Saturday, December 3, 2011

Exclusive Interview: Actor Brett Baker Talks The Frozen Ground, The Doppelganger Principle And Big Miracle

Actor Brett Baker is proving to be Hollywood’s newest ‘go to’ supporting star, with three feature films in the can and two still to be shot before the end of the year. With these five films, Baker lends his support to some of Hollywood’s biggest names, including John Cusack, Nicholas Cage, Drew Barrymore, John Krasinski, Kristen Bell, Forest Whitaker, Ed Asner, Peter Weller and Jon Voight.

Some of these films are the Frozen Ground,  based on actual events of serial killer Robert Hansen played by Cusack. Another film Baker will be starring in is the comedy Big Miracle based on the true story of three California whales who were trapped in the Arctic Circle, co-starring in this film are Barrymore, Krasinski and Bell. Baker also gets to share screen time with legendary actor Ed Asner in The Doppelganger Principle. 

Check out my latest Versus as Brett Baker talks about these projects and much more.

Alien Bee - You're called the newest "go-to-guy" in Hollywood. How does that feel?
Brett Baker - It’s amazing, kind of surreal. I can’t quite wrap my head around it. I’m so grateful for the recent success I’ve had and I’m quite thrilled to be branded the "go-to-guy". Making movies is the fulfillment of a life long dream. This dream gave birth at age of ten and is just now starting to bloom, or manifest, if you will.
Alien Bee - You have a film coming up that I've been following for some time now called The Frozen Ground that you co-star with Nic Cage, John Cusack, Vanessa Hudgens and 50 Cent. Tell our readers a little about the film and your character.
Brett Baker - As you know “The Frozen Ground” is a film based on the true story of Alaska’s only serial predator, Robert Hansen.  In the late 70’s and early 80’s he made a ‘hobby’ out of kidnapping strippers and prostitutes.  He would fly them to the Alaska wilderness outside Anchorage, rape them in a cabin, free them, then hunt them down from his plane and kill them.  John Cusack is playing Hansen. Nic Cage is playing Glenn Flothe, the Alaska State Trooper who eventually brings him down. I play Lt. Pat Kasnick, who finds the evidence, which ultimately convicts him. This is the first time I’ve portrayed a character based on a living person. Though I’ve never had the opportunity to meet the real Pat Kasnick, I think we have a slight resemblance. This is going to be a really scary film. I’ve read the script. Hold on to your seat. You’re in for a wild ride.
Alien Bee - This really looks like it's going to be intense! Any behind-the-scenes stories you'd like to share?
Brett Baker - I can’t discuss too much about the film, but I do have a quick little story. I took a meeting with local casting director Deborah Schildt, one night at The Lucky Wishbone restaurant. The Wishbone has a charm all of it’s own and looks exactly like it did 40 years ago. It’s a place that seems to be caught in time, and is located across from Merril Field, which is a small airport where Robert Hansen stored his Super Cub airplane. As we discussed the project, I stared out the window from our booth and watched the falling snow. I stared at Merrill Field through the street lights and imagined the terror those women must have gone through as Hansen carried them, (camouflaged) from the trunk of his car, to the back of his plane. Suddenly Deborah said “hey, you see that first seat over there at the bar?” She pointed over my shoulder to a row of single seats directly in front of the entrance.  “That first seat on the left is where Hansen would sit and eat his breakfast every morning.” A cold chill ran through me.  Thirty minutes later we decided it was time to go. When we walked out, I stopped and paused at the back of Hansen’s seat at the bar. I thought about sitting down in the killer’s chair, but thought…No, I better not do that. Creepy!
Alien Bee - Tell me about The Doppelganger Principle.
Brett Baker - Doppelganger stars legendary actor Ed Asner who plays criminal defense attorney Herman James. Herman is overweight, diabetic and walks with a cane. He is also bombastic, wickedly witty and a major pain-in-the-ass to the Alaska Criminal Justice system. His newest client has been charged with multiple murders. The cops believe he is a vicious serial killer responsible for butchering eight young women. I'm playing the role of John “Shorty” McCormick, a wise-ass, know-it-all Irish security guard, who is always trying to get one up on James. "Shorty" manages the transport of prisoners from the jail house holding cell to the pre-trial interview room. He and James have a (comedic) long standing rivalry. The scenes I'll be filming with Ed should be a lot of fun. I can't wait!
Alien Bee - How cool is it being in the same project with a legend like Ed Asner?
Brett Baker - I grew up watching Ed Anser on the Mary Tyler Moore Show. The guy is awesome, and a true icon among American, character actors. Who doesn’t remember his memorable portrayal of Mary’s boss, Lou Grant?  Some of your younger readers should check out some old re-runs on YouTube. It’s great stuff. He has impeccable comedic timing. I have some pretty cool scenes I’ll be filming with Mr. Anser and I’m really excited to work with him.  Like my experiences with Jon Voight and Peter Weller, working with Ed Anser is another opportunity to learn from one of the great Masters.
Alien Bee - Tell me about Big Miracle that you co-star with Drew Barrymore, John Krasinski and Kristen Bell.
Brett Baker - This role is a departure from the dramatic world of serial killers. I play an Atlanta based news reporter attempting to deliver the news during a winter storm. I’m wearing a candy apple red snow suit, so you can’t miss me. The wind is howling, the snow is blowing and it’s 40 below. John and Drew’s characters are indirectly involved when technical things go wrong with my reporting. The film is directed by Ken Kwapis, whose directing style and sensibility for comedy cannot be denied. Ken has directed many successful seasons of The Office, which is one of my favorite shows. Hopefully when you combine Ken’s directing and editing with my comedic timing, we’re going to end up with something funny.  There’s also a CGI sight gag that’s incorporated into the scene, but I can’t say anything more about it without blowing the joke. Let’s just say I hope it’s funny.
Alien Bee - Craziest story you can share, from anything!
Brett Baker - I believe everything happens for a reason and this quick story is a testament to that belief. Hanging on the wall in my office is a framed photograph with a personal note from Jon Voight. It was a gift from my Mother in 1985 after she worked with Jon in Alaska on his film, “Runaway Train”. She asked Jon for the autograph, found a picture of him wearing a cool scarf and framed it. She gave it to me for inspiration on my road to becoming actor. I was 18 years old and leaving my Alaska home to attend drama school at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle. That framed, autographed photo hung on every wall, in every apartment, and in every city I lived over the next 26 years. The autograph says:  “Dearest Brett, if you need to be an actor, then you will be, if you need to be, I wish you many blessings and much fun along the path.” - Jon Voight. Who could have ever guessed that 25 years later, after filming “Big Miracle” in Alaska, Jon Voight would also be in Alaska searching for a young, unknown actor to play his partner in a thriller called “Beyond”?  I turned out to be that unknown actor and worked with Jon Voight for 16 days as his partner, Detective Gavin.  What are the odds?  Staggering! Jon has become a mentor and friend. I can’t thank him enough.
Alien Bee - Do you have a Twitter or website where everyone can find you on the net?
Brett Baker - You know, I never thought I would be in a position to actually need my own Website or have “fans” following me on Twitter, but maybe all that is starting to change. Right now the best way to keep track of what I’m working on is to type my name into the search engine on That will keep your readers up to date on my current projects.
Alien Bee - Would you like to say anything to all of our readers?
Brett Baker - I love! I’m a huge fan of psychological thrillers. I’m captivated pretty easily. My favorite genre is spiritual thrillers, like the Exorcist, Stigmata and the Rite with Anthony Hopkins. I like horror films too, but I’m not that into blood and guts just for the sake of gore. The structure of the story has to be set up through some spiritual or psychological device for me to get hooked. 

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