the football players and myself hung out together. From a partying standpoint, I hung out with Gailard Sartain and Rhys Ifans.
Tracy711: Hi Brett…First I want to say thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. I would like to ask you when you were filming in Baltimore, and you had some time in between shooting, what about Baltimore did you like the best?
Brett: I had a blast in Fells Point. And one of my favorite nights was when I went to McCormick and Schmick’s and had dinner and Lyle Lovett performed across the channel.
Cass: Brett, if you were given a script with two equally well-written roles, one for the good guy and one for the bad, which would you choose?
Brett: Which ever one I would be best suited for. I would be happy to play either one, but obviously I’d like to play the good guy, because everyone likes a hero.
snitch: In the bar fight scene, just how much of the stunt work did you do?
Brett: I did the punches with Keanu. And I got tackled by the stuntman that doubled for Jon Favreau… And the rest of the beating was a stuntman and he was a great double for me.
goaway7: Were there a lot of pranks on the set? Working with funny guys like Orlando and Gruff?
Brett: None, really. It was us just trying to get the job done. Everyone was really focused on getting the job done. Everyone was there taking care of business.
Cass: Brett, why do you think Martel crossed the picket line? Was it just because he was a jerk or what? I didn’t feel like we were given enough insight into your character to determine why he would do that.
Brett: The movie was based on the 1987 strike, which was not successful, and most of the players ended up crossing. So my character crossed because the strike was going to come to an end anyway and I didn’t want to lose my job to a scab.
murphy86: Do you have a better appreciation for football players in the NFL after making the movie?
Brett: Yes, I do. The average career of an NFL player is supposed to be 3-5 years. And these guys take a huge beating on their bodies and they deserve the money they are paid, but I just have a problem with the lack of loyalty that players have to their organizations, because they just go where the most money is.
Cass: Brett, is that the most weight you’ve gained for a role?
Brett: Yes, it is. I like my weight to be somewhere between 195 and 200 and I weighed about 215 in that movie.
Ev3a: Did you feel intimidated by the big name stars? Or do they feel like peers?
Brett: No, I didn’t feel intimidated by the big name stars…Gene Hackman was wonderful and Keanu was a sweetheart and Jack Warden I’ve worked with before. And everyone else was just part of the ensemble. So, yes, they do feel like peers.
goaway7: Brett, I loved this movie and hope to see you in some more soon! Are there any plans for another one soon?
Brett: Right now I’m focusing on trying to produce two movies and would probably act in one of them. But there is stuff in the making that I can’t talk about at the moment but I will let you know as soon as I can.
AnnePhillips: Did being in The Replacements make you glad you make a living as an actor and not a football player?
Brett: Absolutely! It made me feel very happy I’m an actor and not a football player!
snitch: What did your wife think of Martel? Did she enjoy seeing you play the antagonist?
Brett:Yes, she did. She didn’t like it very much but she thought I did a great job. It’s fun being the bad guy, because you get to be evil and it’s fun.
Cass: Brett, I noticed you were listed in a different order in the opening credits as opposed to the closing credits. Any idea why?
Brett: Because of my contract! It’s contractual. When you make a deal, your credits are part of the deal. The closing ones are usually in alphabetical order or in order of appearance. Closing credits I don’t have any control over.
WendyW: Is there any possibility that you will act with Meatloaf?
Brett: Yes, there is a possibility. One of the movies we want to produce we probably both will be in it.
murphy86: Did you get to play during the halftime at the Baltimore Ravens game? If so, what was it like playing in front of so many football fans?
Brett: No, I did not play during the halftime at the Ravens game but I was there. It was a preseason game and the fans were sort of lackadaisical during the real game but when the actors came out on the field, they went absolutely wild. They had 8 ½ minutes to shoot on the field, and they got it.
AnnePhillips: Has the Screen Actors Guild Strike affected your working and has it affected any Yellow Rose productions?
Brett: No, because the SAG strike is against the advertising and commercials and when the theatrical issue comes up it will affect us.
Cass: Brett, I didn’t get the whole cheerleader thing. Were the original cheerleaders on strike with the players or what? It was hysterical, but I didn’t know what their purpose was other than laughs.
Brett: Yes, the original cheerleaders went on strike, except for the head cheerleader, so she had to hire scab cheerleaders for replacements.
Ev3a: Making a big Hollywood movie sounds like a fantasy come true. What is the worst about it?
Brett: The logistics and the planning is the worst part for production, but it doesn’t really affect acting. We just show up and do our job.
Cass: Brett, did you get to choose number 7 or was it just written that way?
Brett: It was written that way.
Ev3a: Did your family get to visit the movie set?
Brett: No, they did not. It was the first time in my career that I didn’t have my family with me and it was very lonely. And I would fly back to LA ever so often. My wife didn’t want to fly back to the East coast for 4 months after we had just left Virginia.
spikedme: On the whole, which of your movies or shows did you enjoy having the most fun to make?
Brett: Well, Apollo 13, Something to Talk About, the series Legacy, the series Orleans, and The Replacements. From the Earth to the Moon was a blast, too.
Ev3a: How long does it take to film a movie?
Brett: Anywhere from 8 weeks to 4-6 months, depending on whether it’s a studio film or an independent. The average length is 8-12 weeks. The Replacements was about 3 ½ to 4 months.
murphy86: How difficult was it going from a wonderful, kind character like Ned Logan to a bratty, sort of unlikable character like Eddie Martel? Was it hard making the transition emotionally?
Brett: It was a challenge as an actor but it wasn’t that difficult. It’s creating a different set of circumstances for that character’s motivation. Ned’s motivation was to raise his children and the horses. LOL. Martel’s were, at this point in his life, to protect his career.
murphy86: Does it bother you that I wanted to punch Martel out 20 minutes into the movie?
Brett: That’s flattering! LOL. I wanted you to punch Martel out. That was my purpose in playing the character! If you didn’t hate Martel, you wouldn’t have liked Falco as much.
murphy86: During training camp, did you get to know any of the NFL players?
Brett: Well, we had ex NFL players that we got to know. Along with Canadian football players, arena players and ex college players. But we didn’t hang out with any real NFL players that are currently playing.
WendyW: Do you prefer making movies or television shows?
Brett: It doesn’t make a difference. Doing TV is a much faster pace. Making movies, you have more down time on your hands.
Cass: Brett, that was a sporty little car Martel owned in the movie. Did you ever get to drive it?
Brett: No. LOL. They didn’t trust me! (laughing wickedly)
murphy86: The music in the movie was great. Do you know if there is a soundtrack coming out?
Brett: Yes, there is a soundtrack coming out, as a matter of fact. You’ll hear me on the soundtrack, talking.
murphy86: Did the movie turn out the way you thought it would from reading the script and the filming?
Brett: I had hoped that they would have shown a sequence at the end of the movie where I was locked in the equipment room, where you would have seen Martel cheering when they scored. But it didn’t work out that way. Where you would have seen Martel’s love for the game.
Ev3a: Do you try to find sympathy for “bad guys” you play?
Brett: Initially, you try to find some empathy somewhere for the character, but in the long run you realize that the bad guy HAS to be bad, and you just try to make him as real as possible.
Cass: Brett, when you have to play a bad guy or a jerk like Martel do you delve into your own inner dark places or do you draw upon your experiences with the personalities of others? Do you think one method over the other would make for a better performance?
Brett: I think you have to delve into your own dark places. And use a little bit of experience from people you observe. You get a mixture of both. Part imagination and part reality.
murphy86: Did you have any other scenes that got cut?
Brett: Some stuff got cut, but not major, big huge scenes. Some bits and pieces that we shot got cut. There were scenes where you see me watching Falco that would have heightened that whole relationship.
snitch: Did you get to keep any of your wardrobe? Those suits that Martel wore looked like they belonged on the cover of GQ!
Brett: No, I did not. I ‘m a blue jeans and t-shirts kind of guy!
Wilma: What role would you like to play next?
Brett: I don’t know what role I’d like to play next. Something interesting, hopefully!
Ev3a: What do you do during the “down time” making a movie?
Brett: You hang out with the cast and crew. You create a sense of family with the people you are working with. You create a relaxed atmosphere with them. And also I spent a lot of time on my computer answering letters!! The down time between setups in a scene, you are constantly trying to keep your energy up.
WendyW: Brett, how long have you had a computer and do you consider yourself computer literate?
Brett: LOL. I’ve had a computer for 4-5 years. No, I do not consider myself computer literate!
Sheri_Berry: Hi Brett, this is the infamous Sheri. I guess the question I want to ask is how a nice guy like you wound up playing something like Martel?
Brett: Because the director liked my butt! LOLOL. No, it’s because the director is a friend of mine and asked me if I would be interested in playing it.
counterfeit: Brett, what position did you play in baseball?
Brett: I was the pitcher and played until I was 20. From the age of 6 until I was 20.
goaway7: Did a lot of the scenes have input from the actors? Or was it strictly the director’s?
Brett: The director, Howie, is an actor’s director. He tried to get what he wanted out of a scene. He certainly allowed us to improvise. He’s wonderful to work with!
Brett: I have to go now, but I’m really happy that you came, and I hope we can do this again soon. I have to go now because I have a prior engagement, but thank you for coming and I’ll be talking to you soon. Goodnight!