Kelvin O'Bryant makes the jump from dramatic fare to the funnies, with a new starring role on sitcom Table Manners.
Do you consider yourself a TV star or film star?
Haha, thank you for asking me that flattering question, but I can’t say I consider myself either. I think I am an actor who has been unbelievably lucky in his career thus far and hope to do a lot more great work in both film and television in the future.
Who is the biggest name you’ve worked with?
Wow, not sure I can pick just one. I’ve worked with Jodie Foster, Emile Hirsch, Martin Sheen, Mekhi Phifer, Marianne Jean Baptiste, and Bradley Cooper to name a few. All of which have taught me so much about what it takes to be great. Hopefully, one day, I will be mentioned in the same breath with those amazing artists.
You worked with Bradley Cooper (on Midnight Meat Train) before he was.. Bradley Cooper! Did you have get any kind of inkling back then that he was going to be as famous as he was?
I actually thought he was going to be a star when I saw him Wedding Crashers. He has an incredible on-screen presence and an amazing way with comedy. Having gotten the opportunity to work with him on a more dramatic piece only furthered my belief that he was going to be huge. The way he prepared, the way he approached the work on set, the way he communicated with the cast and crew were all great indicators for me. And he is a really great guy, which I’m sure doesn’t hurt either.
Denzel Washington recently said he regrets not taking the Morgan Freeman role in Se7en when it was offered. What roles have you gone for over your career that, though you didn’t get, you would’ve killed to have gotten?
All of them!! I really do believe everything happens for a reason though. I know that every audition I have ever gone on prepared me, in some way or another, for the next. All of the “could’ve, would’ve, should’ve” experiences only prepared me for this moment. All that said, I would’ve really enjoyed playing Charlie, E’s client, on Entourage.
When you walk into an audition, are there 20 other guys in the waiting room that look and sound just like you – is that just a movie myth?
That’s a myth. One thing that a lot of people don’t understand about our business is that it is extremely hard to just get an audition let alone book a job. When I go into a casting office I typically see 3 or 4 familiar faces. I’m rarely in a waiting room at the same time with more than six guys reading for the same role I am. Also, the ones that I do share physical characteristics with are going to bring something totally different to a role than I will. That’s part of the beauty of casting. Each individual artist is going to bring something unique to the story and it is up to the casting director, director, and producers to decide which works best for the world they are trying to create. I find comfort in knowing I am going into a room, being honest within the given circumstances, and that nobody else is going to be able to replicate it.
What’s been the most notable difference between doing a sitcom like Table Manners to some of the films you’ve been in?
Um, I don’t think there is too much of a difference. I prepare and approach the work the same way. One difference, though, is that because I am a series regular on Table Manners I had much more freedom to explore and play with my cast mates on set. I don’t always have that same freedom on other sets.
They say comedy is hard. How have you found it to be?
It is definitely a discipline. It took me a while to fully trust my comedic ability, but now I feel like I am in a place where I can use my knowledge of breaking down comedic text while also not shying away from utilizing my natural comedic instincts.
Is being an actor hard? Do you have to be somewhat tough to survive this industry?
If you approach this business with the right perspective it makes it so much easier. I think, more than tough, you have to be comfortable in your skin as a person and an artist. So much of being “successful” in this business is so far out of your control that you really have to embrace the mindset of “I’ll control what I can control and then let the chips fall where they may”.