The Best Man is a tight action-thriller that takes the single-location structure made iconic by the incredibly quotable Die Hard and brings it to a sunny resort. Directed and co-written by Shane Dax Taylor, The Best Man tells the story of a group of former Special Ops soldiers who must fight back once the wedding they’re attending is crashed and taken over by mercenaries. The film is Shane Dax Taylor’s first foray into action filmmaking and is in part a love letter to the iconic action films of the 1980s.
Much of the story of The Best Man is told through the journey of Bradley, played by Brendan Fehr. Fehr is a film and television actor with a long career that stretches back to his star-making turn as Michael Guerin in the WB series Roswell. A veteran of action projects, Fehr brings plenty of gravitas to his role, whether in fight sequences or alongside his co-stars, who include Luke Wilson, Dolph Lundgren, and Scout Taylor-Compton.
Screen Rant: It was your co-star Luke Wilson’s first action film, and your director’s first action film as well. Was there anything special about the environment on set because you were working with people who got the opportunity to explore something new?
Brendan Fehr: I suppose that would be a question for them. I’ve done some action stuff. It’s funny; you have certain expectations going into any project, whether it’s because of the script, the people, whoever’s directing it, or whoever you’re co-starring with, or starring with. I was looking forward to working with Luke and seeing how that went, but I think what everybody knew was, looking at the day out of days and how much time we had to shoot it, that it was going to be run and gun; both on the screen and in real life. It was a pretty short shoot, and with something like that, you’ve just got to be on point. You’ve got to be open to anything; things are kind of changing on the fly. Every set has a certain amount of chaos, which is why, I think, people enjoy it, as long as there’s not too much. You kind of just embrace the chaos of it all, and you use it in the scenes.
You’re also doing a lot of action work on your own in this. What was the hardest aspect of shooting this film? Was it those fight scenes, or was it more about trying to get everything done in the amount of time that you had?
Brendan Fehr: I try not to focus on time. When people are rushing or going, “We only have this,” [I’m like,] “That’s not my problem, it’s your problem. You figure it out. I’ll help if I can.” My job as an actor is obviously to create a character and establish relationships in the film. I’ve still got a producer/director ear, [thinking], like, “Oh, is that what you guys are doing? Okay, sure,” on every project, but I’ve learned to kind of let that go. I have a job there as an actor, and I’m not good enough to not focus on my own [work]. As much as I hear, [I] just kind of push it aside and go, “How do I bring this character to life?” Given all your resources, whether it’s another actor, the script, the time, the weather conditions, or whatever they may be at the time, [it’s] like, “What do I want to do? What do I want to accomplish in the scene, and with the character, and with the other actors and characters in the script?” In this one, most of my scenes are with Scout Taylor-Compton. We had done a small little project before that’s not out. I had a small role in it, and I could tell that she was open, collaborative, creative, and easy to work with. We were always talking about bringing this relationship to life and elevating it as much as we can, and making it fun for us. If the actors are having fun, a lot of times the audience will [while] watching them as well. We were always thinking and talking and throwing ideas against the wall as much as we could.
Was there something specific about your character Bradley that was the easiest to relate to?
Brendan Fehr: Spoiler alert coming up. He states in the movie that the reason he went on the mission was because he never thought he would come back. That was really interesting; someone who has survived something they didn’t expect to or didn’t want. That’s a great jumping-off point to start pulling a character apart and figuring out what makes them work, and the stuff about them that doesn’t work, and why it doesn’t work.That gave me a lot of ‘ins’ to him. Obviously, Bradley’s in a darker place, especially at the beginning of the movie. My buddy Tim Busfield would be like, “‘Mood’ spelled backwards is ‘Doom’.”, It always sticks with me where I’m just like, “You can be in a dark place, but it’s still got to be filled.” It’s that thing of, like, when you’re acting bored, you don’t do nothing. When you’re bored, your mind is racing. You’re thinking about, “How can I not be bored? But I am bored.” There’s actually so much activity in a board person. This guy’s a little quiet and reserved in the beginning, and doesn’t want to say a lot, and would be the guy leaning against the wall in the bar, probably, at this point in his life. You still want to make that as active as possible, so you just focus on that. Then you watch the end product and you go, “Did I do it? How close did I get to my objective?”
I know your director loves things like Die Hard and early Sylvester Stallone action films. When you’re doing something like this, do you look back to other things in the genre, or are you more focused on your own work?
Brendan Fehr: Yeah, I think you’re certainly aware of that. I can come up with comps to my character in terms of other actors and characters in other movies, but you always want to be careful of not trying to copy something, because it’s going to feel like you’re copying something. [In] stealing inspiration from something, or even stealing some things from something, there has to be a point where you make it your own, or else it’s just going to look really inauthentic. I still watch movies. I still watch television. I am so inundated with other people’s performances and everything else that those will automatically creep out in a performance. That’s why a lot of things just kind of feel the same and done over and over again in a lot of movies these days; they’re just going like, “Let’s make that again.” It’s just like, “Well, we made it. Why don’t we try to make something different?” In this, my whole job [was] to just make that particular character as different as I can or as unique as I can, given the script and everything else. But you do look for inspiration; you ultimately want to go, like, “If we can be compared to that movie, [or] be in that class of a movie, that would be great.” That’s the goal, so you set out for goals that way. But then, it really is a miracle that any movie gets done. Given what it takes to put a movie together from start to finish, it seems impossible. It’s hard. It’s really hard. You put your best foot forward, and you have a lot of fun, and then you cross your fingers that people like it.
You’ve been a part of so many great projects; we love Roswell over here. Given the opportunity, is there something that you’ve done in the past that you would love to return to in some way?
Brendan Fehr: I’m kind of doing it now. Speaking of Roswell, me and my co-star Majandra Delfino really enjoyed working together. We’ve had our ups and downs throughout the years, but now we’re really, really good pals. We put together a project called Baron and Toluca. That was one where it wasn’t so much the concept of Roswell; we love that aspect of it, alien sci-fi and all that stuff, but it was more about finding a vehicle for us because me and her have such a great chemistry. It doesn’t come along every day, it’s not that easy with a lot of people, and so that’s something that we thought we could take advantage of. [With] Baron and Toluca, we shot the pilot, or the first two episodes, however you want to view it, and that was quite the experience. I love acting, but I also directed it, and I was like, “I would love to get more into that.” I’m not a control freak, but I do like to have some, and so I got a little bit more there. Then, you do get to make your own thing, and the only person to blame in the end is you. [Then], you’re not the actor going, “I don’t know, they edited it in a crappy way,” or “The director didn’t even know what he was doing.” [With] this one, I’m the idiot director. [I learned] a lot doing it, and it was a lot of fun. That’s something that was just really satisfying, and an opportunity that I would love to be able to have another crack at in some way, shape, or form.