Editor’s Note: As Americans continue to stay at home to help flatten the curve of the coronavirus pandemic, we are catching up with some players in Louisiana to find out how the crisis is affecting them and what they are doing during this unprecedented upheaval in our daily lives. .
In 2006, Wes brown was a new face on the big screen in the sports dramas “We Are Marshall” and “Glory Road” set in Louisiana.
Since then he’s racked up a long list of TV credits, ranging from recurring roles in Season 2 of HBO’s “True Blood” and Season 5 of The CW’s “90210” alongside former Louisians John Larroquette and Katherine LaNasa. in the 2013 NBC drama “Deception.” He has also appeared in FOX’s “9-1-1”, CBS’s “NCIS: New Orleans” and ABC’s “Scandal” and “Desperate Housewives”, among others.
In addition, he has become a regular at the rotation of beefy actors that the Hallmark Channel presents as leading men in its original romance films, most recently “Check Inn to Christmas” and “Wedding at Graceland,” a sequel to 2018 “Christmas at Graceland”. Brown has starred alongside singer / actress Kellie Pickler in the last two films, both shot in Memphis, Tennessee, home of the late Elvis Presley.
Brown, 38, was born in Texas but raised in Baton Rouge, attending Parkview Baptist and LSU.
In addition to acting, he also works with his production company, Island House Entertainment, and continues to write and perform in American music.
The following interview has been edited for length and clarity.
This crisis has affected everyone. How has this affected you professionally and personally?
I keep trying to reflect as much as possible on anything positive that we can hold onto. There is a lot of harm, obviously, in a pandemic. … So for now, as the frontline workers do their part, we try to do ours by staying at home, and continue to do whatever and everything we can control from home. And honestly, we’ve been very busy.
During this time, I have definitely made personal fitness a top priority, not just to try to stay healthy, but to make sure that when we get back to filming… I don’t have much to undo (too many time at home can lead to too many “good meals”!)
Are you able to work on acting or other projects as part of your career at home?
Obviously we’re not shooting anything at the moment, but my little production company continues to write and develop different projects. It doesn’t stop and stays busy. I’m in the middle of a few scripts and I’m currently rewriting a TV series that will be pitch-ready when the time comes.
My wife Amanda also stays very busy, not only helping me with different projects, some of which are on hold and on fire, but also with her TV animation work at Walt Disney Studios. Only now she can do it from home, which she really appreciated.
Where are you isolated, at home in California?
Yes, we are at home in Los Angeles. Other than going for a run, I think I only went about three times in a month.
What do you watch on television, do you listen to, do you read? Are you working on something musically these days?
I just finished “Ozark” on Netflix. What a crazy good show this is. I haven’t pulled the trigger on the infamous “Tiger King” yet, but I guess I will one day. Ha! I’ve watched old classics from the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s, which I love. There is so much content now, it’s impossible not to find something great.
Currently, on the fiction side, I read “A Cuban Affair” by Nelson DeMille. I highly recommend it… a very high stakes adventure. Nonfiction, I have a lot of them, books on screenwriting, directing, theater, etc., there’s no shortage! My wife just completed Glennon Doyle’s “Untamed”, which she praised.
I also love Masterclass (masterclass.com, online courses from over 80 of the world’s greats in their fields, from theater to science and technology). The last time I can remember, I think it’s a hundred dollars for the year, and it’s the best hundred dollars a person can spend.
Musically, I continue to write with my songwriter partners in Nashville, Texas and California via Skype or Zoom. I would love to come in and record something… but, we’ll have to wait until the time is right. I’m also very grateful for the support I got musically, even though absolutely nothing has come out yet. I appreciate it very, very, very much.
Do you or your wife like to cook, or do you order a lot?
We cook a lot. Daily. We have never been great restaurant enthusiasts, but we have tried to support our local restaurants when we can during this time. But for years, we’ve been mostly a stay-at-home family for dinner parties because I love to cook. Living in California we are fortunate to have the type of weather we have, so I have a small army of outdoor grills that use most of the year. I love almost everything, but most of all and have always been a lover of seafood and vegetables. Easy coming from Louisiana. I love a tri-tip, which is a very Californian cut of steak / beef, which I think would go very well in Baton Rouge. My friends love it when they come here, but can never find it at home.
Your last feature film was “The Call of the Wild,” starring Harrison Ford and released in theaters on February 21st. When and where did you shoot this?
I was very honored to have been a very small part of “The call of the wild,” like I am every role that is offered. Everyone has their own place and their own learning experiences, no matter if I am the leader or if I have two lines. They all matter and they all mean something. Working with Chris Sanders (director) was particularly meaningful, as he is the mastermind behind some of the Disney classics (“Beauty and the Beast”, “The Lion King”, “Mulan”, “Lilo & Stitch”). We shot this movie at the Disney Ranch, just under an hour north of Los Angeles. They had part of the “Jurassic World” facility right next to where we were filming. It was pretty cool to see.
Did you find any positive points in this stay-at-home experience?
Quite honestly, a silver lining to this will be that we as a family have developed positive habits that we will continue once we get ahead of it all. I say this with hesitation though, because while listing the “positives” we are still aware of why we are here. So I don’t want this to go unnoticed.
I hope for many silver linings in all of this. On the one hand, it has been really great to see, at least in my profession and that of my wife, how much we have and can accomplish from a distance. We did more than expected via Skype, Zoom, etc. … This has certainly been a positive point. Are electronics and devices part of our life? Yes. So to some extent they have been extremely helpful.
However, due to the amount that it has been on a daily basis, we have also moved away from them in a personal capacity. We read more books, took more walks and bike rides… things that I’m going to make sure we keep going.
How is the family, including her daughter Merribeth, handling all of this?
My family is wonderful. Like I said, my wife keeps very busy with her work, enjoying free time, reading and catching up with new series and movies. The same goes for me. Get this time to focus on writing and developing, as well as personally, working, finding new books, movies, series, etc. And it turns out that it’s a huge plus that it’s also my career.
Merribeth, who is now 10, likes “not to be around disruptive boys so she can focus on her homework,” as she puts it. I had to tell her that disruptive and annoying boys weren’t going to change or go away. Already. MDR.
Something to add ?
First and foremost, my family and I want to thank those who are really important today, and these are all those who keep our company going. Healthcare workers, doctors, nurses, first responders, our police officers, restaurant workers and takeout chefs, letter carriers, yard workers, garbage collectors, and more. Thank you to everyone who continues to work during this unique time.