Interview: REAPER star Bret Harrison

bret harrison interview

REAPER star Bret Harrison is tired. But you can’t really blame him.

At 25, he’s starring in his own hit CW show REAPER. Busy working six days a week, sixteen hours a day. Yet still gracious enough to take the time — on his one and only day off — to talk to this TV Addict about what it’s like to star in his very own hit CW show.

theTVaddict: I read somewhere [and by somewhere, I of course mean] that you broke into acting at 17, deciding simply drive to LA and see what happens.
Bret Harrison:
I just went after what I wanted. Ignorance is bliss. I didn’t think of all the variables. I just hopped in my car and drove.

And now you’re quite literally the face of a hit CW show. You’re everywhere!
It’s strange, because I’ve been asked that question a few times. I have an amazing cast, great people on the set, oddly enough I never look at it that way.

Speaking of odd, I find it odd that you starred as ‘Sam’ in THE LOOP [on FOX] and now as ‘Sam’ in REAPER – What’s the deal?
Actually, I believe this is the third ‘Sam’ I’ve played. The reason my name is ‘Sam’ — although I should probably confirm this with the show’s creators — is that they wrote the episode of LAW & ORDER: SVU that I guest starred on. And that character’s name was ‘Sam’. I guess they always thought of me as a ‘Sam’.

Sounds like a nice lesson for actors out there. No matter how small the role, you never know who’ll be watching and who’ll be inspired by your work.
Definitely. My guest spot on LAW & ORDER raised my awareness. A year later, GROUNDED FOR LIFE happened. They [REAPER creators Tara Butters and Michele Fazekas] saw I could do comedy, dramatic stuff and thought, this is our guy for REAPER.

bret harrison interview

So you’re starring in this show, destined to be huge for the CW. Do you ever worry about getting typecast as ‘Sam’?
I don’t ever think of that, although I probably should. I definitely think you can guide your career in terms of where you want to go. But to be honest, I like playing these roles. REAPER ‘Sam’ is quite different from ‘Sam’ on THE LOOP.

Part of the reason REAPER is getting such good reviews out of the gate is due to Kevin Smith’s fantastic vision for the pilot. Any word on whether Kevin’s going to come back and direct future episodes?
I know he’s interested in coming back, but I don’t know if he will. I want him to and a lot of people on set want him to, but I’m not sure how the creators feel in terms of wanting Kevin back.

He was great through. It was amazing to get that much freedom as an actor. I definitely don’t think the pilot would have been what it was if it wasn’t for Kevin Smith. It doesn’t even seem like a CW show. More like this weird Kevin Smith indie.

It’s funny, because everything we’ve shot since then, you can see the difference. I still think the show is great and amazing, but you can see how it’s gotten more into a television rhythm.

It’s interesting you say that, because one of the concerns fans have about REAPER is that the pilot was great, but what’s next?
We’re definitely doing stand-alone-demon-of-the-week episodes. But the writers are also trying to weave a mythology that will cross over into other episodes. Sam will be continually trying to get out of his contract with the Devil [Ray Wise] as well as attempt to build on his relationship with Andi [Missy Peregrym].

Speaking of Andi, was it weird having the original Andi [Nikki Reed] recast?
Definitely weird. But I have to say, I kind of saw it coming. Every TV show I’ve ever been on has had someone recast. Any pilot I’ve ever done, I’m always thinking, “God I hope it’s not me.” I think it’s the networks way of showing who’s boss. But I love Missy to death — added bonus, her boyfriend is Ben Roethlisberger! [Pittsburgh Steelers Quarterback]

For me, Sam’s friendship with Sock really stood out in the pilot. Your chemistry with Tyler Labine is fantastic, what’s it like working together?
It’s amazing. On every show there’s generally a mix and match in the audition process. They line you up, put two people together and see how it goes. Yet two days after I got the job, we were in Vancouver shooting the pilot and we were like, “Holy Shit, this is working.” Tyler is a Vancouver native, same with Missy, so it’s been really fantastic spending time with them and I think it shows on screen.

I understand you’re a big comic book fan. Is there any comic out there that you’d like to adapt into a movie?
Well, WATCHMEN is being turned into a movie right now, so wish granted. I know Adam’s [Brody] trying to get a GREEN ARROW movie developed — but nobody interested in GREEN ARROW for some reason.

Speaking of your good friend Adam Brody. Did you pick up any tips on how to deal with starring in a hit show after watching him go through what he did on THE OC?
Adam gave me nothing, he keeps me in the dark! [laughing]

Just hanging out, I remember what it was like for him when THE OC launched. Billboards, posters, to see him go through everything. I think I learned along the way.

Any chance Adam will drop by REAPER as a guest star?
Maybe, we haven’t really talked about it. He was on THE LOOP though.

Who can we expect to drop by REAPER thus far?
Patton Oswalt, Curtis Armstrong who played ‘Booger’ in REVENGE OF THE NERDS. He’s hilarious.

Thanks for taking the time to talk to Bret. Best of luck with the show
My Pleasure.

Don’t miss tonight’s second new episode of REAPER tonight at 9PM on the CW following BEAUTY AND THE GEEK.

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  • Great interview! Thanks!

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    I cant get into a show that is a rip off of one I love Supernatural. Come on a 25 yr. old demon hunter named Sam. Can you imagined if the CW had cancled SPN To replace it with another sci-fi show about a young demon hunter named Sam involve with Satan….but his name aint Winchester….this is why I hate this network because Its filled with rich stupid excutives who dont know what is coming out of their ”A ” HOLE.


    iF THIS SHOW IS SUCH A HIT AT THE CW , THEN WHY ARE THE RATINGS down, and why wasnt the actor asked a question ….like arent you afraid of being compared to a bigger hit at the CW Supernatural? AND can you guys get sued for having the same story lines as in Supernatural? AND do you even know that there is another 25 yr. old demon hunter named Sam?

  • KaTiE

    I love Reaper! And I think Bret does an awesome job on it. It would be great to see Adam show up on it! Great interview. Thanks. And btw, Reaper is a zillion times better than Supernatural, and Reaper has good actors going for it too.

  • Kessiebear

    I’m not a big fan of supernatural but I don’t think you can really compare the two just cos they both have a horror/comedy theme.
    Apart from the fact that hundreds of shows have the same themes, anyone can claim stolen ideas. Otherwise you would say that Supernatural is a clear rip off from heaps of previous sci fi shows from our generation; The X-files probably being the most popular and longest running.
    Grey’s, Scrubs; both shows I like; newer versions of E.R, which was a newer & updated version of General Hospital.
    No matter what show, or genre, you can think of, everything has some repetitiveness.
    There just isn’t that much these days that hasn’t already been used.
    You have to look at the little things that make them unique and what you like about them.
    Supernatural is just that – supernatural sci fi. Tho it does have comedic value, it’s a lot more on the dark side of it.
    Reaper is far more comedy than horror – even the supernatural themes are done in a lighthearted way and always comes back to good fun.
    Next time you bad mouth a show you don’t like, think about one you do like, then go ask your parents what show from their generation it’s a rip off of – they’ll have more than one answer.