Rick Yaeger: Hey everyone, it’s Rick Yaeger here with the One Question Interviews, the show where I get the golden opportunity to talk to a celebrity, and then I waste it on some totally random question.
Sitting across the Internet from me today is an actor and writer who you might recognize as “SSA Tom Larsen” from Scandal or perhaps, “Octopus Head” from Grimm. Please welcome, Brian Letscher.
Brian Letscher: Hello, Rick Yaeger.
Rick: Hello, my friend. Thank you so much for doing this.
Brian: Yeah, man. Thank you for having me.
Rick: Yeah. Scandal, then.
Rick: Tom Larsen, gone to the big house. From the White House to the big house.
Brian: Right, moving on down.
Rick: [laughs] I won’t ask you if you will ever see him again because you wouldn’t know, and if you did you couldn’t tell me anyway.
Brian: That’s right. Both of those are accurate.
Rick: The scenario…I don’t know if everyone knows this, the secrecy on the show is such that you don’t know what’s in the script until you arrive at the table reading, if I’m correct?
Rick: Everybody gets the script at the same time, sits down at the table and reads this thing, and see what happens.
Brian: That’s right.
Rick: At some point in — I forget which season — you went from the “Yes, Sir, right away, Sir” to this much deeper character. How was that, reading that on the pages like “I get to do this?” [laughs]
Brian: The first twist was Tom in season two kind of became…in the beginning of season three became the phone guy, the hand-off guy between Olivia and Fitz. That was a little bit of a deepening, a little bit more of definitely Fitz’s right-hand man and clearly he trusts him, so there was that.
The next twist was when Jake became command, when Tom walks in and it’s revealed that Tom is really B613. That was an interesting moment for me as an actor to go “Oh, wow.” Again, no one tells you this. You just sit down at the table and read. “Oh, wow. I’m what? I’m B613, what?”
Tony said something really funny. It’s a big room you’re in, and he usually sits across from where…I sit across from where he is and he said something really funny, which cracked everybody up, because it had been set up that I was so loyal to him. He went “Thanks a lot, pal.”
Rick: [laughs] “You son of a bitch.” [laughs]
Brian: You can’t trust anybody. That was the first one, and then the end of that season was when I kill his son.
Brian: It was great. I mean, to go from…it was really supposed to be one episode. It was supposed to be one episode with that one scene where we don’t want to let him out of the White House, Hal and I, and then it got to evolve. That’s rare. It’s really rare that that happens, so it was a total gift that I’m truly, truly grateful for, and a great opportunity.
Rick: I have a mind that thinks this way, but was there any kind of orchestration behind the fact that Tom killed Jerry?
Brian: I didn’t even see that on page when we read it. Then when it happened, someone sent me a Tweet, a fan sent a Tweet with a picture, “Tom and Jerry,” and I laughed my ass off. Maybe, I don’t know. I would imagine that writers need to amuse themselves. [laughs]
Rick: Yeah, just a little. [laughs]
Brian: A little Easter egg. I though that that was pretty funny though, for sure.
Rick: Yeah, I thought I’d ask. Lets talk about “Loners.” What’s “Loners?”
Brian: “Loners” started as a play. A friend of mine, Neil McGowan — we’re in the same theater company here in Los Angeles — he wrote this play about technology in the modern age taking us away from society rather than towards each other. He timed that in with mass shootings.
The premise of the play was the government, in order to stop mass shootings, is monitoring everyone’s online activity. Anyone who seems to be distancing themselves from society, not answering Facebook friends requests, not going to invites put up online, RSVP-ing to invites, things like that, they deemed them a threat and put them in a mandatory government program to resocialize them, and get them out in the world again.
Then they can’t be loner, and therefore won’t become violent. It’s a dark comedy, think Strangelove-ish. We’re in that territory. We do this play, some producers come to see the play and want to make it a film, so Neil writes the screenplay. They used almost everybody from the original cast and obviously, there was a bunch more to the cast.
It’s great. The cast is terrific, really funny. Stephen Tobolowsky is in it. I had a great day of shooting with him, which was a highlight for sure. Have you ever…an amazing guy.
Rick: No, I’d love to interview him. He’s got a podcast himself.
Brian: Yeah, he does, you’ve got to get him on. He is wonderful. He is just a slice of Hollywood history walking around.
Brian: It’s terrific. We shot the film, they’re editing it right now. It’s in post. Fingers crossed that someone will be smart enough to go, “Yeah, this is relevant, funny, dark, and weird.”
Rick: Scary in all of the right places.
Brian: Yeah. [laughs] Exactly. Yes. I play “Lincoln Chalk,” who is sort of the ring leader of the revolution inside this group of loners. That’s all I’ll say.
Rick: We don’t know when it’s coming out yet, but…
Brian: No, they’re still cutting it. Yeah, they’re still cutting it. It’s an indie film, so it has to go on the indie circuit to try to find a distributor. It will be in the same sort of way that “One & Done” is looking for a distributor. They’ll go out there and try to pitch it, and get someone to put it out there.
Rick: I’m going to grab for the hat.
Brian: Wow, is it what, the magician’s hat? Are you pulling a rabbit out, or what are you doing?
Rick: It kind of is. [laughs] I’m going to grab for the hat.
Brian: There we go. Holy cow.
Rick: I’ve got some spiel.
As you know, the show’s called One Question. To introduce, I have over 1,000 questions ranging from the profane to the profound. This is one at random, and you’ll answer it seriously with any voice that you like, and everyone goes out happy.
Rick: That’s that. OK, I’m going to grab a handful here. Yeah, magician style, we’re going to riffle them aside. You tell me when to stop.
Rick: Wow. Would you like the top or the bottom? Top or the bottom? That’s the top. OK, which side?
Rick: You picked a good one.
Brian: Oh boy.
Brian: Oh boy.
Rick: Brian Letscher, what do you most appreciate about living where you do?
Brian: The smell.
Brian: [laughs] What do I most…I would say, the ability to get outdoors on a year round basis. Not that you can’t go outside in other places year round. You can, actually.
The chance to get up in the mountains in 20 minutes on a hike, or down to the beach in 15 minutes and surf. Or get to Disneyland with my kids in 45 minutes, or over to Magic Mountain, this roller coaster park is 45 minutes away. Or drive two hours and be out in the desert…the geography, the topography, the weather.
The outdoor opportunities, for me, that’s my church. Taking a nice hike and getting up on a mountain is my church. It’s also a chance to…if I’m doing it alone, it’s the best way I have to clear my head and soul, to take a breath, to get away from things. To leave my phone in the car, to figure something out when you don’t even know you’re figuring it out, you know?
You’re just walking, watching, breathing, and listening. Then all of a sudden you’ve got an answer to something you needed an answer to. If I’m with other people, it’s a great chance to be with my family. I’ve got a brother out here, I’ve got nephews, my good friends who like to get out, my kids. There’s no better place to do it.
We watch plenty of Netflix, but taking a hike is a much better way to be together. For me, that’s where I feel most connected, most even-heeled, most centered, most grounded. That was after eight years in New York. I had never felt like that in New York, not one single day, so I know I’m in the right spot.
Rick: Well, yeah and New York the seasons are much more severe, are they not?
Brian: The seasons are severe and also, you just don’t have the silence.
Rick: Yeah, there. That’s true.
Brian: You know, there’s just…noise bounces off of either glass, or steel, or concrete, or other people that are in close proximity to you, smelling.
Brian: I think that’s what…here, you can just get…there’s space. There’s space. There’s silence. There’s quiet. You can get away from things and have a break. I really need that break.
Rick: Do you have like a secret quiet spot you can tell me about so I can tell all of your fans?
Brian: “Pardon me,” on top of that mountain.
Rick: Yeah. “He’s here.”
Rick: We’re on. Get that camera.
Brian: I definitely have a couple of hikes that are not that well populated. I know when I get on those hikes, most of the time it’s just going to be me or the person that I’m with. Again, it’s hard to find places like that that have those opportunities. There’s some secret spots.
There’s one beach. One beach in particular. You get around a crest of rocks, you get out in the water a little bit and get around that. There’s a tiny little beach that no one knows about. [laughs]
Rick: [laughs] Is that where you were dumping the bodies or what?
Brian: Just wrappers, candy wrappers.
Rick: Candy wrappers. I like that question. Fantastic answer. Thank you, Brian, for being my guest.
Rick: Everyone, check out Brian, we don’t know when, in “Loners.”
Brian: “Loners” and “One & Done.”
Rick: And “One & Done.” You can check out the pilot for “One & Done” online at the URL below his face, because we’re not really sure what it is yet. There-ish, yes. We don’t know if you’re going to be on “Scandal,” but there’s a good way to find out. Watch “Scandal.” [laughs]
Brian: There’s actually about 15 other amazing actors watching that show on there, so I can’t wait to see it.
Rick: You all live Tweet it, which is…
Brian: What’s that?
Rick: The live Tweeting is amazing.
Brian: Yeah, it’s pretty incredible.
Rick: It’s one of the few shows where that happens, and they live Tweet for every time zone. [laughs]
Brian: Every week.
Rick: Every week.
Brian: Every week since the beginning of the show. From episode one, that’s what they were doing.
Rick: These people are working to make you fans of this show.
Brian: I think yeah, totally. It also comes from just being proud of it. It’s an amazing cast.
Rick: It is.
Brian: I’ve worked on a lot of shows. That cast is some great people. Great dudes, great energy, and they’re all genuine. Thanks for having me, man.
Rick: Hey, thanks for being here. I’m so glad to get to talk to you. I want to make sure people follow you on Twitter for updates on all the things you’re working on. You’re @bletscher and it’s right below his face. There’s a few consonants in the middle of that name, you want to make sure you get them all.
Brian: I knew I should have taken the advice and changed it early on.
Rick: [laughs] Yeah, again, thanks for being my guest. It was great to talk to you, and I hope you had fun.
Brian: I had a blast.
Rick: Had a blast.
Brian: I had a blast. You are a talk show host.
Rick: I’m a talk show host.
Brian: Go get back to your pretty lady.
Rick: I will, but first I have to talk to you people watching the show. Thank you so much for watching, and thank you even more if you’ve subscribed to the show on YouTube. That means a great deal to me. It’s all free, so just like click the button. It makes me happy to see the number go up, one, ding. [laughs]
My guests and I often have way more to talk about that ends up in the final edit. If you want to see more of what Brian and I have been talking about, go to this interview on YouTube, if you’re not already there, and like it up.
That will be the secret message to me that you want to see more, and I’ll post some outtakes for you. That’s it. This is Rick Yaeger for One Question Interviews. Take care.